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Elon Musk responds to Jeff Bezos’ replacement as richest person in the world

On Monday, Elon Musk became the third person to raise a fortune of $ 200 billion, according to Forbes, overtaking Amazon founder and billionaire space rival Jeff Bezos. Reached for comment by Forbes, Musk took a festive break in Bezos.

“I am sending a giant statue of the number ‘2’ to Jeffrey B., along with a silver medal,” Musk wrote in a short email.

The photo comes as no surprise to the eccentric Tesla CEO, who has in the past used Twitter to playfully label Bezos a “copier” on two occasions (both times using a cat emoji), first in April 2019, when Amazon announced its intention to launch Internet transmission satellites in competition with Musk’s SpaceX, and again in June 2020, when Amazon acquired self-driving car company Zoox, which is taking on Tesla.

In recent years, the two men have been on a collision course on two fronts: their net values ​​and their spatial ambitions. Musk was worth $ 24.6 billion in March 2020, nearly 90 billion less than Bezos at the time. In August 2020, Bezos became the first person to be worth $ 200 billion as Amazon shares soared. But a remarkable rally in shares of Musk Tesla’s electric vehicle company – up 720% in 2020 – helped Musk catch up, and he briefly became the richest person in the world in January 2021. The pair has traded the title several times this year, as has Bernard Arnault, head of French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, in an unprecedented year of jockeying atop the billionaire rankings. At 2:00 p.m. ET Tuesday, Musk is in the top spot, with an estimated value of $ 200.7 billion. Bezos is the richest number two, at around $ 192.5 billion. Arnault follows in third place, with a value of $ 174 billion, according to Forbes‘estimates.

A spokesperson for Bezos did not respond to a request for comment.

On the space frontier, the two men lead competing rocket companies. Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000, while Musk launched SpaceX in 2002. In July, Bezos flew into suborbital space on a ten-minute ride aboard a Blue Origin spacecraft. As the billionaire space race intensifies, the two have increasingly traded spades on Twitter and in speeches.

Bezos challenged Musk’s ambitions to colonize Mars. “My friends who want to move to Mars? I said, ‘Do me a favor. Go live on top of Mount Everest for a year first and see if you like it because it’s a garden paradise compared to Mars, ”Bezos said at a conference in 2019. Meanwhile, their space companies have been embroiled in a battle over NASA’s plans to build a lunar lander. In April, the US Federal Space Agency awarded a $ 2.9 billion contract to SpaceX, rejecting an offer from Blue Origin. In the months that followed, Bezos’ company threatened legal action, prompting Musk to take to Twitter to poke fun at Blue Origin’s lander design.

Last month, Bezos’ Blue Origin sued by filing a lawsuit against the U.S. government over the lunar lander contract. Musk responded to Bezos’ complaints on Twitter by claiming a tweet from a SpaceX fan account that said Blue Origin was spending too much on protests instead of doing “real rocket science.”

“If lobbying [and] lawyers could get [you] in orbit, Bezos would be on Pluto [right now]”Musk wrote in a response on Twitter.

After Amazon asked the Federal Communications Commission to reject an update by SpaceX of its Starlink satellite plan, SpaceX responded to the FCC earlier this month that Amazon was trying to “slow down the competition.” Musk added his own comment on Twitter, joking: “It turns out that Besos (sic) retired in order to pursue full-time legal work against SpaceX.”

Yet the rivalry is not all negative. Ahead of Bezos’ space flight in July, Musk took to Twitter to wish him and the Blue Origin crew. Good luck. Two weeks ago, Bezos congratulated Musk and SpaceX on the successful launch of the Inspiration4 spacecraft for a three-day flight around Earth orbit. “Another step towards a future where space is accessible to all”, Bezos wrote. Response from Musk: “Thank you.”