Elon Musk and billionaire-philanthropist Bill Gates got into a verbal spat after the Tesla CEO confronted the Microsoft founder over shorting the electric-car company's shares last year, Musk's upcoming biography by American author-journalist Walter Isaacson has revealed.

In excerpts from the book named "Elon Musk" by CNBC, Isaacson wrote that in early 2022, Gates spoke to Musk and said he wanted to "come see (him) and talk about philanthropy and climate" at a meeting.

The meeting happened at Musk's Texas plant where the SpaceX owner confronted Gates over the decision to short Tesla stock. Musk said in April 2022 that Gates had taken a half-billion dollar short position against Tesla. Gates apologised for the move but Musk was still upset and became "super mean" to the Microsoft founder.

Bill Gates
Bill GatesIANS

"He was super mean to me, but he's super mean to so many people, so you can't take it too personally," Gates told Isaacson.

Grimes, Musk's ex-girlfriend and the mother of three of his children, called the incident "a little bit of a d**k-measuring contest".

Gates apparently told Isaacson his decision was a business move, as he anticipated the supply of electric vehicles would soon outpace demand, leading to a price drop.

Bill Gates doubts Elon Musk's Twitter buy

The two billionaires have been in a feud since Gates shorted Tesla stock last year. Musk publicly mocked Gates on Twitter (now X) a couple of times for shorting Tesla stock "while claiming to support climate change action".

He tweeted a picture of Gates, accusing him of shorting Tesla's stock. Gates had replied, saying Musk's tweeting "doesn't bother me".

(With inputs from IANS)