Ellison reportedly criticized media coverage of Musk, who has attracted controversy in recent months.
"He’s landing rockets on robot drone rafts in the ocean," Ellison reportedly said. And you’re saying he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Well, who else is landing rockets? You ever land a rocket on a robot drone? Who are you?"
Oracle founder, CTO, and executive chairman Larry Ellison defended Tesla CEO Elon Musk during an analyst meeting on Thursday and said Tesla is his second-biggest investment, Bloomberg reports. Ellison's comments came a day after Tesla posted a surprise profit during the third quarter, beating analysts' expectations.
"Tesla has a lot of upside," Ellison reportedly said.
Ellison reportedly criticized media coverage of Musk, who has attracted controversy in recent months by making an unsupported accusation of pedophilia against a British diver who criticized him, smoking marijuana during an interview with Joe Rogan (recreational use of Marijuana is legal in California, where the interview was filmed), and sending tweets about the possibility of taking Tesla private that led to a lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ellison reportedly defended Musk, citing the accomplishments of Musk's rocket company, SpaceX, which has built rockets that can land on platforms in the ocean.
"He’s landing rockets on robot drone rafts in the ocean," Ellison reportedly said. "And you’re saying he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Well, who else is landing rockets? You ever land a rocket on a robot drone? Who are you?"
Ellison reportedly acknowledged some of Tesla's manufacturing difficulties, but pinned them on Panasonic, which makes battery cells for Tesla's vehicles.
"Are there problems? Yeah, there’s huge problems with Panasonic because you’re trying to get these batteries to work and your primary cell manufacturer is having problems," Ellison reportedly said.
Yoshio Ito, Panasonic's automotive head, told Bloomberg in September that Panasonic was responsible for bottlenecks at Tesla's Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, where the automaker makes battery packs and drive units.
"The bottleneck for Model 3 production has been our batteries," Ito said. "They just want us to make as many as possible."
The production issues Tesla has experienced since launching the Model 3 sedan in July 2017 have also been attributed to excessive automation at the Fremont, California, factory where it assembles its vehicles. Musk acknowledged in April that Tesla had attempted to automate too many production tasks at the Fremont factory and said it would use more human workers in the assembly process.
Tesla announced on Wednesday that it had posted the most profitable quarter in its history. The automaker beat Wall Street expectations by posting adjusted earnings of $2.90 per share on $6.8 billion in revenue. Analysts had expected adjusted earnings of -$0.15 per share on revenue of $6.315 billion. The automaker was also cash flow positive during the quarter, recording $881 million in free cash flow.