This time it’s official.
Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates has overtaken Amazon.com Inc’s Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person, reclaiming the top ranking for the first time in more than two years.
Gates may have been helped in part by the Pentagon’s surprise decision announced October 25 to award a $10bn cloud-computing contract to Microsoft over Amazon. Shares of Microsoft have since climbed 4%, giving Gates a $110bn fortune, according to the Bloomberg billionaires Index. Amazon’s stock is down about 2% since the announcement on Friday, putting Bezos’s net worth at $108.7bn.
Gates, 64, had briefly topped Bezos, 55, on an intraday basis last month after Amazon posted its first profit drop in two years, but shares of the world’s biggest online retailer pared the decline. The index, which tracks the wealth of the richest 500 people, is updated each trading day after US markets close. Europe’s richest person, Bernard Arnault, is third with $102.7bn.
Microsoft has surged 48% this year, boosting the value of Gates’s 1% stake. The rest of his wealth is derived from share sales and investments made over the years by his family office, Cascade.
Bezos would be far richer if he and MacKenzie Bezos hadn’t divorced. The pair announced their split in January, with MacKenzie, 49, receiving a quarter of their Amazon holdings in July. Her net worth dipped to $35bn on Friday. Gates, on the other hand, may have never relinquished the top spot were it not for his philanthropy. He has donated more than $35bn to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 1994.
Gates recently shared his thoughts on the wealth tax that’s been proposed by some Democratic presidential candidates, including Elizabeth Warren, saying he’s already paid more than $10bn in taxes.
"If I’d had to pay $20bn, it’s fine," he said. But "when you say I should pay $100bn, then I’m starting to do a little math about what I have left over.”
As of today, that would be $10bn.
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