Anything can happen in the world of finance, and due to some interesting results from the stock market on Thursday, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos surged past Microsoft’s Bill Gates to become the world’s richest person.
Amazon stocks rose early Thursday, and combined with Microsoft stocks dropping slightly, the 53-year-old Bezos passed Gates to reach the top of the wealthiest in the world list for the first time ever. The online retail giant saw shares rise 1.8 percent at 9:30 a.m., reading $1071.31. Bezos owns 17 percent of the company he started, giving him a net worth over $90 billion. This surpassed the Microsoft co-founder’s meager $89 billion.
Since May 2013, the Bloomberg Billionaires list showed the 61-year-old gates as the top dog. Gates was strong, holding the title for over four years, but analysts expected Jeff Bezos to eventually overtake his neighbor. Amazon was founded in Seattle, and on the other side of Lake Washington, Bellevue is the home of Microsoft.
Bezos’ lead over Gates could get larger very soon too. Analysts believe that Amazon stock could reach $2000, almost double what it is now, following the approval of the online retailer’s acquisition of grocer Whole Foods is approved. Not only would it increase Bezos’ lead, but it would steal the title of first trillion dollar company from Apple, who has been eyeing that title this fall with the upcoming release of the iPhone 8. On Wednesday, Amazon surged pass the $500 billion mark for the first time. This puts it in 4th place behind top dog Apple, Google, and Microsoft.
Earlier in 2017, according to the New York Post, Warren Buffett saw Bezos pass him to take his spot as second richest in the world. This week Buffet had fallen to fourth, behind Amancio Ortega Gaona, a Spanish clothing wizard. Sitting in fifth place, according to Bloomberg, is Mark Zuckerberg.
This year alone, shares of Amazon have increased by 40 percent. This has added around $24 billion to the net worth of the Amazon founder. The company known for stealing business from just about everyone, whether it is book stores or big box appliance stores, or digital offerings like music and movies, continues to surge in the market.
Jeff Bezos started Amazon 22 years ago. He got his start in a garage selling books online. He currently owns approximately 80 million Amazon shares.
The second-quarter earnings report for Amazon is expected to come after Thursday’s bell. Better than expected numbers could firm up Bezos as the top billionaire in the world.
With his fortune, Jeff Bezos, unlike the Microsoft founder, has been spending his free time and money on space exploration through his company, Blue Origin. Gates has made a different name for himself through philanthropy around the world.
By Cletus Dillwood
Photo Courtesy Amazon