Jeff Bezos dethrones Bill Gates, is now world’s richest person

Talk about Amazon prime: Jeff Bezos is now richer than Bill Gates, which makes him the world’s wealthiest person.

The Amazon CEO’s net worth is up to about $91.3 billion because his company shares are surging ahead of its scheduled earnings report Thursday. The net worth of Gates, the Microsoft co-founder who has been the world’s richest person since 2013, is at $90 billion, according to Forbes’ real-time wealth tracker.

Amazon shares are rising and Microsoft’s shares are about flat this morning, but even if that changes by the time the stock markets close, Bezos would likely still overtake Gates in the near future.

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Online retailer Amazon has been on a tear lately. Although the Seattle company made Bezos a billionaire long ago, the stock’s performance over the past couple of years has added tens of billions of dollars more to his wealth and has helped him climb up the assorted lists of the world’s richest people. Amazon stock is up about 29 percent for the year, and about 260 percent year over year. Shares are up more than 2 percent to 1,075.69 as of this post.

Gates, 61, and Bezos, 53, both started Seattle-area tech companies that rose to great heights. But they are now on drastically different paths.

Gates stepped down as Microsoft CEO in 2000, and quit as chairman of the Redmond, Washington-based company in 2014, although he remains on the board. He has devoted most of his time to philanthropy for almost two decades; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the world’s largest private charitable foundation, according to Forbes. Gates has topped the Forbes list of wealthiest people in the world for 18 of the past 23 years.

Bezos is still very much a businessman: He runs Amazon (founded in 1994) and is also CEO of Blue Origin, a space company. In addition, Bezos is owner of the Washington Post.

But Amazon’s vast reach and success is why Bezos has surpassed Gates in wealth. If Amazon — which has gone way beyond selling books — keeps up its momentum, Bezos could sit atop all the lists of the world’s wealthiest for a while. CNBC reports that one leading analyst says Amazon could become the first trillion-dollar company and its stock could double to $2,000. Bezos owns nearly 17 percent of Amazon.

 

Photo: Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon, arrives for the third day of the annual Allen & Co. Sun Valley Conference on July 13, 2017 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Bezos has surpassed Bill Gates as the world’s richest person. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

 

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