Zuckerberg Joins Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates As World’s Richest

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg joins Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos as the three richest men in the world

Tech leaders now make up the top three positions as the world’s richest individuals, after Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg became the third-richest person alive.

Zuckerberg passed Warren Buffett, after a surge in the stock price of the social networking firm, which sent Zuckerberg’s fortune up to $81.6 billion (£61.7bn), according to calculations by Bloomberg.

This 2.4 percent rise in Facebook’s share price put 34 year old Zuckerberg $373m (£282m) in front of 87 year old Buffett, who made his name as an investor and boss of Berkshire Hathaway.

Amazon Web Services
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos

Tech billionaires

This move meant that for the first time ever, the three richest people in the world are all technology leaders.

Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos used to be ranked as the world’s third-richest man (behind Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Spanish entrepreneur Amancio Ortega Gaona).

But now he is classified as the world richest man with a personal fortune estimated to be worth $141 billion (£106bn), thanks to a 46 percent rise in Amazon’s share price this year.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates was for many decades the world’s richest man, but now the Bloomberg index has him down in second place with a personal fortune of just $94.2bn (£71.2bn).

It should be noted that Bill Gates has engaged with a strong philanthropic drive, and last year made his largest donation to charity since the year 2000.

In June 2017 Gates donated 64 million Microsoft shares, worth $4.6 billion (£3.6bn), to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which Gates set up in 2000 with $5 billion funding to tackle global healthcare and poverty.

Gates’ friend and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett had in 2010 created the Giving Pledge in an effort to encourage other billionaires to give at least half of their wealth to charity.

Buffet now gives billions of dollars to charity every year.

Zuckerberg meanwhile has pledged to give away 99 percent of his Facebook shares.

Amazon boss

Which leaves Bezos, who is not exactly shy about spending his wealth. In 2013 for example he purchased the Washington Post newspaper, known for its investigative journalism, out of his own personal fortune. At the time he paid $250m (£193m) for the newspaper.

Bezos has also made previous investments in projects such as a 10,000-year clock and the recovery of moon-mission booster rockets from the ocean floor.

But it is his space exploration firm, Blue Origin, that takes most of his investment.

Blue Origin, aims to send tourists on brief flights into suborbital space where they can experience weightlessness and gain a view of the Earth.

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