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Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Now Richer Than Bill Gates, Ranks Sixth Globally

Steve Ballmer - a 14-year former CEO of Microsoft - is now richer than Bill Gates according to the Billionaire Index.


According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, former CEO has surpassed Bill Gates in net worth, positioning him as the sixth-richest individual globally. This notable shift marks the first time Ballmer's financial standing has exceeded that of Microsoft's co-founder.

Surge in Microsoft Stock

This development in the wealth rankings comes as Microsoft's stock hits unprecedented levels. Ballmer, who was an early Microsoft employee and later ascended to lead the company, has experienced a significant increase in his net worth due to a 21% rise in Microsoft's stock this year. The surge is largely credited to the company's alliance with OpenAI and the ongoing growth in the artificial intelligence sector, which has propelled the US stock market upwards. A substantial portion of Ballmer's $157.2 billion wealth is linked to Microsoft shares.

Conversely, ' wealth, totaling $156.7 billion, is distributed across various investments. Around half of this wealth is managed by Cascade Investment, a firm he founded with proceeds from Microsoft stock sales and dividends. Cascade holds substantial assets, including a $21 billion share in Republic Services Inc., a waste-management enterprise. Gates' extensive philanthropic activities have also influenced his ranking on the wealth list.

Philanthropic Efforts

Bill Gates, now 68, has been steadily donating a significant portion of his wealth. Along with his ex-wife Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, Gates has contributed billions to the Gates Foundation, one of the largest charitable organizations with over $75 billion in endowment. Since its formation over 20 years ago, Gates and French Gates have provided nearly $60 billion from their personal wealth. Recently, Melinda Gates stepped down as co-chair and received $12.5 billion for her philanthropic endeavors.

While Steve Ballmer's philanthropy doesn't match the scale of Gates, he has made notable charitable contributions. Ballmer has given $425 million to the University of Oregon and created USAFacts.org, a non-profit focusing on transparency in U.S. government operations and societal impact. Additionally, Ballmer and his wife launched the Ballmer Group, targeting economic mobility for children and families within the United States by backing initiatives aimed at reducing systemic inequities.

The Ballmer Group's objective is to enhance opportunities and combat systemic inequities. By supporting proven leaders and organizations, the group seeks to transform opportunities and elevate economic mobility across America. While impactful, Ballmer's philanthropic efforts have not yet reached the magnitude of Gates' contributions.

Historical Background

Bill Gates co-established Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975, leading the company until the year 2000 when Steve Ballmer took over as CEO. Ballmer retired in 2014 and became Microsoft's largest shareholder at that time. He also acquired the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion in 2014, an investment that has now appreciated to $4.6 billion. Both Gates and Ballmer have left significant imprints on the technology sector and beyond, though their philanthropic journeys differ.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.