On Nov. 15, Microsoft founder Bill Gates temporarily replaced Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ’86 again as the richest man in the world with a net worth of $110 billion.
In October, Bezos briefly fell to number two on the list before regaining the number one spot. Bezos first topped the Bloomberg Billionaires Index in October 2017.
The 48 percent increase in Microsoft sales in 2019 played a major role in Gates’ short-term lead.
Microsoft also beat Amazon for a $10 billion, 10-year contract called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) with the Pentagon. This contract will allow Microsoft to manage the military’s cloud computing systems, and it will responsible for storing sensitive military data.
This contract is one of the first steps the Pentagon has taken to modernize its technology, and the bidding began in 2018 alongside IBM, Oracle, and Google. According to reporting from The New York Times, Microsoft’s win was a surprise, as key experts believed Amazon would earn the contract. However, Amazon has been often criticized by President Donald Trump and by Republican congressmen.
Bezos’s wealth has also been impacted by his public divorce this January, during which his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, gained sole ownership over 25 percent of the couple’s stake in Amazon. The divorce decreased his personal stake in the company from 16 percent to 12 percent. Pursuant to their settlement, Jeff Bezos retains all the voting rights associated with his initial 16 percent share in the E-commerce giant.
As of Nov. 30, Bezo’s net worth is $112 billion, while Gates is trailing behind with $111 billion.