Blink and you missed it: Jeff Bezos was briefly the world’s richest man

Update: Aaaaand, he’s back down to second spot. Although a brief surge in Amazon stock value gave Bezos the edge, it retreated again he once again dropped down to second place. 

Blink and you missed it: Jeff Bezos was briefly the world’s richest man

Still: it seems pretty likely that he’ll regain that spot within the next few months. As discussed in the original article below, Amazon is a company that’s continuing to grow, while Bill Gates is now more focussed on giving his amassed wealth, rather than adding to it. 

And Bezos’ brief foray as Number One still makes him noteworthy: only six people have held the title in the past 30 years.

The original article continues below.

Back in March, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos leapfrogged Warren Buffet and Amancio Ortega to become the world’s second richest man, behind Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Given Gates is intent on giving his money away, it was only a matter of time before Bezos took the top spot, even if he kept distractedly investing billions in his spaceship side project.

Well, now the Amazon CEO no longer needs to start every day by asking his Amazon Echo who the world’s richest man is, like the Queen in Snow White – he’s made it. A 1.3% rise in Amazon stock in anticipation of the company’s earnings report has nudged Bill Gates into second place, according to Bloomberg: $90.9bn to Gates’ $90.7bn. It’s a small lead, but given Gates’ main focus in life has become philanthropy, you wouldn’t necessarily bet on him regaining the title he’s held since 2013.

Amazon shares have now hit $1,065.92 – it’s a company that investors have an awful lot of confidence in. And why wouldn’t they? The purchase of Whole Foods gives the company a whole new way to make money, and Amazon is now in such a strong position that it doesn’t have to go to the trouble of entering a market to crush the opposition. Just filing a patent is enough to send potential rivals’ share prices off a cliff.

Whether or not that’s a healthy place for society to sit is an argument for another day. By the rules of the game, it’s hard to argue Bezos’ Amazon has been nothing short of a huge success – one of the few 90s internet companies to come out of the dot com bubble unscathed. Not just unscathed either, but one of the largest websites in the world, with a hand in artificial intelligence, space travel and even wine. You can’t really begrudge Bezos having a glass himself tonight to celebrate.

Image: Jeff Mattis used under Creative Commons

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