Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer tops wealth of co-founder Bill Gates

Jul 2, 2024, 1:40 PM | Updated: 1:41 pm

Bill Gates, Steve Balmer...

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft Corp. (R) and Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft during the official press event, launching Microsoft's Windows Vista, at the Nokia Theater in New York City. (Photo by Orjan F. Ellingvag/Dagens Naringsliv/Corbis via Getty Images)

(Photo by Orjan F. Ellingvag/Dagens Naringsliv/Corbis via Getty Images)

Former CEO of Microsoft Steve Ballmer has passed another fellow former Microsoft CEO — Bill Gates — on Monday to become the sixth-richest person in the world. Ballmer, who began his career at Microsoft as Gates’ assistant, surpassed the Microsoft co-founder on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index on Monday for the first time.

Ballmer attended Harvard University, where he met Gates. While Gates dropped out to start Microsoft, Ballmer graduated in 1977 with degrees in applied mathematics and economics, according to CNN Business.

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Gates founded Microsoft with his friend Paul Allen in 1975 and led it until 2000. One of the company’s earliest employees, Ballmer, 68, replaced him as CEO. Ballmer retired in 2014 and became Microsoft’s largest shareholder that same year.

In 2014, he bought the NBA franchise Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, an investment that is estimated to be worth $4.6 billion today.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, more than 90% of Ballmer’s $157.2 billion net worth is in Microsoft shares. Gates, meanwhile, has diversified his $156.7 billion fortune.

Gates, 68, has been slowly reducing his fortune through philanthropy. Along with his ex-wife Melinda French Gates and his friend Warren Buffett, Gates has funneled billions of dollars of his personal money to build up the $75 billion Gates Foundation, one of the biggest charitable organizations in the world, according to FOX Business.

More on the Gates’ estate: Melinda French Gates to donate $1 billion over next 2 years in support of women’s rights

In 2010, Gates, French Gates and Buffett also founded the Giving Pledge, an organization that encourages the world’s wealthiest people to give away the majority of their fortunes in their lifetimes or their wills. Ballmer, who has not signed the Giving Pledge, has his own philanthropic work.

Bloomberg reported that Ballmer’s wealth eclipsed Gates’ as Microsoft shares hit a new record high on Monday. The stock is up more than 22% year-to-date, hovering around $455 per share on Tuesday.

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here

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Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer tops wealth of co-founder Bill Gates