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Bill Gates Drops To Third On List Of World's Richest

Forbes blames Gates' decline on Microsoft's $41 billion bid for Yahoo.

Paul McDougall

March 6, 2008

2 Min Read

It's not like he'll need to work part-time at Wal-Mart during his impending retirement. Still, Bill Gates isn't the financial titan he once was -- relatively speaking.

Microsoft's chairman, formerly the world's richest man, has fallen to number three on the list of the globe's wealthiest individuals, according to Forbes magazine.

In its annual ranking of top earners, Forbes said Gates now trails Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim and Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffet.

The magazine said Gates is now worth $58 billion, while Slim has $60 billion and Buffet -- the world's richest man -- has $62 billion. By some accounts, Slim passed Gates on the list last year.

A good chunk of the billionaires' holdings are in stock, meaning that their net worth fluctuates in line with market moves. Forbes blamed Gates' decline on Microsoft's $41 billion bid for Yahoo. The company's shares have declined 15% since it announced the proposal on February 1st.

Gates, who will relinquish day-to-day activities at Microsoft this summer, remains his company's largest shareholder.

Gates has also given away millions to charity through his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And, like many tech investors, he got burned by the dot.com bubble. The Harvard dropout was briefly worth more than $100 billion at the height of the late 90s Internet bubble.

Unlike the 1990s, Forbes' list isn't dominated by computer industry players. The next wealthiest technology tycoon after Gates does not even rank in the top ten. Forbes says Sheldon Adelson, how made his fortune through the Comdex trade shows, is worth $26 billion.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison ranks 14th and is worth $25 billion, according to Forbes. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page came in at 32nd and 33rd, respectively. Each is worth more than $18 billion.

Other computer industry magnates on the list include Michael Dell, ranked 40th with $16.4 billion, and Gates sidekick Paul Allen -- 41st with $16 billion. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is 43rd with $15 billion.

About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

Paul McDougall is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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