05:38 GMT +310 December 2019
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    Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and founder of Microsoft, participates in the Financial Inclusion Forum at the Treasury Department in Washington, DC, December 1, 2015.

    Bill Gates Tops Jeff Bezos as World’s Richest Person

    © AFP 2019 / Saul Loeb
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    Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates overtook Amazon’s Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person on Friday, reclaiming the top ranking for the first time in more than two years.

    Gates took over as shares of Microsoft have since climbed 4%, giving Gates a $110 billion fortune – mostly because of Pentagon’s surprise decision announced Oct. 25 to award a $10 billion cloud-computing contract to Microsoft over Amazon. Amazon’s stock, meanwhile, is down about 2% since the announcement, putting Bezos’s net worth at $108.7 billion.

    Gates had briefly topped Bezos on an intraday basis last month after Amazon posted its first profit drop in two years, and since then shares of the world’s biggest online retailer have continued to decline. The index, which tracks the wealth of the richest 500 people, is updated each trading day after US markets close. Europe’s richest person, Bernard Arnault, is third with $102.7 billion.

    The Amazon CEO also took a financial hit after his recent divorce: Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos announced their split in January, with his now ex-wife receiving a quarter of their Amazon holdings in July. Her net worth dipped to $35 billion on Friday. Gates, on the other hand, could’ve stayed in the top spot ahead of Bezos were it not for his philanthropy: he has donated more than $35 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 1994.

    Gates recently shared his thoughts on the wealth tax that’s been proposed by some Democratic presidential candidates, including Elizabeth Warren, saying he’s already paid more than $10 billion in taxes.

    "If I’d had to pay $20 billion, it’s fine," he said. But "when you say I should pay $100 billion, then I’m starting to do a little math about what I have left over.”

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