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The 10 Richest People in the World

The 10 Richest People in the World

4. Bill Gates

  • Age: 65
  • Residence: Medina, Washington
  • Cofounder: Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)
  • Net Worth: $124 billion
  • Microsoft Ownership Stake: 1.3% ($31.2 billion)
  • Other Assets: Republic Services equity ($13.5 billion public assets), John Deere equity ($10 billion public assets), Canadian National Railway equity ($9.14 billion public assets), Ecolab equity ($6.92 billion public assets), Givaudan equity ($5.56 billion public assets), FEMSA equity ($2.42 billion public assets), Waste Management equity ($2.26 billion public assets), Berkshire Hathaway equity ($1.87 billion public assets), Diageo equity ($1.77 billion public assets), Sika AG equity ($1.5 billion public assets), Arch Capital Group equity ($1.42 billion public assets), AutoNation equity ($1.33 billion public assets), Liberty Global equity ($251 million public assets), Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas equity ($200 million public assets), Otter Tail Corporation equity ($190 million public assets), Western Asset Inflation-Linked Opportunities & Income Fund equity ($180 million public assets), Western Asset Inflation-Linked Income Fund ($69.9 million public assets), and $62.6 billion in cash

While attending Harvard University in 1975, Bill Gates went to work alongside his childhood friend Paul Allen to develop new software for the original microcomputers. Following this project’s success, Gates dropped out of Harvard in his junior year and went on to found Microsoft with Allen.

In addition to being the largest software company in the world, Microsoft also produces its own line of personal computers, publishes books through Microsoft Press, provides email services through its Exchange server, and sells video game systems and associated peripheral devices. Originally Microsoft’s chief software architect, Gates later transitioned to the role of chair in 2008. He had joined Berkshire Hathaway’s board in 2004. He stepped down from both boards on March 13, 2020.

In 2000, Gates’s two philanthropic organizations—the William H. Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation—were merged to create the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, of which he and his ex-wife, Melinda Gates, are co-chairs. Through the foundation, he has spent billions to fight polio and malaria. Additionally, he pledged $50 million in 2014 to help fight Ebola. As of 2021, the foundation has spent more than $1.8 billion to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2010, alongside Warren Buffett, Bill Gates launched the Giving Pledge, a campaign encouraging rich individuals to commit to donating the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

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