Bill Gates

Rank 9

Bill Gates

134B

Microsoft

Medina, Washington

United States

  • When Gates was a kid, he spent so much time reading that his parents finally forbade him from bringing books to the dinner table.
  • Gates took a break from classes his senior year in high school to do programming with his friend Paul Allen at a power plant in North Bonneville, Washington.
  • Bill Gates diversified his fortune from software firm Microsoft into dozens of holdings, including waste disposal firm Republic Services and tractor maker Deere & Co.
  • Gates, a computer enthusiast from a young age, dropped out of Harvard to cofound Microsoft with Paul Allen (d. 2018) in 1975, hoping to capitalize on the spread of personal computers.
  • As of March 2020, when Gates stepped down from the Microsoft board, he owned about 1.3% of the software and computing company's shares.
  • In May 2021, Bill and Melinda Gates each announced on Twitter they were ending their marriage after 27 years. They still co-chair the charitable Gates Foundation.
  • To date, Gates has donated more than $59 billion to the Gates Foundation, including a $20 billion gift announced in July 2022. Most of his early donations were gifts of Microsoft stock.