Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Is Now World's 9th Richest Person; Check His Net Worth

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Is Now World's 9th Richest Person; Check His Net Worth
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Michael Cohen

Former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, is now the ninth richest person in the world trailing just behind Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg and Google co-founder Larry Page,  according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index. With his $118 billion net worth, Ballmer is now the only person in the world who is not a founder or co-founder of a company to have a fortune exceeding $100 billion. The bulk of Ballmer’s fortune is tied to his equity ownership in Microsoft, where he served as the CEO for 14 years until his retirement in 2014.

Ballmer’s jump in net worth was a result of the recent boom in artificial intelligence, which Microsoft tapped into by investing $10 billion into OpenAI earlier this spring. The company’s stock has soared 44 percent this year hitting a record high last week. This fueled a $34 billion rise in Ballmer's net worth as Microsoft reported quarterly earnings on July 25. Further, he is likely to have collected over $12 billion of dividends as well as of 2022.

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Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Sean Gallup
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Sean Gallup

 

What constitutes Steve Ballmer’s fortune?

Ballmer, 67, is now the ninth richest person in the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. He now trails Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, and Larry page, in Bloomberg's wealth index.

The retired Microsoft chief’s fortune rides on his original contract with the software giant and the equity shares he owns. Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980 and negotiated a $50,000 base salary plus 10 percent of the profit growth he could generate, according to Forbes.

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However, when the cut of profits eventually became excessive, he agreed to replace it with a sizable chunk of equity stake in the company. He retired from Microsoft in 2014 with 333 million shares or 4 percent of the company’s stake, as per the regulatory filings.

Ballmer still owns the majority of his stake, which is estimated to be $100 billion based on Microsoft's current market capitalization of $2.6 trillion, Bloomberg reported.

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Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Stephen Brashear
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Stephen Brashear

 

As per the publication, Ballmer sold 14 million shares to cover a portion of his purchase of Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion. Ballmer disclosed to be the largest individual shareholder of the company in a 2018 Bloomberg interview. 

Falling fortunes of other billionaires

A contributor to Ballmer’s rise in the billionaire index is also the falling fortunes of billionaires such as Warren Buffett. Despite Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway stock trading close to an all-time high, Buffet is not high in the index as he has donated more than half of his shares to the Gates Foundation and four family foundations.

Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Michael Buckner
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Michael Buckner

 

Further, shares of Zuckerberg’s Meta are 20 percent down from its recorded peak despite having skyrocketed 140 percent this year after crashing by more than 60 percent last year. Similarly, Sergey Brin’s fortunes haven’t gone much higher as Alphabet’s stock is 20 percent below its all-time peak even after witnessing a 37 percent rise this year as per Market Insider.  

Steve Ballmer’s history with Bill Gates and Microsoft

Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates were college classmates at Harvard before Gates founded Microsoft. Gates dropped out of school to start his own business, but Ballmer stayed to complete his education. He then joined Procter & Gamble where he worked for two years and went on to pursue an MBA at Stanford University. However, he dropped out of Stanford when Gates asked him to work for the company and in 1980, Baller joined Microsoft as its 30th employee.

Image Source: Getty Images
Image Source: Getty Images

 

Ballmer became the president of the company in 1998 and replaced Gates as the CEO in 2000. He led the company till 2014 and retired at the age of 58. After his retirement, Ballmer held his four percent stake in the company until he bought the Los Angeles Clippers.

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