Jeff Bezos Surpasses Bill Gates to Become Richest Person in the World

Jeff Bezos Surpasses Bill Gates to Become Richest Person in the World

TIME -- It's official: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world.

With a net worth of more than $90 billion, Bezos surpassed fellow Seattle resident and Microsoft founder Bill Gates when shares for Amazon surged Thursday morning, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He now has about $500 million more than Gates.

Bezos, the CEO of the e-commerce giant that has grown dramatically from its original purpose of selling books online, owns 17% of his company. Shares for Amazon rose 1.8% on Thursday to $1,071.31, increasing Bezos's net worth by more than $1 billion.

Shares jumped ahead of Amazon's quarterly earnings report, which is expected to show more growth from the online retailer.

Earlier this year, Bezos was among the top ranks of the world's richest with a net worth of about $82.8 billion. Since then, Amazon has made key investments including purchasing Whole Foods and expanding its role at the forefront of e-commerce with a record-breaking Amazon Prime Day earlier this month, where sales grew 60% from the same sale last year.

According to Forbes, Bezos first became one of the 400 richest Americans in 1998 — a year after Amazon.com went public — with a net worth of $1.6 billion. Bezos is now the third American, including Gates and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, to hold the coveted title of richest man in the world.

One major difference between the billionaires is that both Gates and Buffett have committed to donating at least half of their wealth to charity, and have encouraged others among their ranks to do so as well.

Bezos has not yet made the pledge, but just ahead of Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods in June, Bezos asked his followers on Twitter for ideas of how he could donate his wealth.

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