Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder who later pivoted to a career in being the richest man in the world, is losing his touch. If any of us were as bad at our jobs as Gates, we’d be on the bread lines faster than you can say, “guillotines are the future.” And this week, the man’s downward spiral continued.
On Monday night, Gates slipped from the position of being the second-richest person on the planet. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index found that Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s personal worth had risen to $US127.9 ($174) billion while Gates’s stagnating fortune of $US127.7 ($174) billion left him ranked at number three.
According to Bloomberg, Musk’s net worth has increased by $US100.3 ($137) billion over the last year as the world’s economies have been hit with a devastating recession and the covid-19 pandemic has made life extremely difficult for workers. Musk’s move up the power rankings was fuelled by a 6.7% increase in Tesla’s stock price, which hit an all-time high of $US522.22 ($711) per share.
It’s sad to watch a giant like Bill Gates lose his fastball but the man’s decline has been a long time in the making. Let’s take a look at the recent history of Gates fumbling the most coveted prize in the land:
July 27, 2017 – With a net worth of $US92.3 ($126) billion, Bezos passes Bill Gates to be the richest person on the planet, taking the crown that’s sat on Gates’s head since 2014. But Bill quickly recovers.
August 30, 2017 – Amancio Ortega gains the title with an $US85 ($116) billion fortune, but only holds on to it for about a day.
October 27, 2017 – Bezos makes a comeback but Gates is triumphant by the end of the trading day. The Microsoft man pulls ahead with a net worth of $US88 ($120) billion.
November 29, 2017 – Bezos gets a toe-hold on the top slot as his worth rises to $US101 ($138) billion, a development attributed to the nourishing powers of Thanksgiving.
February 13, 2018 – Bill and Melina Gates say it’s unfair they are so rich. Exactly what a loser would say.
February 20, 2018 – Bill Gates guest stars on the Big Bang Theory. The kind of thing one does when they have no interest in being the richest person on the planet.
July 16, 2018 – Bezos beats Gates’s all-time record for personal net worth, hitting a high of $US150 ($204) million.
August 30, 2018 – Tech outlet Alphr asks, “Who Is Bill Gates,” signalling the beginning of Gates’s era as the forgotten man.
October 10, 2018 – Jeff Bezos loses $US9 ($12) billion in a stock market shakeup, wraps the day with $US144.7 ($197) billion to his name, remains the richest man.
February 12, 2019 – Bill Gates says he doesn’t “deserve” his fortune. Jeff Bezos agrees. A few months later, Bezos goes through the most expensive divorce in history but remains on top with a $US110 ($150) billion net worth.
July 17, 2019 – LVMH head Bernard Arnault surpasses Gates to become the second richest person. Gates falls to third place with $US107 ($146) billion.
November 6, 2019 – Gates shows a little life and regains the number two slot with a $US106.8 ($145) billion squeaker.
November 15, 2019 – When faced with a mid-life crisis, some men buy a Harley. Bill Gates decides to be the richest person in the world, once again. Gates held up a $US110 ($150) billion middle-finger to Bezos’s face as the Amazon tycoon took his eye off the ball.
March 13, 2020 – Gates steps down from the Microsoft board, the kind of thing someone does when they’ve lost the courage to fight. One month later, Bezos is crowned the king with $US110 ($150) billion on the books.
August 26, 2020 – Jeff Bezos becomes the first person to be worth $US200 ($272) billion dollars, a significant accomplishment for someone who wants to be the richest person in the world.
And here we are today. Bezos still reigns supreme with a net worth of $US182 ($248) billion. Gates is gaining on Musk and the two are currently ranked as tied in second place with $US128 ($174) billion each. But as we’ve seen, Gates has had his ups and downs while his glidepath to nowhere becomes increasingly clear. For more on what it takes to be a god among men, stay tuned to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.