Move over Bill Gates, there is a new king of the golden mountain.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has become the richest person in history with a net worth of $105.1 billion on Monday, breaking Gates’ record, Bloomberg reported.
Bezos’ incredible fortune comes, mainly, from Amazon.com and its line of products, though he does have other investments. The main reason for the surge in his net worth is directly attributable to the climb of Amazon’s stock prices in the past 12 months, Fortune reported.
Amazon shares have risen 6.6 percent this year, with a report showing the Seattle-based company captured 89 percent of online spending among dominant holiday retailers in the five-week period beginning the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S.
The latest jump has pushed Bezos’s fortune definitively above the high reached by Microsoft Corp.’s Bill Gates in 1999. The Amazon founder passed Gates in October with a net worth of $93.8 billion and his fortune crossed $100 billion for the first time a month later when the holiday shopping season kicked off on Black Friday.
According to Fortune, Gates would be ahead of Bezos, with a net worth of $150 billion, if he had not given much of his fortune to charitable causes.
Gates has donated near 700 million shares of stock in Microsoft and $2.9 billion in cash and other assets since 1996, mainly via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Behind Bezos on Bloomberg’s list are Gates, Warren Buffet and Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg.
There is someone, other than those behind Bezos on the billionaires list, who is not likely to be celebrating the news.
That man is President Donald Trump, who has been feuding with Bezos for years because of the unfair coverage he believes he has gotten in the Washington Post, which is owned by the Amazon tycoon.
“The @washingtonpost, which loses a fortune, is owned by @JeffBezos for purposes of keeping taxes down at his no profit company, @amazon,” he tweeted in Dec. 2015.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2015
Many of the president’s tweets against Bezos have hinted that he, and his company, have stiffed the government on taxes and, as CNN Money points out, the claims are not baseless.
For many years, brick-and-mortar retailers complained that Amazon and other e-commerce sites rose to prominence in part because they enjoyed an unfair business advantage over local stores as a result of a legal loophole which allows these websites, in certain circumstances, to avoid collecting state and local sales tax on most purchases.
As of this year, however, that advantage is largely a thing of the past, at least for Amazon. The site now collects sales tax for purchases made directly from Amazon in all states that have a sales tax. One exception remains. Items sold from third-party sellers on Amazon—which may account for half of all sales on the site—are frequently not subject to sales tax.
Several states are trying to enact legislation to tax all Internet sales, including those conducted on Amazon’s marketplace, etsy, and eBay, but thus far the loophole remains largely intact. Despite his criticism or Amazon, Trump has never endorsed the idea that all such Internet sales should be taxed, it must be noted.
In July 2017, after the Post wrote a story about a fake Time Magazine cover, featuring the president, being hung in several of his properties around the world, President Trump took the gloves off.
“The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!” he wrote in one tweet.
The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2017
“Is Fake News Washington Post being used as a lobbyist weapon against Congress to keep Politicians from looking into Amazon no-tax monopoly?” he asked in another.
Is Fake News Washington Post being used as a lobbyist weapon against Congress to keep Politicians from looking into Amazon no-tax monopoly?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017
Bezos shouldn’t stand by his Amazon Echo waiting for a call of congratulations from the president.