Bill Gates' former assistant is close to overtaking his net worth
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Bill Gates is one very rich man. Well, he did form one of the biggest tech companies on the planet after all.
In fact, the Microsoft founder is the fourth richest individual on the planet, with Bloomberg's Billionaires Index estimating his net worth at around $121 billion.
He sits alongside the likes of Tesla founder and X owner Elon Musk as one of the richest people about.
However, Gates' former assistant is actually not far behind his former boss, with Steve Ballmer rocketing up the world's richest list.
Just this year, Ballmer's fortune has grown by an estimated $29 billion to about $115 billion, ultimately ranking him fifth on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
He now trails Gates by just $6 billion, down from $17 billion just three months ago. If his wealth increases at the same speed in the coming weeks, Ballmer will ultimately overtake his former boss.
In recent months, Ballmer has overtaken Larry Ellison ($114 billion), Warren Buffett ($111 billion), Larry Page ($110 billion), Mark Zuckerberg ($108 billion), and Sergey Brin ($105 billion), according to the index.
Ballmer first joined Microsoft in 1980 in the official role as an assistant to the president.
However, he served more as a business manager during his time at the conglomerate.
Forbes reports Ballmer originally negotiated a $50,000 base salary plus 10 percent of any profit growth he generated.
Circumstances changed though when his shares of profits grew excessively with the growth of Microsoft, with Ballmer agreeing to a significant equity stake.
Gates' former pal quickly rose through the ranks within Microsoft, becoming CEO of the company in 2000.
He left the company in 2014 after announcing his retirement, doing so with 333 million shares or a four percent stake in the company, according to regulatory findings.
Bloomberg's Billionaires Index assumes Ballmer has retained most of those shares, giving him a value of more than $100 billion today, according to Microsoft's current stock price.
The site also notes the former CEO has likely collected many billions more through dividends over the years he was with Microsoft too.
Ballmer's wealth could be due in part to the AI-boom that is currently taking place at Microsoft which has sent the company's shares up 38 percent in less than a year.
If the former assistant does leapfrog Gates then it will certainly be a rare case where a former employer has overtaken the company's founder on the rich list.