To paraphrase the late Carl Sagan: They have billions upon billions upon billions...
We are talking, of course, about the newly released Forbesi list of the Worldis Richest People. The Forbes list is headed, once again, by Microsoftis own William H. Gates III, whose fortune Forbes values at US$40.7 billion dollars, down substantially from the US$52.8 billion Bill claimed last year.
Another Microsoft shareholder making the top 5 of Forbesi list is Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen whois fortunes also diminished from US$25.2 billion dollars in 2002 to US$20.1 billion dollars this year. It seems even the big boys (and girls) have "felt" the effects of the economy.
Except Steve P. Jobs, that it. How did our favorite CEO fare this year? Appleis head honchois value actually increased from US$1.1 billion in 2002 to US$1.7 billion in 2003 due in large part, according to Forbes, to his holdings in Pixar. Hereis Forbesi comments on Appleis and Pixaris fearless leader:
Apple Computer has just 5% market share, but owns near-monopoly on buzz for cool gear like MP3 player iPod, table-lamp-like iMac computer. Eternal optimist plans to jump-start sluggish growth by making Apple center of digital lifestyle. Founded Apple 1976 with Steve Wozniak. Formed Next Computer after ouster from Apple 1985; returned when Apple bought Next 1996 for $400 million. Catalyst for next generation OS. Name synonymous with Apple, but bulk of wealth hitched to animated film studio Pixar (Monsters, Inc., Toy Story). Good thing: for the year Apple shares down 32%; Pixar up 34%.
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud of Saudi Arabia, another Apple shareholder clocking in at some 5%, also made the Top 10, coming in at #5. Forbes places his net worth at US$17.7 billion. His value last year was pegged at US$20 billion, but it was only good enough for the #11 spot in Forbesi 2002 rankings. He leapfrogged the Walton clan and Steve Jobsi billionaire buddy Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, to claim the #5 spot this year.
For more information on the incredibly rich check out Forbesi list of the Worldis Richest People.