Earnings From Amazon, Google, Microsoft Swell Fortunes Of Tech Billionaires – Forbes
It’s been a good few days to be a tech billionaire. The Nasdaq finally breached its dot-com bubble closing high after a fifteen-year roller coaster ride Thursday and earnings from a trio of tech-land heavyweights were padding the multi-billion dollar fortunes of Amazon.com’s Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, Google’s Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and former Microsoft Microsoft chiefs Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates.
According to Forbes’ real-time ranking of the World’s Billionaires, Bezos was Friday morning’s biggest winner as Amazon shares surged nearly 15%. The gains came on the back of quarterly earnings that broke out Amazon’s fast-growing cloud business for the first time and boosted Bezos’ fortune by $4.9 billion to $40.4 billion.
The big gain from Amazon comes despite the e-commerce giant’s seeming lack of interest in generating company-wide profits with any kind of consistency. (See “With All Eyes On The Cloud, Amazon Still Lacks Profits.”)
Bezos’ increase was by far the day’s best among the billionaires Forbes tracks, more than quadrupling the billion-dollar increase in the net worth of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, whose fortune grew to $22.4 billion. Ballmer’s Los Angeles Clippers are locked in a tight first-round series with the San Antonio Spurs, but even if his most recent multi-billion investment gets bounced from the NBA Playoffs he can find solace in the fact that Microsoft’s post-earnings gain is replenishing his coffers.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates, still chairman of the Redmond, Washington company but owner of a smaller stake than Ballmer, saw his fortune grow $815 million to $79.8 billion with Friday morning’s 7.9% advance from the stock. Microsoft reported results that topped estimates Thursday as CEO Satya Nadella, who succeeded Ballmer, tries to manage the transition of customers away from PCs onto mobile devices, in part by prioritizing the cloud business as profits shrink elsewhere. (See “Microsoft Keeps Cloud Momentum.”)
Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin saw their fortunes rise by merely $568 million and $555 million, respectively, relative peanuts compared with their tech sector colleagues. Chairman Eric Schmidt’s wealth was up a mere $113 million. Google shares were up better than 3% Friday despite earnings that fell short of Wall Street’s revenue and profit forecasts. (See “Google Misses First-Quarter Expectations.”)
The surge in tech wealth taking place Friday — for his part, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was up $38 million to $36.3 billion — comes against the backdrop of a return to record territory for the Nasdaq, which failed to get close to its 2000 highs at the pre-crisis market peaks in 2007.
The index, which is much less technology-centric than it was at the heights of the dot-com bubble, added to its gains Friday morning with a 36-point climb to 5,092.