Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos briefly overtakes Bill Gates as world’s richest: What will he do with all that money?

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Updated: July 28, 2017 12:30:14 PM

Jeff Bezos, the founder of technology giant Amazon.com, became the world's richest man for a brief amount of time when he dethroned Microsoft Corporation founder Bill Gates. What does he do with all that money?

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Jeff Bezos, the founder of technology giant Amazon.com, became the world’s richest man for a brief amount of time when he dethroned Microsoft Corporation founder Bill Gates. A sudden surge in Amazon’s stocks got him $1.5 billion, and Bezos’ fortune rose to more than $90 billion. He was at the top position for many hours and now he is in the second spot, based on Bloomberg Billionaires Index and Forbes. Previously, Carlos Slim, a fashion giant, and Warren Buffet, an investor have replaced Gates from the top position, but the zenith usually remains in the latter’s possession. The rise and rise of Bezos can be attributed to the remarkable success that Amazon has seen ever since it launched in 1995. At a time, when people were discovering the phenomenon called the internet, Bezos started selling on it. Started by selling books online, to moving on to CDs and electronics, Amazon today is a behemoth in the e-commerce space. Bezos has a 17 percent (81 million shares) ownership in Amazon, and the higher Amazon’s shares soar, the richer Bezos will become.

Amazon’s surge in stock has been mainly attributed to the recent acquisition of Whole Foods. Even though the stocks fluctuate and Bezos is now at the 2nd spot, it still goes on to show that Amazon has been doing really well recently. Meanwhile, tech billionaires are known for their philanthropical initiatives. In fact, Forbes had said that one of the main reasons that Bill Gates is still approachable in that spot because he has been giving away a lot of wealth for his foundation. With the way Amazon is going, it won’t be long till Bezos will skyrocket ahead of Gates. Meanwhile, Gates has set an example of how it is the responsibility of the person at the top of the wealth chart, to give back to people. Now that Bezos is poised to reach that position, the pressure is mounting on him to play to that tune and spend some wealth on things other than his businesses.

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While Bezos is not known for giving away his money, but he will finally have to do what billionaires do. Donate some money to charity and other philanthropical works. In fact, Bezos is yet to pledge to donate even half of his wealth. However, it is possible that he may have been giving away anonymously, but critics have argued that he must do so more openly. After all, fame is as powerful as fortune itself. In June this year, he took to Twitter to ask for ideas regarding a ‘philanthropy strategy’ which can have a ‘lasting impact’. He wrote: “I’m thinking I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.” But saying that Bezos has never donated, would be a false thing to say. Bloomberg reported that his family helps in funding the Bezos Family Foundation from Amazon shares. He even donated $2.5 million to help in passing a same sex marriage referendum in Washington state in 2012, New York Times reported.

Also read | Amazon goes on hiring spree as labor market tightens

Other initiatives:
1. Blue Origin: Blue Origin is basically a private aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight services company. It was set up by Jeff Bezos and its headquarters are in Kent, Washington. This firm is making technology which will let humans access space with dramatically low costs and higher reliability. While Amazon had decidedly kept the operations under secrecy, but now the company has been showing off some of its accomplishments. With an aim to enable space tourism, this firm will expand the horizons of humanity in space.

2. The Washington Post: Bezos in 2013, had bought the newspaper for $250 million in cash. It was at a time when the iconic paper was not doing well, and interestingly, Amazon was not involved in the deal too. He had said that he will act as a financial cushion so that the newspaper could experiment more. Washington Post had said, Bezos promised that the ‘long history of independent journalism,” will continue.

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