Tech tycoons dominate US rich list

Posted by Hitarth Jani | 4:03 PM | 0 comments »

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates (left) and right, from top to bottom: Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Oracle's Larry Ellison, and Dell's Michael Dell.

Bill Gates might still be the richest, but the growing clout of Google is evident in Forbes magazine's latest list of the wealthiest Americans.

According to the magazine, Gates is the richest person in America for the 14th year in a row.

Gates' fortune grew by $US6 billion in the past year to $US59 billion, Forbes said.

Gates was one of 34 rich list members - all of them men - who made their money in a technology-related area. Five of them appear in the top ten.

The Microsoft co-founder was recently overtaken as the world's richest man by Mexican telecom billionaire Carlos Slim.

Forbes reported last month that Slim had increased his net worth by $US12 billion so far this year based on the market value of his companies listed on stock exchanges. His fortune was stated as being worth $US59 billion - a figure now matched by Gates.

The Microsoft chairman - who plans to step down from his day-to-day business activities next year - was joined by two other people who made their fortunes at Microsoft: co-founder Paul Allen and CEO Steve Ballmer.

Software tycoon Larry Ellison ($US26b), chief executive of Oracle Corp, remains No 4 on the 25th annual ranking of 400 rich Americans, which now requires a minimum net worth of $US1.3 billion for inclusion.

Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page came in at No 5 with fortunes of $US18.5 billion. They are also jointly the second-youngest billionaires on the list.

In all, five Google billionaires made the Forbes list. The others are Google CEO Eric Schmidt (No 48, $US6.5b), the head of sales and business development Omid Kordestani (No 204, $US2.2b) and Kavitark Shriram (No 271, $US1.8b), a board member who was an early investor in the company.

Google, which last week turned ten-years-old, listed its shares in August 2004 at $US85. Today those shares are have rocketed in value to $US552 and Google has a market value of $US173 billion.

The only other technology tycoon in the top ten is Michael Dell, chief executive of Dell Inc, the world's second-largest PC maker. Dell, who earlier this year returned as the company's chief executive officer, was ranked as America's 8th richest, with a fortune of $US17.2 billion.

Other notable tech billionaires who made the cut are Apple co-founder Steve Jobs (No 56, $US5.7b), eBay founder Pierre Omidyar (No 32, $US8.9b), Intel founder Gordon Moore (No 68, $US4.5b) and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (no 35, $US8.7b).

The Tech Top 20:

1. Bill Gates $US59.0 Microsoft

4. Larry Ellison $US26.0 Oracle

5. Sergey Brin $US18.5 Google

5. Larry Page $US18.5 Google

8. Michael Dell $US17.2 Dell

11. Paul Allen $US16.8 Microsoft

16. Steve Ballmer $US15.2 Microsoft

32. Pierre Omidyar $US8.9 eBay

35. Jeff Bezos $US8.7 Amazon

35. James Goodnight $US8.7 SAS Institute

48. Eric Schmidt $US6.5 Google

56. Steve Jobs $US5.7 Apple, Pixar

64. Min Kao $US4.7 Garmin

68. Gordon Moore $US4.5 Intel

76. John Sall $US4.4 SAS Institute

114. Gary Burrell $US3.1 Garmin

135 Craig McCaw $US2.8 McCaw Cellular

149. Ray Dolby $US2.7 Dolby Laboratories

161. Mark Cuban $US2.6

165. David Sun $US2.5 Kingston Technology

165. John Tu $US2.5 Kingston Technology

Ranking refers to position in overall Top 400 list. All $US in billions.

Source: Forbes