Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Tech's biggest loser: Bill Gates

October 1, 2009: 6:23 AM ET
Photo: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Photo: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The collective net worth of the super rich on Forbes's annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americans fell by $300 billion over the past 12 months, and the tech sector spilled its share of the red ink.

Microsoft's Bill Gates lost the most -- at least on paper. His net worth dropped from $57 to $50 billion, not enough, however, to keep him from topping the list for the 16th year in a row. Two current and former Microsofties were close behind: Paul Allen (No. 17) lost $4.5 billion and Steve Ballmer (No. 14) gave up $1.7 billion.

Other notable losers were Michael Dell (No. 13), down $2.8 billion, and SAS's James Goodnight (No. 33), off $1.9 billion.

In this company, the $600 million that Apple CEO Steve Jobs lost on paper doesn't seem so bad. In fact, on the strength of the $5.1 billion he still has, he moved 18 spots up the Forbes 400 list, from No. 61 to No. 43.

Below: The 12 richest tech moguls and their change in net worth. One actually got richer. Can you guess who?

  • No. 1. Bill Gates, Microsoft (MSFT): $50 billion, down $7 billion
  • No. 3 Larry Ellison, Oracle (ORCL): $27 billion, no change
  • No. 11 Sergey Brin, Google (GOOG): $15.3 billion, down $600 million
  • No. 11 Larry Page, Google: $15.3 billion, down $500 million
  • No. 13 Michael Dell, Dell (DELL): $14.5 billion, down $2.8 billion
  • No. 14 Steve Ballmer, Microsoft: $13.3 billion, down $1.7 billion
  • No. 17 Paul Allen, Microsoft: $11.5 billion, down $4.5 billion
  • No. 28 Jeff Bezos, Amazon (AMZN): $8.8 billion, up $100 million
  • No. 33 James Goodnight, SAS Institute: $6.8 billion, down $1.9 billion
  • No. 40 Pierre Omidyar, eBay (EBAY): $5.5 billion, down $800 million
  • No. 40 Eric Schmidt, Google: $5.5 billion, down $400 million
  • No. 43 Steve Jobs, Apple, Pixar (AAPL): $5.1 billion, down $600 million
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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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