For the first time in two years, Jeff Bezos is no longer the richest person in the world. But the new No. 1 is a familiar name.
Bill Gates is back on top, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with a fortune of $110 billion as of Friday’s market close. Bezos is just below, at $109 billion.
The Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, -0.37% founder and chief executive lost a good chunk of his fortune in his recent divorce. His ex-wife, MacKenzie Bezos, now has a cool $35 billion, good enough for 24th place on Bloomberg’s list.
Gates, meanwhile, has benefited from the soaring stock of the company he co-founded, Microsoft Corp. MSFT, -0.21% , which has risen 48% year to date. More recently, shares have gained 4% since Microsoft was awarded the Pentagon’s $10 billion JEDI cloud-computing contract at the end of October. Amazon shares have shrunk about 2% since then. Amazon said last week it intends to protest the decision, which it claims was biased.
According to the Bloomberg list, Gates’ fortune has increased by $19.5 billion this year, while Bezos’s has fallen by $16.2 billion.
Both billionaires could see their net worth dinged a bit more if a Democrat such as Elizabeth Warren wins the White House next year. Under her proposed wealth tax, Gates would pay more than $6 billion annually. Gates, who has pledged to give away most of his fortune to charity, has said he’d happy to pay more in taxes. “If I had to pay $20 billion, it’s fine,” he recently said.
See: This is what the net worth of the world’s elite would look like if Elizabeth Warren’s tax plan had been in effect since 1982
Lurking just behind Gates and Bezos on the Bloomberg list is French business magnate Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy SE MC, -0.45% , whose $103 billion fortune has increased by about a third — $34.1 billion — this year.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. BRK.B, -0.90% Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett is fourth, with $86.6 billion, and Facebook Inc. FB, +2.07% CEO Mark Zuckerberg rounds out the top five at $74.5 billion.
Bill Gates Wants to Export India’s National ID System Around the Globe
By Daniel Taylor
It’s not just a social credit score system spreading around the world from China that threatens the free people of the world; India’s Aadhaar National ID program has the full support of Bill Gates and the World Bank as a model for other countries to follow.
Gates said in a 2018 CNBC interview that it was “too bad” if someone thought that Aadhaar was a privacy issue:
The Gates Foundation has pledged to fund the World Bank in an effort to take the ID program to other countries.
Despite Gates plea that there are no privacy issues with Aadhaar, several court cases have gone to India’s supreme court on grounds of privacy violations.
The ID system has had serious security breaches, with access to a billion identities being sold for less than $10 through WhatsApp.
One of the court filings (Mathew Thomas vs Union of India) details the rise of China’s social credit system, comparing the Indian Aadhaar initiative to the Chinese program.
Perhaps the most sensational angle to this story is that the same international tech company that provides the infrastructure to Aadhaar also makes drivers licenses in the United States.
Idemia (formerly Morpho), is a billion dollar multinational corporation. It is responsible for building a significant portion of the world’s biometric surveillance and security systems, operating in about 70 countries. Some American clients of the company include the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and the FBI.
The company website says that Morpho has been “…building and managing databases of entire populations…” for many years.
In the United States, Idemia is involved in the making of state issued drivers licenses in 42 states.
Idemia is now pushing digital license trials in the U.S. Delaware and Iowa are among five states involved in the trials this year. With the mobile licenses, law enforcement will be able to wirelessly “ping” a drivers smartphone for their license.
The Indian government recently announced a facial recognition program to monitor all social media platforms, called the Advanced Application for Social Media Analytics.
Big tech companies are using China, India, South Korea and other countries as testing grounds for smart cities, surveillance systems and command and control tech that are being stealthily rolled out in the West.
Bill Gates reveals his ‘greatest mistake’ that allowed Google to overtake Microsoft
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has said his “greatest mistake ever” was allowing Google’s Android, rather than his own company, to become the world’s biggest mobile operating system.
The billionaire philanthropist said mobile phone software was a “natural thing for Microsoft to win”, but his own “mismanagement” meant Google was able to grab a larger market share of the mobile phone market.
Google’s Android is installed on just over 75% of mobile devices, according to figures from Statcounter published in May, while Microsoft has just a 0.24% share of the same market.
Speaking on stage at a Village Global event in the US, Mr Gates said “in the software world, in particular for platforms, these are winner-take-all markets”.
“The greatest mistake ever is whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is,” he said.
“That is, Android is the standard phone platform – non-Apple – phone platform. That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win.
“It really is winner-take-all. If you’re there with half as many apps or 90% as many apps you’re on your way to complete doom – there is room for exactly one non-Apple operating system and what’s that worth? 400 billion? That would be transferred from company G to company M.”
Google acquired Android in 2005 for around 50 million US dollars, launching the first commercial Android-powered phone – the HTC Dream – in 2008.
Microsoft did launch its own mobile operating system – Windows Mobile – however, the software failed to catch on despite rebooting it as Windows Phone.
At the start of 2019, Microsoft announced that support for the mobile operating system, now known as Windows 10 Mobile, would end in December this year.
The company has previously suggested it has found it hard to convince app developers to work on the platform because the volume of users of the operating system was too low.
Microsoft has since focused its efforts on its cloud computing business and the Windows 10 operating system used on desktop computers and laptops.
But despite “having made one of the greatest mistakes of all time”, Mr Gates said Microsoft is still “very strong”.
“We are a leading company,” he said.
“If we had gotten that one right, we would be the leading company, but oh well.”
Bill Gates makes an amazing prediction to the Trump era
When Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates tried to build an experimental nuclear reactor in China, his plan was thwarted by U.S. foreign investment restrictions. At Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum this week, Gates described the scuttled reactor project as “a five-year setback for technology.”
A chorus of industry leaders, economists and researchers echoed Gates’ cautionary tale during the event in Beijing. Trade tensions between China and the U.S. have spilled into business and economics in tangible ways, they warned, including a slower pace of technological progress and scientific research.
If relations between the two superpowers don’t get back on track soon, “we’re in danger of going back to the dark ages,” said Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang. “We need to reestablish some level of trust between initiatives that can really promote and benefit the people of two countries.”