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Jeff Bezos Just Became The World’s Richest Person, But Only For A Few Hours

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, the world's largest and most significant online retailer, managed to beat Microsoft founder Bill Gates as the richest person in the world. But only for several hours.

Jeff Bezos Wins And Loses 'World's Richest Person' Title In A Span Of Hours

An uptick in Amazon shares on Thursday morning, July 27, in advance of Amazon's earnings report briefly catapulted Bezos past Gates, making him $1.5 billion overnight. After its shares climbed as high as $1,083.31, which gave Bezos $92.3 billion in net worth, shares fell 0.7 percent to $1,046 four hours later.

Now, Bezos has climbed back down to the second spot, behind Bill Gates again, according to Forbes' billionaires list. That list often fluctuates, presumably because some of the people at the top have net worths not that far apart. For instance, Gates now has $89.8 billion, while Bezos hovers extremely close with $88.7 billion. The next guy on the list, Spanish business tycoon Amancio Ortega, has $83.5 billion.

Though Bezos comes close, Gates's could actually have far, far more riches if it weren't for his philanthropic endeavors, Forbes notes. He has given away $31.1 billion of his wealth over the course of his lifetime up to the end of 2016; who knows how much that number has increased now that we've come midway through 2017?

Amazon: A Success Story

The wealth of Bezos, meanwhile, mostly comes from the notable success of Amazon, which has grown to become not only a massive online retailer, but also a smart device company; a crucial investor of space exploration with Blue Origin; and even a content creator, thanks to its Amazon Video platform that hosts original shows and films.

Amazon's humble beginnings started with book sales, then it expanded to CDs, toys, electronics, and now probably anything money can buy, you can buy from Amazon — and have it delivered quick.

Amazon nearly made $136 billion in revenue last year, with the company now valued at $500 billion — an unimaginable feat of growth from what started as a book retailer. It also helps that unlike other companies with steep valuations, Amazon has stood the test of time because it has crossed "fad" territory and became a category unto itself — simply put, Amazon has defined "online shopping" for years now, and it likely won't stop defining and redefining it anytime soon.

For now, however, Bezos needs to sit behind Gates, still — but as the then-Microsoft-now-turned-philanthropic-firebrand pours more money into charity, Bezos certainly stands a chance at the top seat, though if he even wants the coveted chair remains a question.

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