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Gates Still on Top of Forbes' Richest Americans List

The Forbes 400 list of the Richest People in America came out Wednesday and it lists Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates on top once again, with $54 billion. As Forbes puts it, "The software king is not the world's richest man, but that's because he is the most generous person on the planet: To date he has cut checks totaling $28 billion."

The Gates fortune is up $4 billion from a year ago, but down $3 billion from 2008 and down $5 billion from 2007, according to Forbes. While Gates' money seems to be working its way back toward those peaks, it remains above the relative trough it occupied for most of the 2000s, when it dipped as low -- if that's really the right word -- as $43 billion, according to Forbes' figures.

Others who owe their fortunes to Microsoft in the Forbes 400 include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, ranked No. 16 with $13.1 billion, and cofounder Paul Allen, No. 17 with $12.7 billion. The closest technologist in net worth to Gates is Oracle founder Larry Ellison, ranked No. 3 at $27 billion. Gates' bridge and philanthropy buddy, Warren Buffett, provides a welcome buffer on the Forbes list between the two technology billionaires, who frequently stand on opposite sides of technology fights.

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 23, 2010 at 11:58 AM