Skip to main content

Zuckerberg's worth plummets nearly £5bn as Gates tops Forbes 400 rich list for 19th consecutive year

The 2012 Forbes 400 list has been revealed, and for the 19th consecutive year, a technology magnate leads the pack, with six more tech moguls rounding out the top 20 richest people in the US.

Microsoft creator and billionaire Bill Gates' name is old news, topping the list for almost two decades straight, while Oracle owner Larry Ellison kept the number three spot, earning about $5 billion (£3.08bn) less than philanthropist Warren Buffet. Amazon chief Jeff Bezos shot to 11th place, carrying with him $23.2 billion (£14.3bn) in net worth – higher than last year's measly $19.1 billion (£11.7bn).

The biggest change was Mark Zuckerberg. Following a rough year for the social network, the Facebook founder slipped from the number 14 spot (he touted a net worth of $17.5 billion, or £10.7 billion, in 2011) to land at number 36 this year with $9.4 billion (£5.8bn). Two years ago, he jumped from the 158th spot to 35th place, gaining the largest percentage growth in 2010.

Zuckerberg's fortune could fit easily into Steve Jobs' widow's purse, as Laurene Powell Jobs "and family" were ranked 28th, making her the richest woman in America, with a bank account about $11 billion (£6.8bn) strong.

Forbes' top 20 was filled out by Googlers Sergey Brin and Larry Page at number 13, both carrying $20.3 billion (£12.5bn). The men, though listed separately, are counted as one entity, claiming the same worth, which grew from $16.7 billion (£10.3bn) last year, pushing them up two spots.

Microsoft also snagged spots 19 and 20, with Steve Ballmer's $15.9 billion (£9.8bn), and investor Paul Allen's $15 billion (£9.2bn) beating Michael Dell by only about $400 million £246m).

EBay's Pierre Omidyar ($8.2 billion/£5.05 billion), Eric Schmidt of Google ($7.5 billion/£4.6 billion), and entrepreneur James Goodnight ($7.3 billion/£4.5 billion) rounded out Forbes' top 50 richest Americans in the tech business. Facebook pair Sean Parker (number 347, $1.3 billion/£801 million) and Dustin Moskovitz (number 151, $2.7 billion/£1.6 billion) also made this year's list.