Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates topped Forbes magazine's list of the 400 richest Americans again this year, as several other high-tech executives dropped off the list and the net worth of America's billionaires declined overall.
Gates was the richest person in America and the world again this year, worth $54 billion as of Aug. 27, according to the annual Forbes survey. Gates has placed first for eight years in a row. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen came in third place, with $28.2 billion, separated from Gates by investor Warren Buffet. Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer also placed in the top 10, with a net worth of $15.1 billion.
The only other technology executive placing in the top 10 was Larry Ellison, CEO of Microsoft rival Oracle, who is worth $21.9 billion. The rest of the slots were filled by relatives of deceased Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton.
Of the tech execs who remained, several saw their fortunes shrink considerably. Gates is worth $54 billion this year, down from $63 billion last year, and Ellison is worth $21.9 billion, down from $58 billion last year. According to CNET's CEO Wealth Meter, Ellison was one of the best performers in 2000, when his net worth increased by $3.9 billion. --Tiffany Kary, Special to ZDNet News