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Gates money-pile now bigger than galaxy

As a matter of interest, he could now afford to launch nine broadband satellite networks

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Microsoft accounted for three of the top four slots in the latest Forbes list of the world's richest people, with only famous investor Warren Buffett separating the trio of Gates, Allen and Ballmer. Gates naturally heads the list, Microsoft's escalating share price having seen off a succession of former world's richest people over the years, and his estimated value of $90 billion is almost triple Buffett's paltry $36 billion. This just goes to show that although the rich aren't like you and I, his Billness doesn't real count as being like the rich any more. Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, comes next with $30 billion while Steve Ballmer, in early but obviously not early enough, clocks $19.5 billion. It takes a whole family, Roche Pharmaceuticals, to account for the next slot, and even then Michael Dell, who is occasionally cruelly categorised as a Microsoft billionaire round these parts, is coming on strong behind with $16.5 billion beer tokens. ®

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