Ellison richer than Gates?

Bill's shares lose $4.5 billion in one day

Bill Gates watched helplessly as investors wiped $35 billion off the value of his beloved company today.

Microsoft's share price fell $6.13, or 11 per cent, to $49.38 this afternoon, knocking off a hefty portion of Gates' own personal fortune. The Microsoft chief owns 731,749,668 shares in the software giant, (as of September 2000, Microsoft's most recent annual statement on shareholders), meaning he lost around $4.5 billion on his own stock in just one day.

The company was worth $260 billion this afternoon.

The investor share-dumping extravaganza followed the company's announcement late yesterday that it would miss sales forecasts for the current quarter and the full fiscal year.

But what does this mean to Gates foe and Oracle chief Larry Ellison? Back in September Gates was just £1 billion richer than Ellison - Gates was worth an estimated £43 billion ($63 billion) at the time.

Oracle's share price gained $1.38 today, rising to $28.88 on the back of better than expected earnings. Could the ageing Oracle philanderer be richer than the Great Gates? ®

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