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  • Writer's pictureElite Curated

Billionaire Feature: Steve Ballmer

Updated: Jan 27

*All figures are in USD

Today we analyse the net worth of a well-known and charismatic billionaire, Steven Ballmer. With an outrageous net worth of $88.6 billion, he currently sits as the 7th richest person on Earth. Ballmer is best known for being the former CEO of Microsoft, a position which he held for 14 years, and for being the current owner of the NBA franchise, the Los Angeles Clippers.

Ballmer stepped down from Microsoft in 2014 after playing a pivotal role in building the brand into one of the biggest and most successful in history. That same year, he dropped $2 billion to acquire the LA Clippers.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, to a working-class family, Ballmer had a knack for numbers. He attended mathematics camps as a child and graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics. He was immediately contracted as a product manager at Procter & Gamble for two years, and then Ballmer left to attend the Graduate Business School at Stanford University.

In 1980, Ballmer made a risky educational and career decision and dropped out of Stanford to become the business manager for a start-up with an old friend from Harvard, Bill Gates. Ballmer claims Gates was persuasive and always had a brilliant mind.

In 1998, Ballmer became CEO of Microsoft after Gates stepped down and cemented himself as Chairman. It was during his leadership that the successful initiative and launch of the Xbox was delivered to consumers, which to this day, remains a premier gaming console.

In 2008, Gates stepped down from all day-to-day responsibilities with Microsoft, which resulted in Ballmer becoming the public face of the company. During the next few years, Ballmer would help Microsoft in the invention and development of the Bing search engine. In 2013, Ballmer led the campaign in what was Microsoft’s biggest-ever acquisition in a bid to rival Apple’s Facetime product, the $8.5 billion deal for Skype, a video call/messaging service. In the following year, Ballmer stepped down from Microsoft, and Satya Nedella preceded the CEO position.

After stepping down from the Microsoft board of directors in 2014, Ballmer held and still does hold a 4% stake in the company, which is the bulk of his net worth. At the time, this was 333 million shares. However, he reportedly sold 14 million shares to cover a substantial part of the Clippers acquisition.

As far as we know, Ballmer still holds all remaining shares in the tech giant and remains the company’s largest shareholder. Since 2014, Ballmer has collected more than $12 billion in dividends. His beloved Los Angeles Clippers were valued at $3.16 billion in 2016.

These days, Steve and his wife Connie spend the bulk of their time managing the Ballmer Group — a philanthropic charitable organisation where he has invested over $2 billion. Ballmer’s time at Microsoft was received with mixed opinions — after tripling sales and doubling profits, however, ignoring modern 21st-century trends such as the rise of smartphones.

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