Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

#27 Steve Ballmer $31.9B

Random fact: Shared an office with Jeffrey Immelt while working at P&G.

Overview

Ballmer is the former CEO of Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker. He stepped down in 2014 and remains the largest individual shareholder of the company, which makes the Windows operating system, the Xbox 360 game console and Surface tablet computers. Ballmer also owns the L.A. Clippers basketball team.

As of Oct. 17, 2017:
Last change +$70.2M (+0.2%)
YTD change +$5.52B (+20.9%)
Industry Technology
Biggest asset MSFT US Equity
Citizenship United States
Age 61
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Steve Ballmer's net worth of $31.9B can buy ...

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of U.S. existing home sales
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Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
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Confidence rating:

The majority of Ballmer's fortune is derived from a 4 percent stake in Microsoft, the world's biggest software maker. The company's former chief executive officer owns about 333 million shares of the company, according to its 2014 proxy, the last time his stake was disclosed. He has sold more than $3.4 billion of Microsoft stock and collected more than $4.4 billion in dividends. He purchased the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team in August 2014 for $2 billion.

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of share sales, dividends, taxes and market performance. He also owns a 4 percent stake in Twitter, the billionaire confirmed in an email to Bloomberg News on Oct. 16, 2015.

Peter Wootton, a spokesman for the Redmond, Washington-based company, said Ballmer declined to comment on his net worth.

Biography

Birthdate: 3/24/1956
Family: Married, 3 children
Education: 1977, Bachelor's Degree, President & Fellows of Harvard College

Born to a Ford manager who served as an interpreter at the Nuremberg trials, Steve Ballmer attended math camp as a child. He attended Harvard University, where he majored in math and economics, managed the football team and, perhaps more important for the future of personal computing, lived down the hall from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

After Harvard, Ballmer marketed Duncan Hines Moist 'n Easy cake mix at Procter & Gamble, where he shared a cubicle with Jeffrey Immelt. Gates persuaded him to drop out of Stanford University business school after one year to join Microsoft as employee No. 30 in 1980.

At Microsoft, he rose to the rank of president and then took over for Gates as chief executive officer in 2000. The company's stock, one of the top performers in the Standard and Poor's 500 Index in the 1990s, hit its peak only days before Gates stepped down and has struggled since then.

While Microsoft's revenue tripled under Ballmer's tenure, the company fell behind Apple and Google in areas like mobile phones, tablet computers and internet search. To counter the slippage, Ballmer bought internet communications firm Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011. He retired from Microsoft in February 2014 and in May of that year became its largest individual shareholder after Gates sold 4.6 million shares.

He bought the NBA basketball franchise L.A. Clippers for $2 billion in 2014. That same year he founded Ballmer Group with his wife Connie. The philanthropic vehicle supports efforts to improve economic mobility for children and families in the U.S. Ballmer, who married Connie Snyder, a public relations executive who worked on the Microsoft account in 1990, still drives Ford cars in deference to his father.

Milestones
  • 1956 Steven Anthony Ballmer is born in Detroit, Michigan.
  • 1974 Enrolls at Harvard, where he meets Bill Gates.
  • 1977 Graduates from Harvard with a degree in math and economics.
  • 1980 Drops out of Stanford business school to join Microsoft.
  • 1998 Elevated to president of Microsoft.
  • 2000 Gates relinquishes chief executive title, hands role to Ballmer.
  • 2001 Releases Xbox, Microsoft's first consumer electronics product.
  • 2010 After a seven-year hiatus, sells $2 billion of Microsoft stock.
  • 2014 Buys L.A. Clippers for $2 billion.
  • 2015 Builds 4 percent stake in microblogging site Twitter.