Jeff Bezos’ Net Worth Now Exceeds $106 Billion, While Amazon Employees Fear Robots Will Replace Them

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos remains the wealthiest person on the planet, staying well ahead of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

The net worth of Jeff Bezos climbs past $106 billion.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos remains the wealthiest person on the planet, staying well ahead of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

The net worth of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has just exceeded $106 billion, making him the richest person on the planet. Bezos’ net worth is fueled by the 78.9 million shares of Amazon stock he owns, amounting to a 16 percent stake in the company. Market value for the online juggernaut has surged 57 percent in the past 12 months.

Bezos’ net worth and Amazon share price were boosted significantly as the company managed to dominate online sales in 2017, particularly during the holiday shopping season. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, 89 percent of online spending was through the e-commerce behemoth.

Sitting at the No. 2 spot of wealthy individuals, Bill Gates has some ground to make up if he ever wants to beat the Amazon CEO. In October, Bezos’ net worth surpassed $93 billion, beating the Microsoft founder’s $92 billion at the time. As of yet, Bezos’ net worth is not showing any signs of slowing down.

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, many financial experts believe Gates would be much richer if the software king had not given 700 million Microsoft shares worth $36 billion and $2.9 billion in cash to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Current estimates show Gates’ net worth would be over $150 billion if he had held onto the assets.

Amazon executive says technology will increase jobs.
Amazon employees fear robots will replace them despite company reassurances. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

While the net worth of Jeff Bezos continues to climb, many Amazon workers are concerned if they’ll have a job in the future. Over the years, the Seattle-based company has invested billions of dollars in technology and robots with the potential to kill jobs.

In 2012, Amazon bought robot-maker Kiva Systems for $775 million. Integrating the technology, Amazon now has 100,000 robots fulfilling orders in over 75 distribution centers across the U.S. Regardless, one top company executive says Amazon employees shouldn’t be worried.

“In the same time as we’ve deployed 100,000 robots, we’ve actually hired 315,000 people,” explained Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke during an interview with Yahoo Finance. “We have continued to add humans to robots, and I think that’s going to continue for a long time across the economy.”

Wilke went on to enthusiastically explain that technology will create new jobs by allowing humans to work alongside robots for greater efficiency and safety.

“What’s happened is, technology changes work. It changes the work of humans. It allows them to do higher-quality work. It allows them to be more efficient. It allows them to be safer. I think that kind of thing is going to continue.”

However optimistic Wilke sounds about the future of jobs, some experts are inclined to disagree somewhat. A Forrester Research report indicated at least 16 percent of jobs would be replaced by technology by 2025, with only 9 percent new jobs created.

Every day, the Bloomberg Billionaire Index publishes a list of the top 500 wealthiest individuals on the planet. As of Wednesday, Jeff Bezos’ net worth of $106 billion made him the richest person on Earth, putting him far ahead of anyone else. This is quite an accomplishment for a guy who started selling books out of a Seattle garage in 1994.