founder and The Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos on Thursday became the richest person in the world, displacing Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Bezos’s rise to No. 1 followed a surge in shares Thursday ahead of the online retailer’s earnings report due out later in the day. founder Jeff Bezos. The Washington Post/Linda Davidson shares have been on a tear over the past year, passing the $1,000 mark and hitting $1,082 by midday Thursday, propelling Bezos, 53, to $90.6 billion compared with Gates’s $90.1 billion. Gates, 61, who built his fortune through Microsoft, has long been among the world’s richest and had held the top spot since May 2013.

Forbes Magazine reported the news that on its real-time measure of the fortunes of the world’s wealthiest people.’s market cap, which is the total value of all its shares, also broke the $500 billion mark recently, joining other exclusive members of the $500-billion-plus club such as Alphabet, Microsoft and Apple.

The vast majority of Bezos’s wealth comes from his shares in He owns just shy of 17 percent of the company.

He also owns rocket company Blue Origin. Bezos has said he pays for Blue Origin through his sale of $1 billion a year in stock.

“Mae West said, ‘Too much of a good thing can be wonderful,’ ” said Michael Farr, who runs a Washington investment firm. “We presume Mr. Bezos agrees. The power and value of technology can’t be overestimated. We believe Mr. Bezos will continue to set records.”

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