Like the e-commerce and cloud juggernaut he founded, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos keeps outdoing himself. On Thursday morning, Bezos surpassed Microsoft's (MSFT) Bill Gates to become the world's richest person.
Shares of Amazon climbed 1.2% to $1,065.78 on Thursday morning, propelling Bezos' net worth to more than $90.6 billion and squeezing him past Gates, whose worth stood at $90.0 billion, according to Forbes. The move comes just hours before Amazon is set to report its fiscal second quarter results after Thursday's closing bell. Wall Street expects the company to post earnings of $1.41 per share and $37.2 billion in revenue, along with year-over-year gains in all of its major business segments.
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The 53-year-old Amazon founder added $1.2 billion to his net worth on Thursday alone, according to Forbes data. Bezos owns about 81 million shares of Amazon, or roughly 17% of the company, according to FactSet.
Gates has been the reigning champ on and off since 1995. At one point, Gates topped the list for 13 straight years, but dropped to third place in 2008 when Microsoft's stock fell 15% after it made a failed bid for Yahoo.
Amazon's stock has surged 355% over the last five years, and Bezos' net worth has appreciated accordingly, though he's sold some shares over that time. Bezos first made the Forbes list of wealthiest people in 1998 following Amazon's IPO, but his rapid ascension has occurred more recently. According to CNBC, Bezos' net worth has grown by $70 billion over the past five years.
The Seattle-based company, founded in 1994, has transformed into much more than just an online bookstore, disrupting almost every corner of the e-commerce market and beyond.
Now 23 years old, Amazon's total addressable markets have grown to be worth billions of dollars, touching more than just the retail market. The company is now widely considered the cloud computing leader through its Amazon Web Services platform, and has taken the nascent digital assistant market by storm with its line of best-selling Echo devices.
The optimism around Amazon's rapid fire growth has led some Wall Street analysts to bet that it can achieve a trillion-dollar market cap. Monness, Crespi, Hardt analyst James Cakmak said there's no doubt that Amazon will be the first company to get to that milestone, despite currently trailing Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Alphabet (GOOGL) -- the only thing standing in its way is FTC approval of its $13.7 billion Whole Foods Market (WFM) deal. If Amazon were to reach those lofty heights and Bezos maintained his ownership share of the company, he'd be worth a whopping $170 billion.
As Amazon continues to grow bigger and bigger, so do Wall Street's expectations. The tech giant continues to post double-digit revenue gains year after year, which means it has to meet a high threshold during earnings season. But it also means that Bezos' net worth will keep swelling.
Amazon shares continued to rise Thursday afternoon.
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