One of the things that always surprised me was how, compared to some of his Silicon Valley peers, Steve Jobs’ net worth during his life paled in comparison to some of his contemporaries.
When Jobs died in late 2011, his net worth was reported as being $10.2 billion. That’s an enormous amount of money, but it was a drop in the ocean next to Bill Gates’ $56 billion that year, and less than Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page’s $19.8 billion apiece, Michael Dell’s $14.6 billion, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s $13.5 billion.
Had Jobs had the same share arrangement today, however, it would be a very different story.
An article from TheLadders notes that, taking into account all of the share splits and soaring stock prices Apple has seen since Jobs’ death, his net worth today would be in the region of $45 billion. This is split between his Apple shares and his shares in Disney, acquired as part of the Pixar sale. Without selling any of those shares, Jobs would make $402 million per year in dividend payments.
$45 billion would give Jobs just under one-quarter of the net worth of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos $196 billion fortune. (Jobs’ fortune was passed on to his family, but they have sold many of his shares to diversify.)
That’s certainly not bad, even if Apple substantially outsizes Amazon in terms of market cap: $2.269 trillion to $1.64 trillion.
The really crazy bit, however, is what would have happened had Jobs held onto his original Apple stake, which he largely sold in the mid-1980s after being pushed out of the company. At the time, Jobs owned 20% of Apple. That would mean a net worth of around $450 billion today. Not only would Jobs be the world’s richest person (at least, based on those with measurable fortunes); he would be worth more than double his closest competitor.