A surge in Amazon's stock early on Thursday morning propelled owner Jeff Bezos' wealth to over £90 billion. His wealth is now estimated at £90.9 billion against £90.7 billion for Gates.

Bezos status as the richest man in the world is only a temporary one for the time being as Microsoft shares could rally and force him back to second, but the likelihood is that the position will become a permanent one in the next few weeks.

The rise and rise of Jeff Bezos

A graduate of Princeton University Bezos worked as a hedge fund manager on Wall Street. Amazon was founded in 1994 after he learned about the rapid growth in internet use and also that the U.S.

Supreme Court had introduced a new ruling that prevented online retailers from incurring sales taxes in states where they did not have a physical presence. The business was started in a garage initially selling books and within two months was making £20,000 per week.

Since those early days, the business has exploded and now deals in virtually anything. Bezos at only 53 years-old is still active at the head of the business, unlike Gates. He is notoriously press-averse and rarely gives interviews. Like Gates though he is not prone to flashy displays of his wealth. Until very recently he was still seen driving around in his 1996 Honda Accord.

The Gates era

Born in 1955, Harvard dropout Bill Gates has been world's richest person since 2013.

and in fact has been world's richest for 18 of the last 23 years. As founder of computer giant Microsoft, his rise to wealth was rapid as the internet age took place.

A significant philanthropist Gates set up the charitable foundation "The Giving Pledge" with fellow billionaire Warren Buffet. The pledge aims for them and other billionaires to pledge half their fortunes to philanthropic organisations.

Gates also set up the "Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation" in 2000. Its aims are to reduce global poverty and to enhance healthcare.

What's next for Bezos?

The rise over the past few years for Amazon has been exceptional. Bezos' net worth has grown by over $70 billion in the last 5 years alone. When you consider that when Adnan Khashoggi was the world's richest man in the 1980's his wealth was estimated at around $4 billion, in 1995 when Gates first topped the list his wealth was $12 billion.

At the rate of growth of Bezos' fortune, some experts are predicting that Bezos could become the first person worth $100 billion!

Given that he shows none of the philanthropic inclinations of his predecessor at the number one slot and all the desire to grow and improve his business, Bezos seems intent on remaining in his new position for a very long time.