- Bill Gates is currently around $1 billion richer than Jeff Bezos.
- For Gates’ net worth to stay above Bezos’, he’ll need Microsoft’s most boring division – cloud computing – to remain ridiculously lucrative.
- Luckily for Gates, Azure could become the software maker’s biggest business by 2023.
Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates recently dethroned Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Gates’ triumph was doubly sweet because it came after Microsoft beat out Amazon to win a $10 billion cloud-computing contract from the US Department of Defense. Gates currently owns $15.5 billion worth of MSFT stock – nearly 15% of his entire fortune.
Microsoft Azure crucial to Bill Gates’ net worth
It’s appropriate that a cloud computing announcement pushed Gates into the lead on the net worth charts. If he is to stay ahead of Bezos, his best hope lies in the continued growth of Microsoft’s cloud division, Azure.
According to a recent Stifel Nicolaus research note, that’s a safe – if boring – gamble. Analyst Brad Reback observed that the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract has opened the door for Microsoft to receive similar mega-contracts.
Reback predicts that Azure could be Microsoft’s biggest business by 2023 based on rapidly growing demand:
Over the last several quarters, it has become increasingly clear, based on large cloud deal activity and strong hybrid cloud growth, that as enterprises of all sizes begin their respective digital transformation journeys, Microsoft is effectively tapping into sizable Tier-1 enterprise workloads that it was not directly exposed to in the client/server world.
Watch your back, AWS!
In recent quarters, some of the firms that have inked deals with Azure include Walt Disney Studios, Walgreens, BMW, and AT&T.
Reback expects Azure to be a $35 billion business in fiscal 2022. But by fiscal 2023, Azure will be a bigger…