Forbes: Bill Gates is World's Fourth Most Powerful Person

Forbes has released its list of the world's most powerful figures in both wealth and influence, with Microsoft chairman and founder Bill Gates being named fourth on the list.

Gates, who increased his position from fifth last year, has a net worth of $65 billion even after donating more than $28 billion towards a variety of charitable causes.

As co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the influential industry figure has been aiming to remove a number of diseases. Gates estimates that the foundation's efforts could ultimately help save as many as 8 billion lives by 2020.

He's also been urging his wealthy peers join the foundation's "Giving Pledge", which sees individuals and families in the U.S. donating the majority of their wealth toward philanthropy. Thus far, a total of 91 have joined the pledge, with 23 contributors joining this year.

Pope Benedict XVI took the fifth spot, while the three top places on the Forbes list went to heads of states. U.S. President Barack Obama came in at first, followed by Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel in second and Russia president Vladimir Putin at third.

As for technology figures in the list, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page both shared the No. 20 spot among the most powerful people. Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg followed by taking the 25th spot, while other tech moguls on the list included Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at No. 27, Apple CEO Tim Cook at No. 35, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at No. 46, and LinkedIn chairman Reid Hoffman at No. 71.

The richest individual on the planet remains Mexico's Carlos Slim Helu, who is ranked 11th on the list. He made his vast fortune through telecom and has a personal net worth of $72 billion. He's contributed billions in past years to philanthropic causes.

Hon Hai Precision CEO Terry Gou was ranked No. 55. The company, otherwise known as Foxconn, manufacturers tech devices including the iPhone, iPad, Kindle and the Xbox 360. However, it's been criticized for its unsafe labor conditions within its factories, as well as hiring underage workers/interns. At number 64 on the list is Robin Li, the founder and CEO of Baidu, China's biggest search engine.

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  • chewy1963
    Bill Gates is more powerful than the pope! What is this world coming to? In the bible it does say "The meek shall inherit the world", I think they didn't have their spell check on and it should have read "The geek shall inherit the world". :lol:
  • joytech22
    Funny how all of this money gets donated and a huge majority of the world is still in trouble.
    Seriously.. What did they do with the $28 billion?

    It's 28 freakin' Billion, that's enough for $4 per person on this planet.
    Imagine how much of that actually goes towards those in need.
  • wemakeourfuture
    Whichever person has the most influence in the Communist Party of China I would say ranks higher than Bill Gates.
  • esrever
    why the chancellor of germany?
  • A Bad Day
    wemakeourfutureWhichever person has the most influence in the Communist Party of China I would say ranks higher than Bill Gates.
    You mean United States. Controlling the US government is no small feat, and the rewards is, a lot...
  • Prey
    esreverwhy the chancellor of germany?I'm going to guess since the Euro zone isn't doing great, and Germany has a fair amount of say with the ECB which has propped countries like Greece, Spain, Ireland and Italy.
  • sliem
    save 8 billion people? wow... maybe he'll end world hunger, establish world peace, reach alpha centaury and eliminate lawyers...
  • tokencode
    esreverwhy the chancellor of germany? Because her decisions impact the whole of Europe due to the financial crisis.
  • Stevemeister
    If anyone has ever watched the kids movie "Despicable Me" the character called "Vector" in that movie looks like a caricature of Bill Gates - I always laugh when I see Bill Gates as I associate him with Vector - worth looking up on u-tube if you want a laugh.
  • Stevemeister
    For a laugh