Steve Ballmer Net Worth (Updated 2024)

What is Steve Ballmer’s Net Worth?

Steve Ballmer is an American businessman and investor who has amassed a staggering net worth, primarily derived from his long-standing association with Microsoft Corporation. As of May 2024, Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates his personal wealth at around $145 billion, making him the eighth-richest person in the world. 

The vast majority of Steve Ballmer’s net worth is derived from his 333.3 million shares of Microsoft stock, which accounts for roughly 4% of the total outstanding shares. This makes him the company’s largest individual shareholder, surpassing even Bill Gates, who owns approximately 1.3% of Microsoft. Over the years, Ballmer has earned an estimated $13 billion through stock sales and dividends from his Microsoft holdings.

Ballmer’s journey with Microsoft began in 1980 when he was hired by Bill Gates as the company’s 30th employee and first business manager. Initially, he negotiated a compensation package that included an annual salary of $50,000 and an 8% ownership stake in the company. As Microsoft’s business boomed, Ballmer’s profit-sharing agreement became excessive, leading him to exchange it for an equity stake.

During his tenure as Microsoft’s CEO from 2000 to 2014, Ballmer earned a base salary of approximately $1.35 million.
However, the true source of his wealth lies in his Microsoft stock holdings, which have skyrocketed in value over the years. As of 2024, Microsoft pays a dividend of $3 per share, equating to an annual dividend payment of $1 billion for Ballmer.

In addition to his Microsoft stake, Ballmer has diversified his investments and assets. In 2014, he acquired the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team from Donald Sterling for a staggering $2 billion.

He also owns the sports complex The Forum in Inglewood, which he purchased for $400 million, and various real estate properties, including a deluxe waterfront home in Hunts Point, Washington, valued at over $12 million.

Ballmer has also invested in other companies, such as Social Solutions, a digital management enterprise, and has co-founded the Ballmer Group, a philanthropic investment company, with his wife Connie.

Here’s the breakdown of Steve Ballmer’s net worth:

Name:

Steve Ballmer

Net Worth:

$145 Billion

Salary:

$1.35 Million

Date of Birth:

Aug 17, 1944

Profession:

Entrepreneur, Businessperson, Investor

If you’re curious about how we estimate a celebrity’s net worth, you can check out our methodology here.

Steve Ballmer

Early Life

Steve Ballmer was born on March 24, 1956, in Detroit, Michigan. His father, Frederic Henry Ballmer, was a Swiss immigrant who worked as a manager at the Ford Motor Company, and his mother, Beatrice Dvorkin, was of Belarusian Jewish descent. Ballmer grew up in the affluent community of Farmington Hills, Michigan, and displayed an exceptional aptitude for mathematics and economics from an early age.

He attended the International School of Brussels from 1964 to 1967 and later graduated as valedictorian from Detroit Country Day School, scoring a perfect 800 on the mathematical section of the SAT and earning the title of National Merit Scholar.

Ballmer went on to attend Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in applied mathematics and economics in 1977. During his time at Harvard, he was a manager for the Harvard Crimson football team, a member of the Fox Club, and worked on both The Harvard Crimson newspaper and the Harvard Advocate. He also lived down the hall from Bill Gates, who would later become his close friend and business partner.

After Harvard, Ballmer worked as an assistant product manager at Procter & Gamble for two years, sharing an office with Jeff Immelt, who later became CEO of General Electric. He then enrolled in the Stanford Graduate School of Business but dropped out in 1980 to join Microsoft at the behest of Bill Gates.

Career with Microsoft

Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft on June 11, 1980, as the company’s 30th employee and its first business manager. He was offered a base salary of $50,000 and a significant equity stake in the company, which initially included 5-10% of the company and 10% of the profit growth he could generate. This compensation package was later converted into an 8% ownership stake when Microsoft incorporated in 1981.

Ballmer’s early roles at Microsoft included overseeing the company’s operations, sales, and support divisions. He played a pivotal role in negotiating a major deal with IBM to provide the operating system for its computers, which significantly boosted Microsoft’s growth. By 1992, he had become Executive Vice President for Sales and Support, and in 1998, he was promoted to President of Microsoft, making him the de facto number two after Bill Gates.

On January 13, 2000, Ballmer was officially named CEO of Microsoft, succeeding Bill Gates. During his tenure as CEO, Ballmer focused on expanding Microsoft’s enterprise strategy, growing the company’s bottom line, and diversifying its product offerings. He oversaw the launch of the original Xbox gaming console, the acquisition of Skype for $8.5 billion, and significant investments in cloud computing.

Under Ballmer’s leadership, Microsoft’s revenue nearly quadrupled, reaching almost $78 billion by the time he stepped down in 2014. Profits also swelled to $22 billion during his last full fiscal year as CEO. However, his tenure was not without challenges. Microsoft faced fierce competition from companies like Google and Apple, and the company struggled to gain a foothold in the mobile device market with its Windows Mobile OS. 

Ballmer announced his retirement as CEO in August 2013 and officially stepped down on February 4, 2014, succeeded by Satya Nadella. Despite the mixed reviews of his tenure, Ballmer set the stage for Microsoft’s resurgence in the following years. He retained a significant stake in the company, which has continued to grow in value, making him one of the wealthiest individuals in the world.

Acquisition of the LA Clippers

In 2014, Steve Ballmer made headlines when he acquired the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team for a staggering $2 billion, setting a new record for the highest price paid for an NBA franchise at the time. The acquisition came after former Clippers owner Donald Sterling was embroiled in a racism scandal, leading to his ouster from the NBA.

Ballmer had expressed interest in owning an NBA team since 2008 when he was part of a group that unsuccessfully attempted to purchase the Seattle SuperSonics. In 2012, he also tried to buy the Sacramento Kings but was outbid. His perseverance finally paid off with the opportunity to acquire the Clippers in 2014.

The $2 billion price tag Ballmer paid was a significant premium over the next highest bid of $1.6 billion from a group led by Oprah Winfrey and David Geffen.

However, Ballmer’s immense wealth from his Microsoft holdings allowed him to outbid all competitors and secure ownership of the team.

Since acquiring the Clippers, Ballmer has invested heavily in the franchise, including plans to construct a state-of-the-art arena called the Intuit Dome, set to open for the 2024-2025 season.

The Clippers’ value has skyrocketed under Ballmer’s ownership, with Forbes currently valuing the team at $4.6 billion as of 2024.

Microsoft Stock

The vast majority of Steve Ballmer’s net worth is derived from his ownership stake in Microsoft Corporation. As of 2024, Ballmer holds an estimated 333.3 million shares of Microsoft, accounting for approximately 4% of the company’s total outstanding shares.

This makes him the largest individual shareholder in Microsoft, surpassing even Bill Gates.
Ballmer’s association with Microsoft dates back to 1980 when he joined the company as its 30th employee and first business manager.

As part of his initial compensation package, Ballmer negotiated an 8% ownership stake in the company, which he later exchanged for a significant equity position as Microsoft’s business grew rapidly.

Over the years, Ballmer has earned an estimated $13 billion through stock sales and dividends from his Microsoft holdings.
With Microsoft currently paying an annual dividend of $3 per share, Ballmer receives approximately $1 billion in dividend payments each year from his stake.

Salary

During his tenure as CEO of Microsoft from 2000 to 2014, Steve Ballmer’s total compensation package included a base salary of approximately $1.275 million per year.

This consisted of a base salary of around $666,000, a cash bonus of $600,000, and miscellaneous compensation of about $11,000.

While Ballmer’s salary as CEO was substantial, it pales in comparison to the wealth he has accumulated from his Microsoft stock holdings. His equity stake in the company has been the primary driver of his massive net worth.

Real Estate

In addition to his Microsoft stake and ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, Steve Ballmer has also invested in various real estate properties over the years.

In 2020, reports surfaced that Ballmer had purchased a historic waterfront property in Hunts Point, Washington, for $9.8 million. The 3,790-square-foot home, built in 1902, sits on approximately one acre of land.

Ballmer and his wife, Connie, had previously acquired another property in the Seattle area in 1987, paying $1.325 million for a home that has since appreciated to an estimated value of over $12 million as of 2020.

Furthermore, Ballmer’s real estate investments extend to the acquisition of the Forum in Inglewood, California, for $400 million in 2020. The purchase of the former home arena of the Los Angeles Lakers was a strategic move to facilitate the construction of the Clippers’ new Intuit Dome arena in the same area.

Philanthropy and Charitable Contributions

Ballmer and his wife Connie have been actively involved in philanthropic endeavors. In 2022, they announced a $400 million investment with four organizations focused on Black investment managers and Black-owned businesses, aiming to catalyze this undercapitalized market.

They have also made substantial donations to various educational institutions, including a $50 million gift to the University of Oregon in 2014 and a $60 million gift to Harvard University’s computer science department in the same year.

In 2018, Ballmer donated nearly $2 billion to a donor-advised Goldman Sachs Philanthropy fund focused on economic mobility.

More recently, in 2022, he invested $425 million to fund a new institute for children’s behavioral health at the University of Oregon.

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