Billionaire Jeff Bezos Had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

Laura Hoy @laurabsaid
October 26, 2019 18:30 UTC
  • Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had an awful week, at least for a billionaire.
  • First, he lost his title as the world’s richest person to Bill Gates.
  • As if that wasn’t enough, Microsoft – the company that made Gates the world’s wealthiest man – beat out Amazon for a mammoth government contract.

It’s been a tough week for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. The American billionaire lost his title as the richest man in the world for a few hours last week, and then a day later, Amazon Web Services lost a $10 billion cloud contract to rival Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).

If that wasn’t enough, SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell called out Bezos’ failure to keep up in the corporate space race, and a video questioning Bezos’ importance went viral— proving the universe will always kick you when you’re down.

Amazon Waves Bye-Bye to Jedi

The US Defense Department’s search for a cloud provider to support a decade-long Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) deal said to be valued at $10 billion ended with Microsoft as the victor. The news was a crushing blow to AMZN stock, as many had picked Amazon as the favorite to win the contract when it was first announced. Amazon’s cloud arm has long been a leader in the industry, and the firm inked a deal with the CIA back in 2013 that many thought would give it a leg-up on competitors.

However, over the summer, several of the firms bidding for JEDI complained that the process wasn’t fair. That brought President Trump’s attention to the deal, which could be part of the reason Amazon lost out. Donald Trump and Jeff Bezos have a contentious history, and this wouldn’t be the first time the president sought to poke holes in Amazon’s business.

Jeff Bezos Suffers Embarrassing Fall from Grace

Amazon stock’s plunge temporarily knocked Jeff Bezos off his throne as the world’s richest person. | Source: Yahoo Finance

Jeff Bezos was also dethroned as the richest man in the world, albeit for just a few hours. To add insult to injury, Bezos lost the title to Bill Gates, Microsoft’s founder.

Amazon stock saw a steep decline at the end of the week thanks in large part to the firm’s lackluster Q3 results. The share price recovered the following morning, bringing Bezos back on top.

However, it had to hurt that MSFT enjoyed a 3% boost when the JEDI deal was confirmed, closing the gap between Bezos and Gates a bit further.

Blue Origin Blunders

Attention was also drawn to Blue Origin’s inability to keep up with SpaceX. | Source: Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP

On Friday, Bezos was also the subject of critique when SpaceX’s Gwynne Shotwell took aim at his space exploration company, Blue Origin. She questioned the progress at Blue Origin, saying,

“I don’t think there’s a motivation or a drive there.”

Shotwell also took direct aim at Jeff Bezos himself saying,

“He’s years behind” and that his company has, “a billion dollars of free money every year from him,” but “they’re not doing a lot.”

The comments likely stung, as she’s not wrong. While SpaceX has launched hundreds of rockets into space, Bezos’ Blue Origin has yet to build one capable of making it into orbit.

Bezos’ Lukewarm Reception

As if he needed any further humiliation, Bezos’ ego was taken down a peg by a viral video showing students unimpressed by his presence in their classroom. Bezos visited the class as part of Amazon’s Future Engineer Program, and a local news crew captured the event. In the foreground of the video, a student appears to ask who he is and then gesture, “big deal” upon learning his name.

Bezos posted an edited version of the video leaving out the student in question, but not before the video made the rounds on Twitter with users laughing at Bezos’ expense.

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This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.

Last modified: October 26, 2019 16:52 UTC

Laura Hoy @laurabsaid

With a background in Finance and a passion for making money, Laura Hoy has been funding her lifestyle by playing the stock market since she was a teenager. After a brief stint in the business world, she spent a decade as an educator traveling the world, learning languages and dabbling in freelance writing.