Jeff Bezos briefly takes world's richest title

Jeff Bezos is world's richest person

Amazon's stock price jumped more than $25 early Thursday, briefly handing CEO Jeff Bezos bragging rights as the richest person in the world, with a fortune topping $90 billion. 

The surge came ahead of Amazon's (AMZN) post-market earnings report. Afternoon trading knocked Bezos back to second-richest after Microsoft's (MSFT) Bill Gates. The e-commerce giant's stock slid in after-hours trading when it reported weaker-than-expected earnings, with profit in the second quarter down more than 70 percent from a year ago as the company invested in digital content and its global supply chains. Amazon also lowered guidance for the third quarter. 

Amazon stock falls after earnings fail to meet expectations

Having started the year as the world's third-richest human, according to Forbes -- behind Gates and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) CEO Warren Buffett -- the Amazon founder's wealth has shot up along with the company's stock price, which has soared more than 40 percent this year. It now trades at more than a thousand dollars per share, a status only four other publicly listed U.S. companies carry. 

Amazon's stature among investors reflects its growing importance in the retail world, where it accounts for roughly a third of all e-commerce transactions, and its ambitions to push into other sectors of the economy, like the food business.

Bezos, who started Amazon as a way to sell books online, built the company into a massive internet retail empire, forcing traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to completely rethink their sales strategies and, in some cases, shut their doors.  The company's recent push into video content through its Prime subscription service has thrown down a gauntlet to competitors Netflix and Hulu. 

Is Tiffany & Co. Amazon-proof?

Amazon is notable for relentlessly focusing on growth and expansion, not turning a profit for years. If the recent acquisition of grocer Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, partnership with sports giant Nike and rumors Amazon is looking to break into the health care market are any indication, Bezos is looking to make Amazon even bigger -- and manage a firmer hold on his new title.