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Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chairman, was the world's richest person for the 14th consecutive year, Forbes announced yesterday as it launched its rich-list for 2006.

Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chairman, was the world's richest person for the 14th consecutive year, Forbes announced yesterday as it launched its rich-list for 2006.

Gates, whose estimated net worth climbed £3bn in 2006 to £28bn, was joined in the top 25 by technology heavyweights Larry Ellison, chairman of Oracle , 11th place, £10.5bn; Paul Allen, formerly of Microsoft, 19th, £9 billion; and Azim Premji, chairman of India's technology services company Wipro Technologies, 21st, £8.5bn.

Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer, however, watched his ranking drop from 24 in 2005 to 31 even as his net worth climbed to £7.5bn from £6.5bn.

Michael Dell, who has returned as CEO of Dell, was placed 30th last year with £7.5bn, a drop in both ranking (12) and worth (£8.5bn) from 2005, mirroring the fortunes of the company he founded.

Other notable names on the list include Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs, 132, £2.6bn; Google's co-founders Sergey Brin, 26, £8bn, and Larry Page 26, £8bn, and Google's chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt, 116, £3.1bn; Amazon.com's CEO Jeff Bezos, 188, £2.2bn; Yahoo's co-founder Jerry Yang, 432, £1.1bn; Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, 243, £1.7bn; and eBay's founder Pierre Omidyar 76, £4.4bn.