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Gates still richest in U.S.; Zuckerberg tops Jobs

Forbes' list of the richest Americans has some familiar faces from the technology world but also some rather unexpected rankings.

Gates--still No. 1. Dan Farber/CNET

No surprise here: Bill Gates is the richest man in the United States. However, some may be surprised that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has overtaken Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Forbes list of the 400 richest people in America.

Gates, the co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft, topped the list--again--with an estimated wealth valuation of $54 billion. Second on the list was Berkshire Hathaway CEO and Gates pal Warren Buffett with $45 billion. Rounding out the top three was Oracle CEO Larry Ellison with $27 billion.

Tied at No. 11 on the list were Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin with net worths of $15 billion. They were followed by Dell CEO Michael Dell (No. 15; $14 billion), Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (No. 16; $13.1 billion), Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen (No. 17; $ 12.7 billion), and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (No. 18; $12.6 billion).

The intrigue comes much lower on the list, where Zuckerberg, who didn't even qualify as a billionaire last year, ranked higher than Jobs, who founded Apple some eight years before Zuckerberg was even born. Ranked at No. 35, Zuckerberg ($6.9 billion) got a boost last year from a $200 million infusion of cash in his social-networking titan. Despite Apple recently passing Microsoft in valuation, the majority of Jobs' (No. 42; $6.1 billion) net worth comes from his shares in Disney, which bought his Pixar animation studio in 2006 for $7.4 billion.

Following in tech's tradition of philanthropy, Zuckerberg is expected to announce a $100 million donation to the Newark, N.J., school district during an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show Friday.

Elsewhere in the top 100 were eBay founder Pierre Omidyar (No. 47; $5.5 billion), Google CEO Eric Schmidt (No. 48; $5.4 billion), EchoStar CEO Charles Ergen (No. 51; $5.2 billion), and Intel co-founder Gordon Moore (No. 88; $3.5 billion).

Correction at 7:20 a.m. PDT: The worth of Pierre Omidyar has been fixed.