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60.3 F
San Diego
Thursday, May 23, 2024
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No. 21 , Michael L. Robertson



Estimated net worth: $175 million

Michael L. Robertson, 40, is CEO of San Diego-based Linspire Inc., a company that produces a license-free Linux-based operating system that gives desktop Linux users access to software programs and other tools in competition with Microsoft Windows.

Robertson has a reputation for being a champion of open, license-free systems. Among his most famous campaigns is MP3.com. The music download site that became highly profitable prompted several lawsuits to be filed on behalf of entertainment companies that didn’t want someone else selling their artists’ work.

Robertson eventually settled the lawsuits but not before building his fortune.

Money from that venture, along with others since, has made Robertson worth $175 million today. It’s enough to earn him the No. 21 spot on the Business Journal’s annual list of wealthiest residents.

The entertainment companies have not been Robertson’s only enemies in business. He also has fought with computer giant Microsoft Corp.

Before being renamed Linspire Inc., the company that Robertson runs today was named Lindows. Robertson’s legal battle with Microsoft lasted two years and ultimately ended in a settlement that included an agreement to rename his company.

Robertson graduated from UCSD in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in cognitive science. In 2002, he established the Robertson Education and Empowerment Foundation to provide an alternative source of student loans and funding for current UCSD students.

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