Donald Trump took a shot at Mike Bloomberg, challenging the foundation of his multi-billion dollar empire and even his net worth.
Is Bloomberg really worth $36.5 billion as estimated by Forbes?
“I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it,” Trump told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview on Monday.
As for the source of that wealth, the Bloomberg Terminal is still ubiquitous on every trading desk on Wall Street — and a total money machine.
But Trump says the Terminal is just begging to be displaced.
“I mean if somebody came in… likely… and comes up with a better machine than him, people stop using it,” Trump said. “I don’t even know why other companies haven’t come up with a better machine. I mean why? It’s so simple. They come up with such a competitive world, but for some reason they haven’t come up with a machine.”
Bloomberg does need to watch his back.
The Terminal costs more than $20,000 a year to license. Investors can get thousands of stats on stocks and bonds and commodities — just about anything that can be traded — though some say that traders use just a fraction of what’s available. One of the most popular functions is the Terminal’s internal messaging platform, which traders use to share information.
Competing products from Thomson Reuters and others have yet to catch on. Another product, from Dow Jones and several big banks, including Goldman Sachs, have launched a competing messaging product called Symphony.
One reason competitors haven’t succeeded: Many on Wall Street still consider the Bloomberg Terminal indispensable, and even a status symbol. There are more than 300,000 terminals installed worldwide, the main driver of the company’s estimated $9 billion in revenue.
Trump’s comments came in response to reports that Bloomberg was considering a presidential bid, triggered in part by Trump’s front-runner status.
The fact that Trump’s success seemed to encourage Bloomberg wasn’t lost on the Republican frontrunner: “You know, we used to be friends,” Trump said. “I guess we’re not friends anymore.”
A representative from Bloomberg declined to comment for this story.