Bill Gates might lose his title as largest Microsoft shareholder in 2014

A few days ago, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates was named once again as the richest man in the world by Bloomberg. According to their Billionaires Index, his net worth went up by $15.8 billion in 2013, bringing his total fortune to a whopping $78.5 billion.

Part of the reason for that increase was that shares of Microsoft's stock also went much higher in 2013. Gates owns about 4.5 percent of the company and his shares are currently worth about $13.2 billion. He has remained the largest single shareholder of Microsoft since it was founded. 

However, Gates has also been slowly selling off his stock options in Microsoft over the years. Computerworld notes that, according to filings from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, he has sold about 80 million shares per year for the past 10 years. If Gates continues to sell off his stock at that rate, he will become Microsoft's second largest shareholder, behind current CEO Steve Ballmer, sometime in mid-2014.

Ballmer announced plans to retire as the company's leader several months ago and we are still awaiting word on who will be his successor. However, Ballmer has already hinted he has no plans to divest himself of his Microsoft stock. In his final annual letter to the company's shareholders a few months ago, Ballmer said he "treasures his Microsoft stock."

Source: Computerworld | Image via Microsoft

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29 Comments

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"80 million shares per year for the past 10 years" So at 800 million shares what percentage of the company did he own when it went public?

Sonne said,
He's dumping the shares while they are still worth something

Sinking ship...? I think you're confusing Microsoft with the fruity company lol

Mr. Hand said,
Plan with what goal? He'll die of old age before even a small percentage is sold.
He's selling off shares and sinking the money into his foundation. It is being done at a defined rate.
On his death, a (relatively) small amount of his wealth will be inherited by his kids and the rest will go to his foundation.

A one off tax on multi-billionaires of $1billion could seriously help lower the national debt. Nobody needs more than $1billion to live the rest of their life in financial security.

Hardcore Til I Die said,
A one off tax on multi-billionaires of $1billion could seriously help lower the national debt.

No, it would cover a few weeks worth of interest on the $16T+ National Debt. The Government has a problem that it can't steal it way out of, sorry.

Hardcore Til I Die said,
A one off tax on multi-billionaires of $1billion could seriously help lower the national debt. Nobody needs more than $1billion to live the rest of their life in financial security.

And what would that do? we only tax people when they make money, if they already have paid taxes on their billions it won't do anything since we can't double dip

That shows a misunderstanding of finance. If you're a billionaire like Gates, that's based on a net worth from the current market value of your share in a company. It's not like a big pile of cash. Taking money out of that company to pay a tax means firing people and cutting new investments.

Mr. Hand said,
That shows a misunderstanding of finance.

You're right. I'm amazed at how little people understand the finance of their country.

Mr. XXIV,

If Gates gave $1M to every American currently below the official poverty line, that would only cover 78,500 citizens -- barely make a dent! The amount of money needed to make the American economy go 'round is massive... the amount for the entire global economy is immeasurable.

What's more astounding is how the $14T the US Government has taken as debt (both domestic and foreign). At that number, it's a debt of about $50,000 per American citizen... and Gates' net worth can only cover less than 1% of that.

recursive said,
Not a problem as long as the feds can keep printing money and it is accepted as the default global currency.

US is converting its debt into Bitcoins.

recursive said,
Not a problem as long as the feds can keep printing money and it is accepted as the default global currency.

Wow, your ignorance is astounding.

To Mr. XXIV: the debt is now 17.3 Trillions, and that 150,000 per taxpayers. Google U.S. Debt Clock.

Buddy, how about giving a million each to the low class.

I can't talk though, cause eventually I'd need to do some contributions and I could never produce that much money.

Mr.XXIV said,
Buddy, how about giving a million each to the low class.

So dedicating his life to philanthropic efforts in Africa isn't enough for you?

Mr.XXIV said,
Buddy, how about giving a million each to the low class.

I can't talk though, cause eventually I'd need to do some contributions and I could never produce that much money.


Even if he did this, most people would spend most part of it on useless stuff and be in need of money again soon after. Never give free money to someone who doesn't know how to spend it best.

Mr.XXIV said,
Buddy, how about giving a million each to the low class.

I can't talk though, cause eventually I'd need to do some contributions and I could never produce that much money.

I think he does plenty for charity actually. Considering he's under no obligation to what-so-ever

Mr.XXIV said,
Buddy, how about giving a million each to the low class.

I can't talk though, cause eventually I'd need to do some contributions and I could never produce that much money.

You DO realize what Gates has done for third world countries, low classes and charity. Right? Seriously, if he wouldn't have done that, his netto worth would be more then double. I think you should be happy with what he is doing for the world, in fact Microsoft itself does the same (and some (read: a lot) employees over there too). Go ask Google or Apple to do the same.