Rumor: Three top Microsoft investors want Bill Gates to resign as chairman

Bill Gates has not been a part of Microsoft's day-to-day activities for some time, but the co-founder of the company still wields a great deal of influence as chairman. That's apparently too much power for three large investors in Microsoft who are rumored to be pressuring the rest of the company's board of directors to ask Gates to step down as chairman.

According to Reuters, the three investors hold a combined five percent of the company's stock. The story, which cites unnamed sources, claims that the unidentified trio feel Gates could block any new ideas and strategies that could be suggested by Microsoft's next chief executive officer. Microsoft is currently searching for a new CEO, as its current leader Steve Ballmer announced plans more than a month ago to retire from the company within a year.

The story suggests the board will not cave into the demands of the three investors, so this move may be more symbolic than anything else. Gates has concentrated mostly on his charitable work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation since 2008, although he still spends a day or two a month working at Microsoft. His personal stock holdings in the company have also diminished over the years. He sells about 80 million shares in Microsoft each year, which would leave him with no ownership at all by 2018.

Source: Reuters | Image via Microsoft

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63 Comments

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It really doesn't matter who owns what and how much. Its HIS company, not theirs. He can stay as long as he wants. If he thinks it a bad idea to do something, he has a right to block it.

So combined they own 5% of MS.. probably about the same amount as Bill's housekeeper Can't imagine why the rest of the board doesn't give a hoot.

Ryoken said,
So combined they own 5% of MS.. probably about the same amount as Bill's housekeeper Can't imagine why the rest of the board doesn't give a hoot.

No. That's a similar amount of shares as Bill Gates himself hold in the company nowadays.

Bill just wanders if this report he heard from these 3 investors came under windows xp?

Cant remove a decent human being, and its not like he blocks anything anyway, pff fatcats with money = turds!

>which cites unnamed sources, claims that the unidentified trio feel Gates could block any new ideas and strategies that could be suggested by Microsoft's next chief executive officer.

Such as selling bing, xbox and going fully enterprise and thus raising stock value for a short term allowing these idiots to sell their shares with a profit? Cash out and destroy a company; that's what they want.

While I agree with everyone here, maybe rebooting Microsoft would be a good idea. Balmer and Steve gone, bring in fresh faces with fresh ideas(with a fresh UI). Just throwing this out there. There will be a day when Bill needs to "completely" retire. A sad day, but he is human.

Part of that "rebooting" process should be to get rid of programs that have hurt Microsoft and continue to do so. The PC form factor and its associated Operating System shall remain nameless.

activist investors can go to hell. they want to come in, dump all long investments just to prop up the stock, milk the short term earnings, then cash out when they've completely destroyed the future of the company just so their customers can buy benzes.

Always funny to see MS fans around here act like if investors would not be important for a company. Ms should listen closely to its investors. Specially when they combined own 5% of the company which is a lot despite what fans might think.

LaP said,
Always funny to see MS fans around here act like if investors would not be important for a company. Ms should listen closely to its investors. Specially when they combined own 5% of the company which is a lot despite what fans might think.

like Apple listened and kicked Jobs out and went into situation their shares are just 3$ and bring him back.

nitins60 said,

like Apple listened and kicked Jobs out and went into situation their shares are just 3$ and bring him back.

Gates will never be back.

Raa said,
At first, I thought that's what the article was going to say!

Actually this is what the original Reuter implies.

Lets see:
Failure to see the coming mobile smartphone wave
Failed to see ad/Search market
Failed in web services: Windows Live properties. Hailstorm
Lots of engineering failures with lots of poor code written resulting in vulnerabilities and crappy releases
Biggest failure Vista - I rest my case.
Didn't realize the importance of the Internet until it became mainstream, didn't even mention it in his the road ahead and he calls himself a visionary.

Seriously, Bill Gates is doing a lot great work now, I think he truly belongs where he is now.

Mr. Dee said,
Lets see:
Failure to see the coming mobile smartphone wave
Failed to see ad/Search market
Failed in web services: Windows Live properties. Hailstorm
Lots of engineering failures with lots of poor code written resulting in vulnerabilities and crappy releases
Biggest failure Vista - I rest my case.
Didn't realize the importance of the Internet until it became mainstream, didn't even mention it in his the road ahead and he calls himself a visionary.

Seriously, Bill Gates is doing a lot great work now, I think he truly belongs where he is now.


Microsoft created smartphones well before anyone else, Windows Mobile was unfortunately years before its time and stagnated because of this.

Being first doesn't say much. Apple or Microsoft wasn't first with the GUI, that was XEROX. Apple pioneered the GUI with the Macintosh, Microsoft didn't get it right until 1990 with Windows 3.0.

Microsoft first Tablet effort dates back to 1992 with Pen Computing for Windows subsequently came the Tablet PC in the early 2000's but Tablets didn't seem to make much sense until Apple entered the market, same case with smartphones.

So this non-sense about being first is only that. Being first with a flop is not really interesting, its about how you make something better. Same with the iPod, it wasn't the first MP3 player, but Apple sure did a great job by defining what an MP3 player should be.

Still doesn't mean they failed to see the coming mobile smartphone wave, they had a powerful and popular smartphone that many in the tech/corporate world used, including me.

I agree about Apple, they made theirs appeal to the general market and arguably better with a vast ecosystem, but saying that Microsoft failed to see it coming is nothing but a load of rubbish.

Hahahah lolz ... 'the three investors hold a combined five percent of the company's stock' ... I thought they would own like over 50% of the company ...

I think Gates himself owns around 10% or more.

MDboyz said,
Hahahah lolz ... 'the three investors hold a combined five percent of the company's stock' ... I thought they would own like over 50% of the company ...

I think Gates himself owns around 10% or more.


Gates own 4.5% of MS, biggest single shareholder.

Nashy said,
Yeah, the chairman has no involvement in a corporation......

Yea, The Queen of Australia has no involvement in the running of the country.

bits said,

Yea, The Queen of Australia has no involvement in the running of the country.


Who is the Queen of Australia?

Nashy said,
The Queen is our head of state, and approves Governer Generals to act on her behalf. Try again.

There is no such thing as the Queen of Australia, only the Queen of the United Kingdom, or the Queen of the Commonwealth. Try again.

I didn't say "Queen of Australia". I said "head of state". The Queen is Australia's head of state. That's fact.

She approves Australia's Governer General, who is her representative in this country.

I wasn't going to pickup on the fact that the above poster said "Queen of Australia", because it's blatantly obvious who the poster is talking about.

Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a federal division of powers.

It uses a parliamentary system of government with Queen Elizabeth II at its apex as the Queen of Australia, a role that is distinct from her position as monarch of the other Commonwealth realms.

Might want to check your facts first dude.....took 5 seconds for me too prove you wrong lol

Nashy said,

I wasn't going to pickup on the fact that the above poster said "Queen of Australia", because it's blatantly obvious who the poster is talking about.

That's who I was referring to in my post sarcastically when you swooped in with your comment.

Never mind, I think we're all on the same page now.

nekrosoft13 said,
thats why we have this disaster called windows 8 now.
Can't speak for anyone but myself, but WIN8 definitely beats WIN7 in performance and smoothness. It is a solid evolution of WIN7 in most any way you look at it and anything you would not like to see or use gets out of the way quite nicely.

But then since you are obviously not using WIN8 and are just trolling without having a clue what you are trolling about that should reflect more on your intellect than anything else..

paulheu said,
Can't speak for anyone but myself, but WIN8 definitely beats WIN7 in performance and smoothness. It is a solid evolution of WIN7 in most any way you look at it and anything you would not like to see or use gets out of the way quite nicely.
Some people are just resistant to change and fight it at every chace. Even when newer is better, they still resist. We should just let them be.

In your opinion mate. Don't forget that, and don't preach for all. You're in the overwhelming minority when it comes to Windows 8.

Nashy said,
In your opinion mate. Don't forget that, and don't preach for all. You're in the overwhelming minority when it comes to Windows 8.
I think you'll find that you are the minority on hating Windows 8. Even my grandmother said, without my prompting at all: "I don't get what all the fuss is about. You click one button and you're back to where you used to be."

Remember that a tech-enthusiast site like Neowin or The Verge is not AT ALL representative of the global market as a whole.

Any self-proclaimed IT "enthusiast" or "professional" has absolutely no excuse for bashing Windows 8. Underneath the polarising "love it or hate it" metro UI sits an operating system that is undeniably better than Windows 7 in many ways.

The very fact that these people are "enthusiasts and professionals" should mean they are best suited to avoid metro should they so desire through many available options for doing so.

Continuing to bash the superior OS that is Windows 8 is just illogical and says more about the person doing the bashing, than it does about the OS.

I'm happy for your grandmother. She's doing better than nearly all of the older people in my family.

Neowin isn't great for judging, but market share, and the high number of rollbacks to Windows 7 is.

Nashy said,
I'm happy for your grandmother. She's doing better than nearly all of the older people in my family.

Neowin isn't great for judging, but market share, and the high number of rollbacks to Windows 7 is.

Got any source figures for that claim on the rollbacks?

Also going purely on September's Steam survey (which I think is a good indication of gamers preferences), Windows 8 now accounts for almost 15.8% of computers. That's not at all bad considering we're only a year in, and the operating system is such a massive departure from previous versions. In fact, the 64-bit version of Windows 8 64-bit is in 2nd place on the Steam rankings, only Windows 7 64-bit surpasses it.

Source: http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

Edited by Ryster, Oct 2 2013, 2:17pm :

Gamers make up the entire world? As if steam plays a real part in this at all.

Use Google my friend. The same way I found them. Don't be lazy.

Nashy: grow up, my friend. "Don't be lazy," don't be absurd.

Ryster even said

(which I think is a good indication of gamers preferences)

While trying to make the point that Windows 8 isn't a sales disaster for MS? Using the Steam stats is just clutching at straws.

We all have access to the same information. Do some work to find it yourself.

If it's not fake, I want to know why these people would invest in MS if they don't like the founder, chairman, or direction of the company?

What were they investing in?

Avatar Roku said,
If it's not fake, I want to know why these people would invest in MS if they don't like the founder, chairman, or direction of the company?

What were they investing in?


Microsoft was in a much different position only five years ago. I think the latest few years have brought on different market dynamics where I can see how there is different opinions on how to best tackle it. These investors haven't invested in Microsoft only since the past couple of years.

Northgrove said,

Microsoft was in a much different position only five years ago. I think the latest few years have brought on different market dynamics where I can see how there is different opinions on how to best tackle it. These investors haven't invested in Microsoft only since the past couple of years.

5 years ago? Yeah much worse position:
So they want a return to the Vista/longhorn era? They miss Windows Live and Zune. They want to pretend that iPad and Android never happened.

This idea that you can ignore the consumer space and the BYOD phenomenon, BlackBerry tried that. How is BlackBerry doing?

Relativity_17 said,
Bill's too classy to take any of this seriously. He's also too busy being an all-round decent human being.

Unlike these three people

I mean seriously, why would they think owning a mere 5% of the company gives them any credibility to make statements such as this? Ridiculous.