Top Microsoft Investors Want to Boot Bill Gates

Small group doesn't want him picking the next CEO

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 2, 2013 7:31 AM CDT

(Newser) – Three of Microsoft's top 20 investors are calling for the head of Mr. Microsoft himself. It's been a long time since Gates actively ran the company, but he's still chairman of the board, and is on the special committee that will select a new CEO. The board has already said that the new CEO will be following through on Steve Ballmer's device-based strategy, and the investors don't think he or she should have to, Reuters reports.

Collectively, the three agitators control 5% of Microsoft's stock. That's not enough to force the software giant to act—Gates alone owns 4.5%, as the company's largest single shareholder. But it's the first significant push against the company's founder, and it could gain momentum. "This is long overdue," said the portfolio manager at one shareholder. "Replacing the old guard with some fresh eyes can provide the oxygen needed." Others disagree. "The company has been missing a technology visionary," another analyst says. "Bill would fit the bill."

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, talks at the Clinton Global Initiative, Sept. 24, 2013 in New York.
Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, talks at the Clinton Global Initiative, Sept. 24, 2013 in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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