Top investors push Microsoft board to boot chairman Bill Gates

“Three of the top 20 investors in Microsoft Corp are lobbying the board to press for Bill Gates to step down as chairman of the software company he co-founded 38 years ago, according to people familiar with matter,” Nadia Damouni and Bill Rigby report for Reuters. “While Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has been under pressure for years to improve the company’s performance and share price, this appears to be the first time that major shareholders are taking aim at Gates, who remains one of the most respected and influential figures in technology.”

“There is no indication that Microsoft’s board would heed the wishes of the three investors, who collectively hold more than 5 percent of the company’s stock, according to the sources. They requested the identity of the investors be kept anonymous because the discussions are private,” Damouni and Rigby report. “Gates owns about 4.5 percent of the $277 billion company and is its largest individual shareholder.”

Bill Gates
Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman (for now)
Damouni and Rigby report, “The three investors are concerned that Gates’ presence on the board effectively blocks the adoption of new strategies and would limit the power of a new chief executive to make substantial changes. In particular, they point to Gates’ role on the special committee searching for Ballmer’s successor. They are also worried that Gates – who spends most of his time on his philanthropic foundation – wields power out of proportion to his declining shareholding. Gates, who owned 49 percent of Microsoft before it went public in 1986, sells about 80 million Microsoft shares a year under a pre-set plan, which if continued would leave him with no financial stake in the company by 2018.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Boom! Behold the devastation Steve Jobs hath wrought!

What I can’t figure out is why he’s even trying? He knows he can’t win.Bill Gates on Steve Jobs’ return to Apple to become the company’s CEO, June 1998

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “epd” for the heads up.]


  1. I started to have a bit of respect for Gates regarding his humanitarian efforts then I realised what his foundation does in comparison to what it could do with the ridiculous amount of money he has and all respect was lost

    1. The Gates Foundation gets governments (i.e. YOUR taxes) to pay money to drug companies then brags about how much THEY pay out.

      Its about as generous as McDonalds placing collection boxes in their restaurants where YOU pay for their hostels, then name the hostels after themselves.

      I like the work they both do, but I would prefer to see Bill Gates’ net worth go down accordingly, not ours.

      It would be admirable if we never heard about it (left vs right hands) and no one claimed it off their taxes.

      1. Yeah I know thats is what I mean, all respect lost. The same pretty much applies to all “charity” organisations. CEOs taking home well over $1M/y when the only source of revenue are donations from people thinking they are helping someone in need is something well beyond fkd up

  2. Tim Cook must be laughing manically in proxy for SJ and for his own delight. TC catches a lot of grief (undeserved IMO) and yet Apple continues to steam-roll the tech bad guys.

  3. Makes sense. He obviously does not have a vision of computing (never did) and Microsoft is hobbled with him as chairmen.

    If their competitors are lucky he’ll be the chairman until the day he dies.

  4. If Bill Gates as 4.5% stock, and the 3 of the top 20 stock holders, minus Bill Gates has 5%, it’s pretty easy to tell who these guys are. They have to be stopped!!!. they will ruin everything. 🙂

  5. posted this the other day under the Msft ctrl alt delete story:

    (applies even more here)
    we blame Ballmer for a lot (and he deserves it!)


    Bill Gates is still the Chairman of the Board,

    I can safely bet every major decision like Surface and Win 8 (use one OS for desktop and mobile to protect the Windows Desktop Cash Cow) had Gates Approval, in fact he might have demanded those moves..

    … which turned out to be fiascos,
    I doubt that Ballmer had the clout to create Win 8 by himself or didn’t clear it with Gates. (as Chairman).

    I believe that a lot of the msft disasters can also be partly placed on Gates door (like misreading mobile, iPhone, tablets etc). Note even in quite recent interviews he kept insisting on the primacy of the keyboard for tablets and that tablets should be equipped for ‘work’ which requires desktop Office etc.

    Ballmer has been vilified as an idiot yet Gates his partner (and as Chairman and in personal relationship sort of his Superior) gets off scot free. Once again I don’t think when they met privately Ballmer wouldn’t have had intense discussions about the future directions of Msft Windows, mobile etc or that he had the balls to go alone against Gates advice.

    BUT the general press STILL presents Gates as some sort of tech genius Seer like a smarter Steve Jobs. This was hold over from 20 years ago (when to my laughter) Gates was invited to numerous high brow tech conferences to expound on tech in the future and the like , he was even invited to write huge thick books on his tech ‘visions’. The press gives no of the blame of msft missteps (to put it politely) on Gates door.

    Don’t get me wrong, Gates is a smart dude but his brilliance is as a businessman – leveraging deals, negotiating, attacking markets – not tech innovation. Even the original MS DOS (Q Dos owned by Seattle Computer) was a product he bought and improved and Windows of course was a Mac rip off.

    he was never a ‘visionary ‘ tech guy like the general press likes to paint him. Every msft product was an attack on a successful (money making) product made by another company , Windows/mac, Zune/iPod Xbox/Playstation, Bing/Google, Kinect/Wii — he never took risks to PUSH the BOUNDARIES (just “this guy is making money on this, we can too ” )

    to recap I think that the criticisms for recent Msft failures have tarred Ballmer but Gates who should surely get some of the blame escapes reputation intact. As a Steve Jobs fan , a person who I think is the true apex tech visionary of my generation, I believe it’s time to take Gates off the same platform as Jobs.

    Gates is no tech genius visionary


    1. Indeed, Davewrite, I think Gates is overrated on technology ability.

      Peter Drucker, the management guru wrote back about 1950 or so “When innovating, go with the market response, not with your preconceived ideas.” One of Gates’ failings was to confuse the “buyer” of his product with his “user” or customer as Drucker would call him.

      Satisfying a corporate buyer or IT segment is not the same as satisfying the end user.

      Gates’ lawyer father is the one who taught Bill how to negotiate & leverage favorable deals that were the basis for the enormous position that DOS and later Windows achieved.

  6. Gates, who remains one of the most respected and influential figures in technology

    Respected? NO, not in my world. Reviled? YES.

    Influential? Sadly so, until the day The Dark Age Of Computing ends. And it sounds like that day is swiftly approaching. I could not be happier! 😀

  7. “… they point to Gates’ role on the special committee searching for Ballmer’s successor.”

    I find it hard to believe that Ballmer’s successor hasn’t already been found and signed up for the job, but will need to fulfil existing obligations first. Publicly, Microsoft’s line is that they will take 12 months, but I reckon that it’s already been sorted and the new CEO will be in place before the year is over.

    As for Gates being shown the door too – it’s another exclusive story from Reuters, so it’s unlikely to have any substance. Reuters exclusive = fiction.

    1. Misinformation. Apple had 1.5 billion in the bank but was losing money each quarter and that couldn’t go on. There was a deal between Jobs and Balmer in which MS was let off some very big and long-running patent disputes and MS agreed to support Apple with a small (150m) but meaningful (to the stock market) investment, plus most importantly 5 years of Office for Mac. Jobs agreed to using IE exclusively for 5 years too. So it was win-win and a turning point, but no way did Gates “rescue” Apple.

      1. It was beyond clever, it was brilliant.

        Steve knew Apple could not continue to pay the legal fees to fight the patent war, and he desperately needed to reset Apple. Saying the war was over, that Apple was no longer trying to beat Microsoft meant everything.

        It allowed everyone in Apple along with customers and investors to allow Apple to take a different path, and, you know, think differently. It reset Apple and allowed Apple to focus on the consumer market and leave enterprise to Microsoft, who smuggly thought they owned it. Steve knew all they owned was the PC market, that there were other iterations of technology where Apple could dominate.

        1. You are completely correct Chaz. At the time I was horrified to see Bill’s face larger than life come up on that screen, wanted to just throw up. But in hindsight I must admit it was one of the most brilliant Chess moves in business history.

    2. Thanks for regurgitating the same misinformation every uninformed idiot out there with a rationalization bias to support mistakenly believes. Apple had 1.5 BILLION in the bank. All Microsoft did is ensure Office would continue to be supported on the Mac for 5 years and invested $150 million in non-viting stock for which they reaped a profit on later.

      If they hadn’t sold the stock though it would have been worth billions and billions today. Another poor Gates/Ballmer move. And there are so many….

  8. Besides MSDOS ( we know how that was created ), Windows ( we know how that was created ), and Office ( hmmm maybe actual innovation ) err what exactly did he hands on created that fundamentally changed how we work and play? Not the PC because Apple was actually there right in the trenches hardware and OS.

    1. The “innovation” in Office was bundling and forced marketing, not the technology. MS copied, then destroyed, Lotus and WordPerfect. (They’re both still around, but are only bit players. And, yeah, Lotus did the same to VisiCalc before.)

  9. They would be idiots to boot Bill. Love him or hate him, that’s his baby. He wants what’s beat for it more than anyone. If he wants to leave on his own, fine. But booting him would be buffoonery of the highest order.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.