According to Reuters, three of the top 20 of Microsoft's investors – who collectively hold about five percent of the company's stock, are looking to force company co-founder Bill Gates out of the company and into retirement. Last week Microsoft co-founder Steve Ballmer left the company, stepping down as its CEO.
Now top Microsoft investors want Bill Gates step down as chairman, according to what people familiar with the matter are telling Reuters. Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975 and is currently helping the company find a replacement for outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer. Gates owns around 4.5 percent of the company and is its largest individual shareholder.
"The three investors are concerned that Gates' role as chairman effectively blocks the adoption of new strategies and would limit the power of a new chief executive to make substantial changes," the Reuters report states. "In particular, they point to Gates' role on the special committee searching for Ballmer's successor."
The sources also claim that they are worried that Gates "wields power out of proportion to his declining shareholding." Gates spends most of his time on his philanthropic endeavors, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
According to the report, Gates sells about 80 million shares per year as part of a pre-set plan. If Gates continues on this plan, he would hold no interest in the company by 2018.