Investors Want Bill Gates Gone?

A rumour out of the USA has it that Bill Gates is in the firing line by three of Microsoft’s top investors who want him replaced as chairman of the company. The yet-to-be-named investors are said to have just over five percent of the company’s shares and are claimed to be worried about Gate’s influence over the company in that he has too much say for a person who owns 4.5 percent of the Seattle-based software giant.

By Mike Wheeler

A rumour out of the USA has it that Bill Gates is in the firing line by three of Microsoft’s top investors who want him replaced as chairman of the company.

The yet-to-be-named investors are said to have just over five percent of the company’s shares and are claimed to be worried about Gate’s influence over the company in that he has too much say for a person who owns 4.5 percent of the Seattle-based software giant.

Gates, who founded the company with Paul Allen in 1975, left the running of Microsoft to the recently retired Steve Ballmer back in 2008, but some investors still believe he has too much say in the direction the company has been headed.

Some believe the company suffered under Ballmer’s stewardship with sales of the Surface series of tablets not being as high as people had hoped, and the much vaunted Windows 8 proving to have too many gliches.

Also, it appears the investors are worried that Gates will have too much say in the appointment of the new CEO, and it will be more of the same instead of trying to develop new strategies and ideas that will take the company forward.

Whether these three investors will have enough influence to push Gates aside is doubtful, however it might not matter. Gates is selling about 75-80 million of his shares every year to help fund his charitable foundation he set up with his wife Melinda. At the current rate, by 2018 he would have divested himself of his financial stake on the company and therefore his influence would be null and void.

So what sort of strategies are investors trying to encourage? According to one source they want the company to concentrate on devices such as the aforementioned tablets and peripherals, while there is also concern that its core business – software – is suffering with more people turning away from PCs and using their tablets and smartphones for their day-to-day computing needs.

Gates’ position isn’t helped that with the perception that Microsoft’s influence is on the decline, while the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google are on the rise.

Currently, the three investors do not have the numbers to push Gates out, but some believe it is only a matter of time before he is asked to step down from the company in the very near future.

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