Steve Ballmer has nearly gone – already forced out by competitors and harsh expectations of Microsoft, his time has come. Microsoft is now in the transition of finding a new CEO, while some have speculated that Stephen Elop may take the reigns – others hope that Bill Gates may return to chair Microsoft back to former glory. Bill Gates is far from ‘poor’ – his charity work is slowly fiddling his money away, but for a good cause. But now it seems shareholders are targeting Gates himself, even though he is one of the most influential figures in the firm for the next head to roll.
Three investors have expressed their wishes for ex-CEO and Chairman, Bill Gates, to be removed from the firm entirely. Gates currently holds 4.5% shares in Microsoft, $277 billion, and is their largest shareholder.
The investors, who wish to remain anonymous, have said Gates influence is counter productive when adopting new strategies and hiring a CEO – in others words, he is too big for his boots. Investors are worried that Gates’ position on the committee appointing the new CEO, will cause unnecessary concern for Microsoft.
Gates only has a 4.5% share in Microsoft, but wields more power than anyone else on the board. Gates now sells 80 million of his shares every year, in effort to spread and ween off his Microsoft wealth.
Kim Caughey Forrest, senior analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group said:
“I’ve thought that the company has been missing a technology visionary,” she said. “Bill (Gates) would fit the bill.”
Microsoft is still one of the biggest technology companies in the industry, but their core services have faltered under the pressure from tablets and smartphones. Apple, Samsung and Google have heavily invested into the future of touch – Microsoft has followed suit with Windows 8, but it was too late.Gates has said he has no plans to return to Microsoft and is focused on philanthropic work.
Microsoft shares have essentially stayed static for the past decade, since Bill Gates’ departure. Microsoft has failed to impress and investors want answers. If Gates were to leave, it would cause chaos for Microsoft – even further disarray. Microsoft could do with a visionary like Gates, investors need to stop fear mongering and concentrate on the future.
Under Gates, Microsoft excelled – the production of Windows XP, XBOX and its foray of online services were all overseen by the co-founder. Microsoft need a steady hand, it needs to be focused, Microsoft needs to develop.
Would you see Gates go?