Microsoft investors sharpen axe, call for Gates' departure

2nd Oct 2013 | 15:34

Microsoft investors sharpen axe, call for Gates' departure

A swift exit for its longstanding co-founder and chairman?

Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill gates is reportedly facing pressure from several of the company's high profile investors to step down.

According to a report by Reuters, which didn't name the three investors as the discussions are private, the trio is worried that Gates wields influence disproportionate to his declining stake in the company he founded 38 years ago, which currently stands at 4.5%.

The report claims they are particularly worried of Gates' highly involved role in finding a successor to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who made a teary Dirty Dancing-inspired exit speech earlier this week.

Holding back

And not only that - it claims that the investors, who own 5% of the company, are also concerned that Gates' involvement on the board is a stumbling block to it pursuing new strategies, and that the 57 year old would hold back a new CEO from making big internal changes.

It's perhaps unsurprising that Microsoft's investors are feeling the need for change right now. Its Windows Phone mobile platform is still a huge underperformer compared to iOS and Android in terms of global market share, and the poor performance of its Surface tablets led to a $900 million writedown of unsold inventory.

Microsoft does have some good news, however. According to a report by the BBC, it's returning to CES, one of the biggest tech shows in the US, next year, after giving it a miss in 2013.

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