Feeds

Who's top Microsoft shareholder? Uh oh, it's STEVE BALLMER

Sweaty ex-CEO now owns more shares than Bill Gates

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

When former Microsoft CEO and current board member Steve Ballmer said he was "very interested" in the company's future, he wasn't kidding. As of Wednesday, Ballmer became Redmond's largest individual shareholder, with a stake even greater than that of founder Bill Gates.

The switcheroo wasn't because Ballmer acquired new shares, but because Gates sold some of his. According to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, Gates has unloaded 4,600,000 shares, worth a total of around $185.6m at the time they sold.

That leaves the world's perennially richest man with 330,141,164 shares of Microsoft stock, a hoard worth $13.1bn as of Friday's closing bell on Wall Street.

Ballmer, on the other hand, has been hanging onto his shares for the last few years. SEC records show that the last time he sold any was in 2010, a transaction that left him with 333,252,990 shares, which would have been worth $13.2bn at Friday's price.

Neither man holds the largest single stake in the company. That honor goes to investment fund the Vanguard group, with 372,597,444 shares now valued at $14.8bn. The State Street Corporation also owned 343,007,487 shares ($13.6bn) as of December 31, Morningstar reports. But Ballmer and then Gates are next on the list.

And with 3.1 million more Microsoft shares in his portfolio than Gates, for the first time Ballmer technically has more influence as a shareholder of the company than does Gates – although the advantage is slight, to say the least. While Gates was once chairman of Microsoft's board, he ceded that role to Microsoft board member and former Symantec CEO John Thompson in February, putting himself on equal footing with Ballmer in the boardroom.

But Gates now has a more hands-on role at Microsoft than Ballmer does, having taken a new position at the company as a "technology adviser" to freshly minted CEO Satya Nadella.

Ballmer, by comparison, claims to no longer have any direct involvement with Redmond's operations. In March, he told a group of students at Oxford University's Saïd Business School, "As a board member, you're a board member. You govern; you don't lead. I speak about our company today historically because I'm a former CEO."

With a personal stake in the company worth approximately 4 per cent of its value, however, you can bet Ballmer will continue to follow Microsoft's progress with a keen eye. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.