Microsoft's key shareholders are keen to see Bill Gates follow Steve Ballmer into retirement, according to new reports.
Reuters cites anonymous sources who claim that three of the company's 20 largest shareholders are lobbying Gates to consider retirement. It is said the three shareholders together own over 5% of Microsoft, so are by no means in the majority. By comparison, Gates himself owns 4.5%.
The investors are said to see the impending departure of CEO Steve Ballmer as an opportunity to see Gates removed and to break a long period of stagnation in the Microsoft camp. Sources have stated that said shareholders fear that the involvement of Gates has held Microsoft back from innovation and the adoption of new strategies. They also fear Gate's influence over the special committee that will hand-pick Ballmer's successor.
Finally, it is said that the shareholders are unhappy with Gates' power over Microsoft, despite spending most of his days working with his philanthropic foundation, rather than the company itself.
Rumours suggest that Ballmer will be replaced by Ford CEO Alan Mulally once he departs the company within the next 12 months.
What do you make of the above? Should Gates go? Let us know what you think.