Some shareholders see Gates as a roadblock of innovation, according to a Reuters report.
Today, Reuters disclosed that three out of the twenty biggest Microsoft investors want Bill Gates to relinquish his role as the chairman of the board.
These investors feel that Gates is holding the organization back in terms of innovation, and that his role on the board would limit any substantial changes a new CEO would want to make.
Microsoft has been playing catch up for a long time now in the mobile world, and while Windows Phone is finally seeing dividends, it is a country mile behind the likes of iOS and Android. It holds a paltry 4 percent global market share, and Microsoft has been trying hard, and failing, to get more content creators on board.
Internally, Microsoft is undergoing a major re-organization that sees it align itself as a devices and services organization. It is trying to stay relevant in a market that is constantly evolving. This year has been one of change for Microsoft, as high-level executives like Steven Sinofsky, who used to head the Windows division, left soon after announcing Windows 8. Last month, it was revealed that long-time CEO Steve Ballmer would be resigning in the next 12 months and that a successor is being sought after.
One of the shareholder dissidents is likely to be ValueAct, who garnered a seat at the Microsoft board after a lengthy battle. Since then, it has been clamoring for far-reaching changes. It holds a 0.8 percent stake in Microsoft, which it bought for $2 billion last year, and while that may be a lot, Gates and Ballmer own a combined stake of 8.5 percent. As such, even if there is a sense of disquiet, the reality is that Gates cannot leave unless he wants to.