Bill Gates, former Microsoft CEO and chairman, will not directly own the company he co-founded by mid-2018, if he continues his share sales. Gates, co-founder of Microsoft along with Paul Allen, has sold 2 crore shares each quarter for 12 years under a pre-decided plan. Should it go on like this, he will stop having direct ownership of Microsoft shares four years from now.
This week, Gates has been eclipsed as Microsoft's largest individual shareholder by Steve Ballmer, retired ex-CEO. Gates now owns just 33 crore shares after the last sale while Ballmer owns over 33 crore. That gives both around 4% each of the total shares, making them the biggest individual shareholders. Gates owned 49% of Microsoft at its IPO in 1986, which made him an instant billionnaire. He soon became the world's richest person, and keeps the title with $ 77 billion today. Gates handed over the CEO's role to Ballmer in 2000, and retired as chairman but he is till on the company board and advises the new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
For the past six years, he has been focusing on charitable activities through his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, largely finnaced by his Microsoft fortune. The Foundation works to help evolve better public health solutions globally especially for AIDS, population control etc.