The trio of stockholders are said to own approximately 5% of the software giant and are concerned about Gates and his role in the process that's currently taking place to find a successor for out-going CEO Steve Ballmer.
Microsoft has stagnated under the leadership of Ballmer as CEO and Gates as Chairman, they charge. The company's stock has remained virtually unchanged for the last decade.
The Redmond, Washington-based firm has undergone significant upheaval in the last few months, first with the announcement that Ballmer would be leaving, news that was quickly followed up by word of an $8 billion acquisition of Nokia.
If the movement to dump Gates gains traction with the company's Board of Directors, the richest man in the United States could conceivably be on his way out of the company he helped found.
Gates personally owns about 4.5% of the stock in Microsoft, making him the largest single shareholder. However, that ownership stake is set to shrink dramatically in the coming years, according to Reuters:
Gates, who owned 49 percent of Microsoft before it went public in 1986, sells about 80 million Microsoft shares a year under a pre-set plan, which if continued would leave him with no financial stake in the company by 2018.
Gates lowered his profile at Microsoft after he handed the CEO role to Ballmer in 2000, giving up his day-to-day work there in 2008 to focus on the $38 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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