Steve Ballmer passes Bill Gates to become Microsoft's largest shareholder

Steve Ballmer leaves behind Bill Gates to become Microsoft's largest shareholder

Microsoft co-founder and technology advisor, Bill Gates, is no longer the company's largest individual shareholder. Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of the company, surpassed Gates when the latter sold 4.6 million worth of shares on Wednesday.

Gates, who stepped down from the chairman position and became technology adviser to the new CEO Satya Nadella, has sold 20 million shares each quarter in the last few years. In about four years from now, Gates will have no direct ownership of Microsoft shares.

Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft back in 1980 as company’s 30th employee, and now owns 333.2 million shares, whereas Gates has about 330 million worth of shares left.

“It’s not an event in and of itself, but it is symbolic in that it speaks to what has taken place at Microsoft over the last 10 years,” Daniel Ives, a New York-based analyst at FBR Capital Markets and Co. told Bloomberg. “There’s been a passing of the guard.”

Gates owned 49% of company’s share at its first IPO in 1986. This move instantly made him a multi-millionaire, and today, he is the richest person on the planet according to Forbes magazine.