Steve Ballmer now has more shares in Microsoft than Bill Gates

The man who built Microsoft is no longer its largest shareholder. After selling off 4.6 million shares on April 30th, Bill Gates is now positioned behind former CEO Steve Ballmer as the company’s largest stakeholder. Ballmer owns 333.2 million shares of Microsoft, a massive stockpile acquired during his 33-year tenure in Redmond. Gates, on the other hand, now has 330.1 million shares. The co-founder has been regularly offloading his ownership in the company over the years.

Steve Ballmer, the former chief executive officer of Microsoft (MSFT) Corp., became the company’s biggest individual shareholder yesterday after Bill Gates sold 4.6 million shares of the world’s largest software maker. The 58-year-old, who retired Feb. 4 after serving 33 years at the Redmond, Washington-based company, owns 333.2 million shares of Microsoft, 3.1 million more than Gates. Ballmer has collected about $3.4 billion selling shares since the company’s 1986 initial public offering, and has a net worth of $18.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. “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 & Co., said by phone. “There’s been a passing of the guard.”

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