Steve Ballmer Now Owns More Microsoft Stock Than Bill Gates

Bill Gates sold 4.6 million Microsoft shares recently, an SEC filing released today indicates. That action lowered his holdings to 330,141,164 shares in the company. Former CEO Steve Ballmer owns 333,252,990 shares.

The sale therefore dipping Gates’ holdings under those of Ballmer, the second CEO of the company. This is not a surprise. As ComputerWorld’s Gregg Keizer wrote in January:

At his 10-year pace of selling stock, Gates will hand over the shareholding crown to Ballmer before mid-2014. Gates will have exhausted his holdings by September 2018 unless he stops or slows his selling.

The handing off of the baton is therefore right on schedule.

What will be interesting to watch will be how quickly Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, can accumulate stock in the company. Various performance bands that comprise a large portion of his compensation could net him nearly nine-figure equity in his first half decade in charge, in addition to his nearly $20 million yearly salary, of which a large portion is shares.

When it comes to any of these three, as I wrote before, they will be “buying all the beers for the next few years.”