Bill Gates no longer largest Microsoft shareholder

The big story here is that Bill Gates has been selling his Microsoft shares on a regular basis:

Gates, who started the company that revolutionized personal computing with school-friend Paul Allen in 1975, has sold 20 million shares each quarter for most of the last dozen years under a pre-set trading plan.

And now Steve Ballmer is the largest shareholder:

With his latest sales this week, Gates was finally eclipsed as Microsoft’s largest individual shareholder by the company’s other former CEO, Steve Ballmer, who retired in February, but has held on to his stock.

According to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, Gates now owns just over 330 million Microsoft shares after the sales this week. Ballmer owns just over 333 million, according to Thomson Reuters data.

If this trend keeps up (and he’s been doing this for about 12 years, so this is a true trend), Gates will have zero Microsoft shares in about 4 years. Will be interesting to see if he allows that to happen.