After almost 40 years of being the largest individual shareholder at Microsoft, Bill Gates has finally relinquished that title to the company's former CEO Steve Balmer. Following a sale of around 4.6 million of his shares, Gates now holds 330.1 million shares in the company, and is just pipped by Balmer, whose own shares amount to around 333 million, despite his retirement earlier this year.
Although the news doesn't actually mean all that much to Microsoft, it does signal the end of an era. Despite being Microsoft's co-founder, the company board has been gradually attempting to cut Gates' involvement at board room level, and they look like they'll have an even bigger win by the end of 2018, when it is expected that all of Gates' shares will have been sold as per a trading plan used to help fund the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with around 80 million of Gates' shares being sold each year.
Bill Gates is estimated to be worth around $76 billion, making him the richest individual in the world, and he has already donated almost $30 billion to charity.