Top 5 Microsoft Shareholders (MSFT)

BY JUSTIN WALTON | Investopedia

From its humble beginnings as a software development company for the burgeoning personal computer industry in 1975 to one of the most powerful and profitable worldwide corporations, Microsoft is one of the greatest corporate success stories of all time. The company released its FY19 Q1 earnings on October 24, 2018, and reported $29.1 billion in revenue, a 15.8% increase from the $24.5 billion reported the previous year.

Microsoft Ownership

The largest shareholders of the company include both current executives and former company leaders. 

Bill Gates has sold or given away much of his ownership in Microsoft; however, he still owns 330 million shares, according to British Telecom.

Steve Ballmer

Former Microsoft owner CEO Steve Ballmer was not one of the original founders of Microsoft, but he is the largest shareholder with over 300 million shares. Ballmer’s holdings date back to his early compensation package when he was the company’s 30th employee hired as a business manager by Bill Gates. 

On his first day on the job, Ballmer received an equity stake in Microsoft. When Microsoft incorporated in 1981, Ballmer owned 8% of the company. Ballmer was named CEO of Microsoft in January 2000 when took over the reins from Gates.

Bill Gates

Chairman and former CEO of Microsoft, Bill Gates is the headliner of several wealthiest people lists, with an approximate net worth of $94.9 billion as of October 2018, according to Forbes. Although Gates has sold or given away much of his stake in the company, Microsoft’s co-founder still owns 330 million shares, according to British Telecom.

In May of 2017, Gates donated 64 million shares of his Microsoft stock, worth $6.4 billion at the time. To date, Gates has sold $35.8 billion worth of Microsoft Stock to fund the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates and his wife Melinda began the philanthropic organization in 1997 and continue to lead its mission to improve lives in the poorest countries in the world. The private foundation focuses on health issues, such as the eradication of malaria and polio, and controlling the spread of tuberculosis and HIV. In November 2017, Gates made a $50 million donation to the Dementia Discover Fund to help fund Alzheimer’s research. 9.


  • Microsoft is one of the most profitable companies in the world.
  • The company showed an almost 16% increase in revenue in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the first quarter of 2018.
  • Notable current owners of Microsoft include Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates, Mason Morfit, Satya Nadella, and Bradford Smith.

Mason Morfit 

Mason Morfit is a former member of Microsoft’s Board of Directors. He is the youngest appointee by over a decade. Morfit’s term on the board ended on November 29, 2017, during the annual Microsoft shareholders meeting. As of November 28, 2017, Morfit owed 9.01 million shares of Microsoft held indirectly through the company ValueAct, where Morfit was named chief investment officer in May 2017. 

Satya Nadella 

Satya Nadella took over for Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft in 2014. Before taking the helm at Microsoft, Nadella was executive vice president of one of the company’s fastest-growing businesses, the Cloud and Enterprise group. Since taking over as CEO, company share prices have reached a 15-year high and projects such as the Windows 10 operating system and the Surface Book have performed well. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the current Microsoft CEO has 778,596 common shares, which is worth $100 million today. Nadella might regret selling 30% of his shares in 2018, but he also owns 2 million or so Microsoft shares of various other types.

$29.1 billion

The revenue that Microsoft reported for the first quarter of 2019; an almost 16% increase on the revenue reported for the same quarter in 2018.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith, president, and chief legal officer of Microsoft is the fourth-largest individual shareholder of the company’s stock. Before joining Microsoft in 1993, he was an associate and then partner at Covington and Burling in Washington, D.C. In addition to his position at Microsoft, Smith serves on the board of directors at Netflix and chairs several non-profit organizations. Smith owns 946,742 shares of the company, according to an April 2019 filing from the SEC.

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