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Steve Ballmer passes Bill Gates as Microsoft's largest shareholder

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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 and using a large percentage of those earnings to back philanthropic efforts.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been Gates' primary focus since leaving the role of Microsoft CEO and chairman. But he'll now be spending more time back at the company as an advisor and to lend his support to current boss Satya Nadella. As for Ballmer, he gave a farewell speech that was equal parts passionate and memorable back in September. Ballmer still sits on Microsoft's board, and he'll likely hold onto the top shareholder position for the foreseeable future. "I cherish my Microsoft ownership, and look forward to continuing as one of Microsoft’s largest owners," he said in August. Steve Ballmer has a net worth of $18.9 billion.