Top Microsoft Investors Want Bill Gates to Step Down as Chairman

Since Steve Ballmer is stepping down from his role as Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, the Redmond software giant is getting a bit of a fresh start, and depending on who takes his place, the company will get a fresh new perspective, as well. However, some feel that Ballmer's departure isn't enough; they want co-founder Bill Gates to step away, too.

Citing "people familiar with the matter," Reuters is reporting that three of the top 20 shareholders in Microsoft are collectively urging the board to encourage Gates to step down as chairman. Those three shareholders represent a 5 percent stake in the company, though it doesn't appear the board feels particularly pressured by their request.

Bill Gates

It's an interesting proposition, to say the least. Gates is an iconic figure, one that's well liked and respected in the industry. Many would even welcome his return as CEO if he chose to go that route (he won't), so the request to oust him as chairman is a tad surprising, though not shocking..

As far as the three anonymous investors are concerned, Gates serves as a potential roadblock to new strategies and policies that an incoming chief might try to implement. They don't even like Gates' role on the special committee tasked with finding a new chief to begin with.

What do you think, should Gates step down during what's considered a rebuilding period, or is his leadership and experience exactly what's needed?