Who owns Microsoft? Who is the Current CEO of Microsoft? Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington. Microsoft’s best-known software products are the Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft 365 suite of productivity applications, and the Edge web browser. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox video game consoles and the Microsoft Surface lineup of touchscreen personal computers.
Microsoft ranked No. 14 in the 2022 Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue; it was the world’s largest software maker by revenue as of 2022. It is considered one of the Big Five American information technology companies, alongside Alphabet (parent company of Google), Amazon, Apple, and Meta Platforms.
Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975, to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800. It rose to dominate the personal computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by Windows. The company’s 1986 initial public offering (IPO) and subsequent rise in its share price created three billionaires and an estimated 12,000 millionaires among Microsoft employees.
Since the 1990s, it has increasingly diversified from the operating system market and has made several corporate acquisitions, the largest being the acquisition of LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in December 2016, followed by its acquisition of Skype Technologies for $8.5 billion in May 2011.
Who owns Microsoft?
The ownership of Microsoft is not concentrated in the hands of a single individual or entity but is dispersed among a wide range of shareholders. These shareholders come from various backgrounds and encompass individual investors, institutional investors, mutual funds, pension funds, and other entities. This diverse ownership base reflects the widespread interest and confidence in Microsoft’s business prospects and its position as a global technology leader.
Top Microsoft Individual Shareholders
The top individual shareholders of Microsoft include:
Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980 and quickly became integral to the company’s executive team. He was crucial in managing Microsoft’s sales and operations, contributing significantly to its growth and expansion. Ballmer became the CEO of Microsoft in 2000, succeeding Bill Gates. During his tenure, he navigated the company through various challenges and opportunities, including the rise of mobile computing and the transformation of the software industry.
Under Ballmer’s leadership, Microsoft launched successful products such as the Xbox gaming console and the Office suite. He also played a key role in leading Microsoft’s strategic initiatives, including acquisitions such as Skype and the integration of cloud computing services into the company’s offerings.
After stepping down as CEO, Ballmer has continued to be actively involved in philanthropy and has focused on civic engagement and public education initiatives. Steve Ballmer owns 4.5% of Microsoft shares worth $102.7 billion.
Bill Gates and his childhood friend Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft in 1975. Gates played a critical role in the development and success of the company. Under his leadership, Microsoft created the MS-DOS operating system, which became the foundation for the company’s future success. Gates also spearheaded the development of Microsoft Windows, which revolutionized the personal computer industry.
Throughout his tenure at Microsoft, Gates was known for his entrepreneurial vision, business acumen, and commitment to innovation. In recent years, Gates has transitioned his focus to philanthropy through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He remains influential in the technology and global health sectors, leveraging his wealth and expertise to address pressing societal challenges.
Bill Gates owns 0.9% of Microsoft shares worth $20.5 billion. During the company’s initial public offering (IPO) in 1986, Gates owned approximately 45% of the outstanding shares. However, he has repeatedly reduced his ownership stake to support his philanthropic initiatives. Gates’ gradual divestment was done thoughtfully and strategically to ensure he had the resources to address pressing global issues through his foundation.
Top Microsoft Institutional Shareholders
The top Microsoft institutional shareholders include the following:
The Vanguard Group, Inc.
The Vanguard Group is one of the world’s largest investment management companies, known for its index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). It provides services to institutional and individual investors and holds significant stakes in numerous companies across various industries. The Vanguard Group owns 8.23% of Microsoft shares, worth $187.9 billion.
BlackRock is a global investment management corporation offering various financial products and services. It is renowned for its asset management expertise and is considered the world’s largest asset manager. BlackRock manages portfolios for institutional clients, including pension funds, endowments, and other large entities. BlackRock, Inc., owns 4.55% of Microsoft shares, worth $103.9 billion.
State Street Corporation
State Street Corporation is a leading financial services company that specializes in investment management, custody services, and investment research. It serves institutional investors, including mutual funds, pension funds, and other asset managers. State Street is known for its prominent role in managing and safeguarding financial assets. State Street Corporation owns 3.96% of Microsoft shares, worth $90.5 billion.
Fidelity Investments is a multinational financial services corporation that provides asset management, brokerage services, retirement plans, and other investment-related products. It offers individual and institutional clients a broad range of investment options, including mutual funds, retirement plans, and brokerage accounts. Fidelity Investments owns 2.36% of Microsoft shares, worth $53.8 billion
Geode Capital Management, LLC
Geode Capital Management, LLC, is an institutional investment management firm based in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It was founded in 2001 as a subsidiary of Fidelity Investments and operates as a separate entity.
Geode Capital Management primarily provides investment management services to institutional clients, such as pension funds, endowments, foundations, and other large organizations. Geode Capital Management, LLC, owns 1.92% of Microsoft shares, worth about $43.85 billion
Capital Research and Management Company
Capital Research and Management Company, commonly known as Capital Group, is an investment management firm that offers a wide range of investment services, including equity and fixed-income funds. It serves individual and institutional investors and is known for its long-term investment approach and research-driven strategies. Capital Research and Management Company owns 1.23% of Microsoft shares, worth $28.18 billion.
Founders and Early Ownership of Microsoft
Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft in 1975. When Microsoft was founded, Gates and Allen each held 50% of the company’s shares. They focused on developing software for the rapidly growing personal computer market. Their first major success came in 1980 when they secured a contract with IBM to provide the operating system for their new PC.
To meet the demands of their growing business, Gates and Allen hired employees and brought in additional shareholders. One of the key early hires was Steve Ballmer, who joined Microsoft in 1980 and eventually became the company’s CEO. Ballmer later became one of the largest individual shareholders in Microsoft.
Microsoft went public in 1986 as it began to gain prominence. This IPO played a significant role in shaping the company’s ownership structure. The IPO created a large number of new shareholders and provided an opportunity for early employees and investors to cash in their shares.
After the IPO, Gates and Allen remained the largest individual shareholders in Microsoft. Gates, in particular, held a significant portion of the company’s shares. His ownership stake made him one of the wealthiest individuals in the world and played a crucial role in Microsoft’s growth and influence in the technology industry.
Over time, Microsoft continued to expand and diversify its product offerings, including the development of the Windows operating system, Office suite, and various other software applications. These successes led to substantial increases in the company’s valuation and market capitalization.
As Microsoft grew, it established stock-based compensation programs, including employee stock options and stock grants. This allowed employees to become shareholders and benefit from the company’s success. Many early employees, including software developers and managers, accumulated significant wealth through their ownership stakes in Microsoft.
While Gates and Allen held the majority of the shares in the early years, the ownership structure became more distributed over time due to the involvement of employees, investors, and the public market. As the company continued to evolve, its ownership structure became more complex, with institutional investors and mutual funds also holding significant stakes in Microsoft.
Initial public offering (IPO) of Microsoft
Microsoft went public with its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on March 13, 1986. At the time of the IPO, Microsoft had already established itself as a leading software company, primarily known for its operating system, MS-DOS, which was widely used on IBM-compatible personal computers. The IPO aimed to raise capital to fuel the company’s expansion plans and further establish its dominance in the software market.
The IPO offered 2.5 million shares of common stock at a price of $21 per share. This pricing valued the company at around $520 million. Several investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Salomon Brothers, underwrote the offering. The IPO was highly successful, exceeding expectations and generating significant investor interest. The demand for Microsoft’s shares was strong, and the offering was oversubscribed, meaning that there were more orders for shares than available shares to allocate.
Who is the Current CEO of Microsoft?
Satya Nadella is the current CEO of Microsoft, having assumed the position in February 2014. Satya Nadella, born in 1967 in Hyderabad, India, is a technology executive and the current CEO of Microsoft. He joined Microsoft in 1992 and held various key positions within the company before assuming the CEO role in 2014.
Nadella’s tenure at Microsoft has transformed the company into a leading cloud service provider and fostered innovation across a wide range of technologies. He has been instrumental in reshaping Microsoft’s strategy to embrace a more inclusive and customer-centric approach.
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