Bill Gates Sells 90 Million Microsoft Shares

Microsoft (MSFT) Chairman Bill Gates sold 13% of his shares of the company in the last year, InformationWeek reported Tuesday. In the last two years, Gates has dumped 22% of his stake in the world's largest software maker, which he co-founded, according to SEC filings.

Gates, the richest American -- as of last year -- with $53 billion, has diversified his portfolio with investments in companies such as solid-waste processor Republic Services while funding the philanthropic Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the publication said.

The divestment by Gates, who remains Microsoft's biggest shareholder with about 7% of the company, has some technology observers wondering whether the company's founder is disappointed with Microsoft's stockholder returns. Microsoft's annual return over the most recent five-year period is about 3%, compared to almost 40% for Apple and 30% for Oracle (ORCL).

Late last month, Microsoft that earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 31 fell about 1% from a year earlier on sluggish personal-computer shipments. Revenue was up 5% to $20 billion.