Report: Microsoft board members want Gates out

SEATTLE -- Is Bill Gates on his way out at Microsoft?

It's been years since Gates directly presided over the company he co-founded. Now though some reports say some Microsoft investors want to force Gates out of the one position he still holds: Chairman of the Board

Reuters reports three of Microsoft's top 20 investors are lobbying for Gates to step down as chairman, saying his presence blocks the adoption of new strategies.

Microsoft has not commented on the report.

According to Reuters, the opposing board members think Gates wields more power than his relatively small stake in the company should allow. Further, they say his influence might prevent a new chief executive from making substantial changes.

Current CEO Steve Ballmer, a longtime friend of Gates, is on his way out. No replacement for Ballmer has been named.

The three board members said to oppose Gates collectively own five percent of Microsoft stock. Gates holds only 4.5 percent of the stock, although he owns more than any other single shareholder.

Gates stepped away from day to day operations at Microsoft in 2006, although he has maintained an advisory role as well as the board chair.