The report from Reuters cites three unnamed investors whom it identifies as among the company’s “top 20 investors.”
The anonymous sources “familiar with the matter” say investors want Gates out as chairman because they feel his presence hinders innovation. They are also concerned about Gates’ placement on a committee searching for a replacement for outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer, the report says.
Gates co-founded Microsoft 38 years ago and was CEO before Ballmer succeeded him in 2000.
The company is undergoing a major transformation started this summer. In July, Microsoft announced a company restructuring that it says would help them innovate more quickly.
One month later, Ballmer revealed plans to retire within 12 months. The following week, Microsoft announced it would purchase the handset division of smartphone maker Nokia for $7.2 billion. The two had paired up on a series of Lumia smartphones running the Window’s mobile operating system.
Rumored successors to Ballmer include Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Ford chief Alan Mulally.