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While some investors are baying for blood Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and retiring Chief Executive Steve Ballmer are standing firm, announcing their attempt at re-election to the company's board of directors.

The news was made public in the tech giant's annual proxy filing on Thursday, and comes as a group of activist investors, believed to hold more than a 5% share of the company, call for a re-invigoration in the face of tough competition from Google and Apple.

Ballmer, 57, said back in August that he would be retiring in 12 months, but it's expected the new CEO will continue the current direction dictated by the board.

Meanwhile company co-founder Gates is expected to stay on as Chairman of the board, angering investors who, as we reported earlier this week, called for him to step down for the good of the company. 

The annual shareholders meeting will be held on 19 November and it's expected both men will be re-elected.

Microsoft has had a tough few years due to questions around its Xbox and smartphone strategies, but Microsoft remains one of the world's most valuable technology companies with a net profit of US$22 billion last fiscal year.

The company is still hunting a replacement CEO for Ballmer, and it's unclear if Ballmer will remain on the Microsoft board, as Gates has, once a replacement has been anointed.

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David Swan

David Swan is a tech journalist from Melbourne and is iTWire's Associate Editor. Having started off as a games reviewer at the age of 14, he now has a degree in Journalism from RMIT (with Honours) and owns basically every gadget under the sun. He also writes for Junkee and Fasterlouder. You can email him at david.swan@itwire.com or follow him at twitter.com/mrdavidswan

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