A Securities and Exchange Commission filing made Monday by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed that Ballmer sold a total of 59.6 million Microsoft shares during the month of May, the most recent trading window for executives. That number of shares, valued at $1.44 billion, is the largest sale by a Microsoft insider during a single period when executives are allowed to sell stock. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates tends to sell no more than 20 million shares in a single selling period, according to Lon Gerber, director of insider research with Thomson Financial. In the Monday filing, Ballmer reported that he sold more than 4 million shares May 30.
From May 21 to May 23, Ballmer sold about $1.2 billion worth of shares, the first time he had unloaded company stock in more than a decade. Earlier, Ballmer issued a statement saying, "Even though this is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about this to avoid any confusion: I remain excited about the potential for our technology to change people's lives, and I remain as committed to Microsoft as ever."