Bill Gates gives away $4.6 billion in Microsoft shares

Gates' recent donation of 64 million shares of Microsoft stock is his largest charitable gift since 2000.

David Carnoy
David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
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The donation reduces Gates' stake in Microsoft to 1.3 percent.

James Martin/CNET

Bill Gates , the richest person in the world, is giving away more of his vast fortune.

According to an SEC filing released Monday, Gates made his largest donation to charity since 2000 -- 64 million shares of Microsoft stock valued at $4.6 billion. According to Bloomberg, that figure represents about 5 percent of his wealth and reduces his stake in Microsoft to 1.3 percent from a high of 24 percent in 1996.

Gates didn't pledge the gift to a specific entity, but in the past most of his donations have gone to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which directs the money to various causes the Gates support.

In 2010, Gates joined with Warren Buffett to create the Giving Pledge, promising to give away the bulk of their fortunes and challenging other megawealthy individuals to do the same. 170 others, including Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, have now signed the pledge. 

Amazon's Jeff Bezos , who briefly overtook Gates as the richest person in the world last month, is not a signatory to the pledge, but he is actively seeking charitable endeavors.