Microsoft co-founder Allen to step down from board

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Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, will step down from the software giant`s board at its annual meeting on November 9, Microsoft said in a federal filing on Thursday.

Allen, who quit Microsoft`s day-to-day operations in 1982 to battle Hodgkin`s disease, wanted more time to devote to his extensive business investments and his work in charitable organisations.

In its annual meeting proxy statement filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Microsoft said Allen will remain as a "senior strategy advisor."

"Being an active board member for a dynamic and successful company such as Microsoft is a time-intensive role and one I have enjoyed for many years," Allen said. "However, this new role will enable me to spend my time on technology and products, where I can really make a significant contribution."

In addition to Allen`s resignation, Microsoft said Richard Hackborn will also step down from the board.

A Microsoft director since 1994, Hackborn recently resigned as chairman at HP.

Microsoft said it will not fill the vacant seats, and the number of board members will be reduced from the current eight to six.

Allen`s Microsoft holdings form the bulk of his $36 billion net worth and make him the third-richest man in the world -- behind only Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison, according to Forbes Magazine.

"Paul and I have an amazing friendship that extends back over 30 years," said Gates, who founded the software giant with Allen in 1975. "I will continue to value his friendship and counsel in the years ahead."

Allen owns the Seattle Seahawks franchise in the National Football League and the Portland Trailblazers of the National Basketball Association.

His investment fund, Vulcan Ventures, has invested in scores of high-tech and media companies including Charter Communications, a leading US provider of broadband cable television.

An avid guitarist, Allen in June christened his new 140,000-square-foot interactive rock-and-roll museum in Seattle by smashing a glass guitar on stage.

Reuters News Service

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