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Gates, Ballmer Get Richer

The two Microsoft executives get a boost to their paychecks.

Apparently owning a huge chunk of



isn't enough for Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

The top Microsoft executives also got big raises in the last fiscal year and are due to receive another boost in their paychecks this year.

According to regulatory filings, Gates and Ballmer received an 11% raise in the last fiscal year, bringing their salaries and bonuses to a clean $1 million. Of that, $600,000 was straight salary and $400,000 was a bonus.

A week ago, Microsoft increased the pair's salaries to $620,000 for this fiscal year, which began in July. The company's top executives, including Ballmer and Gates, also are eligible for a cash bonus of up to 120% of their salary.

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That compensation comes on top of the significant stock holdings that Gates and Ballmer already have in Microsoft. Gates, a company co-founder and its chairman, holds more than 1 billion shares of Microsoft, or 9.55% of the company's stock. Ballmer, the company's CEO, holds 3.85% of the company's shares, or nearly 410 million shares, according to the company's proxy statement.

Shares of Microsoft recently inched up 2 cents to $25.69. For Gates, that tiny gain propels the value of his stock holdings by a cool $20 million. The gain increases the value of Ballmer's holdings by a more modest $8.2 million.

In a proxy statement, the Microsoft board's compensation committee noted that Gates' and Ballmer's salaries are "significantly below competitive levels elsewhere in the information technology industry and large market capitalization U.S. companies." The committee noted that in a survey of 15 leading IT companies and large market-cap U.S. companies, the median CEO salary was $1.065 million and median bonus was $2.385 million.

And Gates and Ballmer were not the highest paid Microsoft executives last year. Kevin Johnson, recently named co-president of the platform products and services division in the company's reorganization, received $1.05 million, and Jeff Raikes, recently named president of Microsoft's business division, received $1.045 million in salary and bonuses.

Gates, however, is the world's richest man, according to


magazine. To be sure, he also is known for his generous philanthropic efforts. Last year, he donated all of the proceeds he received from Microsoft's special one-time dividend to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which amounted to a hefty $3 billion. Most recently, the family foundation donated $3 million to support Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.