MS billionaire Gates gets small pay raise

What does a guy need to do to get a decent raise anymore?

In the last 12 months, the value of Microsoft Corp.'s shares have almost doubled. Looking ahead, analysts expect the company to best the past year's $8.6 billion in sales by 20 per cent to 30 per cent. All the while, Microsoft is knocking down net profits of a billion dollars a quarter.

Yet for all that accomplishment, the best that Microsoft CEO Bill Gates could wrangle out of his board of directors was a relatively modest five per cent raise.

Not that the digital tycoon is hurting for pocket change. In the latest fiscal year, Gates took home $591,352 in salary and bonuses -- before taxes -- according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday. (Gates' straight salary for the year was $349,992.)

"If you actually look back at the historical salary figures, there's nothing unusual," said a Microsoft spokeswoman. "It's commensurate with past increases."

In 1994 and 1995, Gates was paid $275,000. In 1994, Microsoft awarded him a $182,545 bonus and a $140,580 bonus the next year. In 1996, Gates received a salary of $340,618 along with a $221,970 bonus.

Gates also has about $36 billion in Microsoft stock. As of June 30, Gates held 270.8 million shares of Microsoft, good for a 22.3 per cent stake in the company.

That meant he sold 11.4 million shares over the course of the fiscal year. If exercised steadily throughout the year, that would have raised about $1 billion.

The next highest paid member of Microsoft's executive team, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Robert Herbold, earned slightly more than $1.2 million in salary and bonuses.

Herbold's compensation includes a $250,000 bonus paid as part of an incentive package that lured him from Procter & Gamble in 1994 after 25 years with the company.