Paul Allen to step down from Microsoft's board

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Microsoft Corp. announced yesterday that Paul Allen, co-founder of the software giant, won't seek re-election to the company's board of directors but will instead take on a new role as senior strategy adviser to top executives at Microsoft.

"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 in a statement. "However, this new role will enable me to spend my time on technology and products, where I can really make a significant contribution."

Microsoft also said Richard Hackborn chose not to seek re-election to the software giant's board of directors after serving in that role since 1994. Hackborn also relinquished his position as nonexecutive chairman at Hewlett-Packard Co. last week, with HP announcing that CEO and President Carly Fiorina would assume that role. Hackborn will, however, remain on HP's board (see story).

Allen is chairman of Vulcan Ventures Inc. and either owns or has invested in a wide range of technology and entertainment companies. He also owns the Seattle Seahawks football team as well as the Portland Trail Blazers basketball franchise.

"Both Paul and Dick have made important contributions to the Microsoft board," Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect, said in the statement. "We are grateful for their insight and guidance over the years, but we also understand their desire to focus their limited time on other projects."

Microsoft said it doesn't have immediate plans to nominate additional board members.

Forbes magazine published its most recent list of the richest individuals in the U.S. earlier this month, placing Allen third on the list. Gates was at the top, and Oracle Corp. Chairman Larry Ellison placed second.

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