While the recipient of the gift wasn’t specified, Mr Gates has made the majority of his donations to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charity he and his wife use to direct their philanthropic efforts.
Gates usually donates around 80 million Microsoft shares each year, and this latest gift means he’s left with nearly 103 million shares.
If Gates continues to gift shares like he has in the past, then he could reduce his stake in Microsoft to zero in 2019.
While the donation is a large amount in monetary terms, Gates still holds the title of richest person in the world.
Bloomberg now values Gates at $86.1 billion, down from his previous $90 billion fortune. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ($83.7 billion) is edging closer, though. The billionaire briefly surpassed Gates last month to become the world’s richest person, before falling back behind Gates after Amazon’s share price dropped.