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Microsoft on Friday tightened its corporate governance guidelines to give shareholders a bigger say on nominees for its board of directors.

The software company said any director who received a majority of withheld votes in an uncontested election must submit their resignation to the board. This would be considered by the Governance and Nominating committee and a recommendation would then be made to the board on how to proceed.

Walt Disney made a similar revision last month after investor dissatisfaction with Michael Eisner, chief executive, led to 45 per cent of the voting shares withholding support for him last year.

“Today’s decision gives shareholders a greater voice in the process for selecting directors, and continues Microsoft’s tradition of strong corporate governance,” said Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman.

“The board is committed to continuously reviewing best practices and adopting those that serve the long-term interests of our shareholders.”

The Microsoft board also declared a quarterly dividend of 8 cents a share, payable on December 8.

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