Microsoft's board of directors had launched an inquiry about a romantic relation Bill Gates had with a company employee last year, Bloomberg reported Monday.
The investigation was carried out in 2019 and it didn't reach a conclusion because Gates had stepped down from the board before it was completed, Microsoft said.
In a report by The Wall Street Journal, citing people with knowledge of the matter, it said Sunday that a Microsoft engineer had claimed in a letter "she had a sexual relationship over the years with Mr. Gates."
During the investigation, some board members decided Gates was no longer fit to sit as director of the company he founded and led for decades, the report said.
A company representative told the Journal that Gates' decision was not related to the inquiry but confirmed an affair did take place and ended "amicably."
Throughout the probe, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern, according to Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, The New York Times on Sunday gave a detailed report of at least two of instances. Current and former employees told the paper the two incidents created an "uncomfortable workplace environment."
Gates, in one instance, reportedly sent an email to a female Microsoft employee in 2006, asking her out to dinner. "If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened," the Times quoted Gates as writing in the email.
A year or two after, Gates reportedly approached a woman working for the foundation, and asked her for dinner. The woman said she felt uncomfortable and just laughed to avoid responding.
Melinda Gates, Bill Gates' wife and co-founder of their foundation, filed for divoce earlier this month.
Bill Gates is one of the world's wealthiest people. His is worth $144 billion as of Monday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranking.