Source: Steve Ballmer has the board's support

Microsoft's board is apparently fully behind the continued presence of chief executive Steve Ballmer, despite calls from a major investor for an immediate replacement to be appointed.

Hedge fund manager David Einhorn made headlines earlier this week by stating that Ballmer's presence at the company represented the "biggest overhang on Microsoft's stock," and declaring that the time has come to "give someone else a chance."

Ballmer, who joined Microsoft as the company's 30th employee at the behest of college buds Paul Allen and Bill Gates, took control of the company eleven years ago - and has become something of a 'character.'

Known for his larger-than-life personality, exemplified in an early TV advert for Microsoft's flagship Windows product and a somewhat overenthusiastic entrance to the company's 25th anniversary celebrations, Ballmer is well-known in the industry - but not always well-liked.

His sometimes aggressive attitude, coupled with a slide that has seen Microsoft drop from its one-time position as the world's most valuable company to third place behind rival Apple and computing giant IBM, has earned him some enemies - including Einhorn - but the Microsoft board doesn't appear to be giving up on the man just yet.

While the company has declined to publicly comment on Einhorn's claims, an anonymous source 'close to the matter' has told wire service Reuters that the board is in full support of Ballmer - and that the only person who could possibly get rid of him against his wishes would be chairman Gates.

Einhorn, who holds nine million shares in the company, may have a point, however: the company's fortunes need a rapid reversal if it wants to regain its position at the top of the pile. Whether that will come from a change of management or not, however, remains to be seen.