March 19, 2009

Yahoo, Microsoft Deal Still Has Hope

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive, said on Thursday that the only discussion he has had with Yahoo Inc.'s top executive was a single phone call, but is holding out hopes for further talks.

"I'm sure when it's appropriate, we will have a chance to sit down and talk" with Yahoo, Ballmer said at the McGraw-Hill Media Summit in New York on Thursday.

He said that a deal would help improve Microsoft's Web search business by expanding the base of its users.  More people using the search engine means more advertisers. 

In January, Carol Bartz took the CEO position at Yahoo, succeeding co-founder Jerry Yang, who beat back Microsoft's effort to buy the Internet company for $47.5 billion.

"Unless I'm fooling myself, over time I would expect a there is a good opportunity for a deal," Ballmer said in response to a question from the moderator about the likelihood of such a partnership.

Bartz said at a recent conference in San Francisco, that if the companies do discuss a deal, then they will negotiate it privately.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has continued to develop its own search technology known as Kumo in efforts to catch up with Google Inc. and Yahoo.

Yahoo shares were trading at $13.95, up 53 cents, on Nasdaq. Microsoft shares were up 7 cents at $17.03.


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