Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has responded to Jerry Yang’s comments about being open to a Microsoft acquisition. Speaking to a group of developers in Sydney, he dismissed the option of an outright acquisition, but remained open to a search deal. Though, even that didn’t sound particularly promising:
We made an offer… We made another offer. It was clear that [Yahoo] doesn’t want to sell the business to us and we moved on. We tried at one point to do a partnership around search, not an acquisition. And that didn’t work either, and we moved on… and they moved on… We are not interested in going back and relooking at an acquisition. I don’t know why they would be either, frankly. They turned us down at $33 a share … I’m sure there are still opportunities for some kind of partnership around search.
Of course, all of this has been a game of poker from the start. So, whether Ballmer is truly saying no or simply just waiting to see if Yahoo’s stock drops so low that Microsoft becomes the JP Morgan (Yahoo being the Bear Stearns, of course) remains to be seen.
And why not wait for a merger of Yahoo and AOL and then scoop up 2 competitors for the price of 1 (and a reduced price at that!)?
Microsoft is smart to hold on to its stash of cash while the economy hangs out in the pooper. Sorry, Jerry, but you had your chance.