Ballmer Rules Out Yahoo, Facebook Buys

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It’s time to put the Yahoo or Facebook acquisition deals from Microsoft to rest, as Steve Ballmer disclosed a less broad scope for what the company buys.

Microsoft could be emulating Yahoo and Google in their strategy of buying small startups and companies, instead of writing 11-digit checks to Mark Zuckerberg or Jerry Yang.

For the crew from Redmond, following an “independent path” will mean spending from $50 million to $1 billion for an acquisition. That is a pretty broad path, one that is well marked with Microsoft’s $23 billion cash pile.

Reuters cited Ballmer’s comments at the Web 2.0 Summit, as part of his keynote conversation today.

“If at some point it makes sense, maybe then it makes sense. But that’s not where we are going. We are driving in an independent direction,” Ballmer said in the session.

Microsoft has been widely rumored to be willing to take a stake in Facebook that would value the social networking site at $10 billion to $15 billion. Also, Yahoo and Microsoft have engaged in off and on talks about a possible merger or purchase, though nothing but denials have ever come of those rumors.

Ballmer Rules Out Yahoo, Facebook Buys
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