Updated: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the software giant has no intention of making a new offer for Yahoo--even though the Internet company is on sale relative to its first offer.
Speaking at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) lunch in Sydney today, Ballmer said: "Look, we made an offer, we made another offer. It was clear that Yahoo didn't want to sell the business to us, and we moved on."
After a brief recap of the Microsoft-Yahoo saga, Ballmer said:
"We are not interested in going back and re-looking at an acquisition," he said. "I don't know why they would be either, frankly."
Was Ballmer just being cheeky with a bunch of Australian developers? Perhaps. At the Gartner Symposium ITxpo last month, Ballmer said a deal still made sense, but there was nothing on the table. Microsoft's PR machine stamped out the fire Ballmer started later in the day.
Meanwhile, the Google-Yahoo ad deal--the thing that permanently put any Microsoft partnership on ice--has fallen apart. Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang was pummeled in reviews of his Web 2.0 Summit keynote. Regarding Microsoft, Yang said a merger still could make sense at the right price.
Update: The reaction to Ballmer's comments was swift. Yahoo shares fell almost 15 percent in the early going.
In the end, it makes all the sense in the world to let Yahoo and Yang squirm. Microsoft may get Yahoo at fire sale prices--just not today. In the meantime, we'll get a lot of gamesmanship. Here's Yang's version of the story: