Last month, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer called Facebook and social networking a fad and then plunked down $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook. While speaking in Mumbai, India this week, Ballmer was asked by reporters whether Microsoft was interested in acquiring Yahoo. He responded:
"My answer is a considered 'no comment'."
"We want to succeed in the online advertising space. What happens with Yahoo, we'll all have to wait and see."
The 'considered no comment' and 'wait and see' doesn't sound like a yes, or a no. If he were to follow the way he handled Facebook inquiries, he might have said that Yahoo and portals are a fad, which would have given a clear signal that a deal in is the works. Perhaps not, but with Google growing in dominance Microsoft may be considering the Oracle approach--acquire or partner your way to safe harbor.