Microsoft not interested in Yahoo

Software giant will not renew bid for company

Yahoo Inc. shares dived nearly 13 percent after the chief executive of Microsoft Corp. said Friday the software giant is not interested in renewing its bid for the struggling Internet company.

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer told a business lunch in Sydney that he had moved on after Yahoo rejected its takeover bid in the spring. He did suggest a partnership in the search engine market is possible.

“We made an offer, we made another offer, and it was clear that Yahoo didn’t want to sell the business to us and we moved on,” Ballmer said. “We are not interested in going back and re-looking at an acquisition. I don’t know why they would be either, frankly. They turned us down at $33 a share.”

Yahoo shares fell $1.76 to close Friday at $12.20.

Yahoo’s co-founder and chief executive, Jerry Yang, said Wednesday that Microsoft should make another bid for his company, which runs the world’s No. 2 search engine. His appeal came after top search engine Google Inc. backed out of an Internet advertising partnership with Yahoo to avoid a challenge from the U.S. Justice Department, which said it would sue to block the deal on antitrust grounds.

Yahoo had been counting on the Google Inc. deal to boost its finances and placate shareholders still incensed by management’s decision to reject the $47.5 billion takeover bid from Microsoft six months ago.

“I’m sure there are still some opportunities for some kind of partnership around search, but I think (an) acquisition is a thing of the past,” Ballmer said.

He also told the Australian audience that Microsoft saw an opportunity to reinvent the online search process.

“If anybody thinks the future of search is going to look like the present search, that’s crazy,” Ballmer said. “The user interface on search hasn’t changed for six years. You still get the same dull, boring 10 blue links, for God’s sake. Can’t we do any better than that?”

Microsoft shares gained 3 percent to $21.50.

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