updated 01:30 pm EDT, Thu October 16, 2008
Ballmer on Win 7, Yahoo
(Updated with official statement on Yahoo) It is alright if corporate buyers choose to skip Windows Vista and wait for Windows 7, claims Microsoft's Steve Ballmer. The CEO made the statement at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo in Orlando, shedding Microsoft's typical position of insisting on the value of Vista. The OS has received considerable criticism from businesses and the public, mainly over issues such as driver compatibility and User Account Control. Ballmer suggests that the OS is nevertheless doing well, with an adoption rate twice that of Windows XP despite being available for just two years.
Ballmer describes Windows 7 as effectively being Vista, "but a lot better," with a cleaner interface and a host of unspecified changes that will mark it as more than a service pack.
Regarding Microsoft's long-standing interest in buying Yahoo, the executive says that while the purchase would still be logical, no talks of any sort are in progress. The comment has in fact bolstered Yahoo shares, which are up from a low of just over $11 to approximately $13 as of press time. When Microsoft made its initial buyout attempt, it offered $33 per share.
Update: Microsoft has issued an official statement purportedly correcting Ballmer's observations at the event.
"Our position hasnít changed," it reads. "Microsoft has no interest in acquiring Yahoo!; there are no discussions between the companies."