updated 03:50 pm EST, Fri December 5, 2008
MS Yahoo Deal Sooner
Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer today rekindled talk of a possible deal between his company and Yahoo in an interview today with the Wall Street Journal (membership required). While Microsoft has repeatedly downplayed any possibility of deals since breaking off talks with Yahoo in the spring, Ballmer now says it would be beneficial for both companies if a deal for a search ad union was struck "sooner than later" and says the main requirement is receptiveness to such a deal from Yahoo, which has lately insisted on either a full takeover or no deal at all.
"Together we would have more advertisers... which means we'd have more relevant ads on our page," the official says. "Most importantly, Google would have perhaps a real credible competitor sooner."
Ballmer is keen to defuse notions that any talks are ongoing and notes that he would have to deny talks even if they were ongoing, though he adds that denying talks is "easy" this time as there is nothing to cover.
The surprise mention comes just as Microsoft has hired a former Yahoo executive to head up its online business and returns the possibility of an alliance between the two companies that would be meant to combat Google's dominance of web services, especially online advertising.