updated 10:35 am EDT, Fri April 10, 2009
Yahoo and MS Talk Again
Yahoo's new CEO Carol Bartz has resumed talks with Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer about possible deals for ads, search or more, according to sources of journalist Kara Swisher. Those close to Yahoo reportedly say that Bartz, Ballmer and other officials have been investigating deals that could not only involve web ad or search partnerships but also future, broader business relationships. One example plan would have Yahoo take over display and "premium" ads while Microsoft runs search ads.
The supposed tipsters warn that a direct Microsoft buyout of Yahoo is still off the table and that none of these deals may ultimately take place. Yahoo in particular is determined to maintain control of its core search business and doesn't intend to sell it off.
Talks are said to be resuming after a softening of stances at the two companies. Bartz's position came about after previous CEO Jerry Yang exited the role following mounting criticism of his repeated rejections of Microsoft's bids to buy Yahoo outright. His relegation to a less influential role, as well as Microsoft's hiring of key Yahoo staff, is understood to have reduced Ballmer's resistance. Bartz herself has also expressed a willingness to discuss plans.
Both companies are facing public calls to strike a deal as both have seen their influence on the web eroded by Google. The latter had ironically helped Yahoo fend off Microsoft during the latter's attempted takeover by proposing a Google and Yahoo search ad deal that became a form of "poison pill." Microsoft would have had to accept ads from Google and other competitors running on its own pages without reversing many of the deals.