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Microsoft rules out PeopleSoft bid

Steve Ballmer rules out acting as the white knight for the business software maker.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has ruled out acting as the white knight for business software maker PeopleSoft, which is trying to fight off a hostile takeover by Oracle.

Several months ago, it emerged that Microsoft had been in merger talks with Germany's SAP, the world's biggest business-planning software maker. But much smaller PeopleSoft pales by comparison, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told the U.K.-based Financial Times.

"I know SAP, and they're no SAP," he said in a Financial Times article published Monday.

"We like our focus on small and medium (size) companies. And if we weren't going to be focused on small and medium companies, you know what we wanted to buy," he was quoted as saying.

PeopleSoft has said a takeover by Oracle would choke competition in the business-planning software market for large enterprises, with only two players remaining: SAP and Oracle.

Microsoft already provides business planning software to small and medium-size companies where SAP, PeopleSoft and Oracle hardly play.

Story Copyright  © 2004 Reuters Limited.  All rights reserved.