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Big week in Microsoft-Yahoo battle

Software giant has set a Saturday deadline for Yahoo to get serious if it wants to avoid a proxy fight. Also, both companies report earnings this week.

This week is shaping up to be a big one in Microsoft's nearly 3-month-old effort to acquire Yahoo.

The software maker has set a Saturday deadline for Yahoo to come to the bargaining table or else face a proxy fight.

Coloring the state of things will be earnings reports from both Microsoft and Yahoo due this week. Yahoo reports Tuesday, while Microsoft is set to release quarterly numbers on Thursday.

Those reports are all the more significant in that Microsoft's bid (at least so far) is half stock. A good earnings report from Yahoo might put pressure on Microsoft to hike its bid, while a negative one might increase the heat on Yahoo to sell.

Other players remain in the discussion, with reports that Yahoo is still in talks about a partnership with AOL and continues an advertising test with Google. Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch signaled Monday that he may not be totally against joining with Microsoft.

"Depends on the deal," he said at an event Monday, according to Reuters.

He indicated that joining with Microsoft is probably the only way News Corp. would be involved. "I certainly can't afford to bid against Microsoft (for Yahoo)," he said in a speech before the Atlantic Council.