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Microsoft ends its siesta, plays hardball

From the time it took's Ina Fried to fly from Maimi to Colombia, the software maker went on the offensive, serving up a three-week deadline.

BOGOTA, Colombia---In the time it took me to fly here from Miami, Microsoft's patience wore out.

As you may have read by now, the company went public Saturday with a letter to Yahoo's board imposing a three-week deadline. Come to the table and negotiate a deal or prepare for a proxy fight.

Of course, this letter didn't come out in the hour and a half I was sitting on the tarmac in Miami, but rather just after the plane took off for the three and a half hour flight. Luckily, my cell phone had Internet access from the moment I landed and the hotel has perfect Wi-Fi as well.

But back to Yahoo. Apparently, Microsoft grew tired of Yahoo's glacial pace. The software maker noted that its limited discussions with Yahoo have been less than fruitful.

Microsoft's latest move is clearly an attempt to get things kick-started without having to preemptively outbid itself. The software maker is in an interesting position. Its offer, when made February 1, was worth $31 a share in cash and stock.

The deal, as it was initially proposed, would be worth somewhat less due to a decline in Microsoft shares. However, those close to the company have made the case that Yahoo's shares might be a whole lot lower were it not for Microsoft's offer being on the table.

In any case, it will be interesting to follow what happens next, albeit from the Southern Hemisphere. Attention sources, expect a very long distance phone call.