Ballmer: 'We are done' with Yahoo acquisition idea

Microsoft's CEO says all acquisition plans are kaput, and he reiterates his company remains open to a search partnership, though there are no active discussions about it.

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer threw his daily bucket of cold water on the notion that the software maker will return with a new bid for all of Yahoo.

"We are done with all acquisition discussions with Yahoo," Ballmer said, adding that he has said this a bunch of times but that some people remain "confused."

"We did our best," he said. "We've moved on."

His comments came at the company's annual shareholders meeting Wednesday in Bellevue, Wash., not far from the company's Redmond headquarters. Ballmer, whose address was offered live via Webcast, made no reference to Yahoo in his prepared remarks, but it was the first shareholder question.

Speculation was rekindled this week after Yahoo announced that it is searching for a new CEO to replace Jerry Yang, who will step down once the new executive is hired.

Yahoo's shares plummeted Wednesday in response to Ballmer's comments, falling about 15 percent to $9.79 a share in morning trading. The reaction comes just a day after Yahoo's shares jumped as high as 16 percent in intraday trading, following the news about Yang.

While Ballmer rejected the notion that Microsoft would return with a new offer to buy Yahoo, he reiterated that the idea of a search partnership remains "an interesting possibility."

"There's no active discussion on that front, but we'd be very open to it," Ballmer said.

Dawn Kawamoto of CNET News contributed to this report.