Yahoo's Bartz Open To Microsoft Ballmer's Overtures

Lots of rumors this morning about today's morning meeting between Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz. (See this TechCrunch article .) Are negotiations back on? It appears at least the door is open thanks to a comment by Bartz yesterday at D7, implying a deal could be done if Microsoft parted with enough cash. Recently I wrote about Microsoft's Kumo search engine, now expected to be called "Bing", and how the same open source search technology drives both Microsoft's and Yahoo's search engine efforts. (See If Microsoft Succeeds In Search, It Will Be Thanks To Open Source .) That's an obvious technology synergy, but I still believe the real rub between the two companies now that Jerry Yang has parted is about making Yahoo's stockholders cash happy. The "founder's pride" (ego) is out of the way, and it's down to a matching of strategies, synergies, expectations and (more importantly at this point) valuation of the deal. Bartz looks much more willing to negotiate and there are still tremendous benefits for Microsoft's designs to battle Google for the search engine market vs. going it alone without Yahoo.

Stay tuned. This game's gone into overtime.

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