"I think a search deal makes great sense for Microsoft, and Yahoo, and I think I've been very open about that," Ballmer told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published online on Friday. Earlier this year, Yahoo! had spurned a $47.5-billion takeover bid from the software giant. The deal was mainly opposed by its chief executive Jerry Yang.
Yang who is a co-founder of Yahoo! had last month announced that he would step down as the chief executive but would remain with the firm. On the search deal, Ballmer told the Wall Street Journal, "I think good ideas are usually better done quickly than slowly, so it would probably be better for both us, and certainly for Yahoo, if we were to do it sooner than later." This week, Microsoft hired former Yahoo! executive Qi Lu as the President for the company's online services group. Asked whether any kind of talks about a search deal between the companies are on at the moment, Ballmer said, "The answer is no, but I would not tell you if there were."
On the other hand, Ballmer pointed out that the company is prepared to compete without any Yahoo! partnership. "We're fully prepared to compete without any partnership with Yahoo. . . the fundamental basis for doing the search deal with Yahoo has to do with critical mass in the advertising marketplace. It does not have to do with technology, or any of these other things, it really is a market phenomenon. Most importantly, Google would have perhaps a real credible competitor sooner," Ballmer noted.