Steve Ballmer continues his egg-dodging European tour with a stop in Moscow, where he tells a tech conference that sure, he was ready to spend $50 billion or so on Yahoo (YHOO). But he didn’t really want it that badly. Reuters:
Microsoft (MSFT) Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said on Friday that buying Yahoo was not a strategy in itself, and dropping the bid meant it now had $50 billion to spend on other acquisitions.
“Yahoo was never the strategy we were pursuing, it was a way to accelerate our online advertising business,” he told a packed hall at a technology conference in Moscow.
“We will spend money on some acquisitions. You can do a whole lot of things with 50 billion dollars,” he said.
The above statements are simultanously not true, true, and irrelevant. The Yahoo bid was a strategy — a hail mary play after failing at the Internet for years. And Ballmer did seem to have rethought that sometime this spring. And now both Ballmer and Jerry Yang now seem to realise that after looking around at other options (a Google search deal for Yang, some kind of tortured Yahoo JV for Ballmer) that maybe the original deal — at say, $34 — makes sense after all.