Troogle

Yahoo CEO Keeps Microsoft Deal Door Open, Shuts Out AOL

Posted in News, Secret, Web by henrydewaag on June 8, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones)–Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) Chief Executive Carol Bartz said Monday the struggling Internet giant can “take on” rivals Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Google Inc. (GOOG), and she dismissed the idea of striking a partnership with Time Warner Inc.’s (TWX) AOL unit.

Bartz, however, declined to rule out a search partnership with Microsoft, which tried to buy Yahoo last year and remains open to some sort of deal that could bolster its search capabilities to compete with market leader Google.

“If you talk about search in general, you could partner with somebody,” she said in an interview with Fox Business News’ Liz Claman.

Bartz’s statement appeared to be her latest attempt to calibrate her position on Microsoft. She told an investor conference last week that Yahoo’s future would be “cleaner” if it didn’t strike any sort of deal with Microsoft, a comment that sent Yahoo shares tumbling 5%.

Bartz and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer have talked about forming a partnership on search but the exact nature of those discussions has not been clear.

Bartz also appeared to rule out any sort of partnership with AOL, which Time Warner recently decided to spin off.

“Yahoo-AOL would not happen anytime in the forever future,” she said. “Yahoo is a much stronger property in a different direction and there’s no sense confusing all of that.”

Bartz once again downplayed Microsoft’s newly revamped search engine, dubbed Bing, which for a day surpassed Yahoo in market share.

Yahoo is the No. 2 U.S. search engine, with 20.4% market share in April, according to market research group comScore. Microsoft continued to lag far behind with about 8% of the market, while rival Google Inc. (GOOG) increased its share by half a percentage point in April to 64.2% of the U.S. market, its highest level ever.
Shares in Yahoo closed down 2.7% at $16.19, while Microsoft fell 0.4% to $22.05. Google shares fell 1.3% to $438.77 and Time Warner was up 2.4% at $25.91.

By Scott Morrison, Dow Jones Newswires; 415-765-6118; scott.morrison@dowjones.com

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