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Gates says Microsoft can go it alone

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Bill Gates says Microsoft is quite capable of sorting out its internet strategy all on its own if Yahoo! refuses to play ball.

Gates, who stops full-time work for the company in June, ceded it was no longer really his decision. He said, according to reports: "The key decisions on that will be made by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who took a look at Yahoo and decided that, on our own, he likes the stuff that we're doing. I wouldn't rule out some partnerships but we don't have anything imminent there."

Yahoo! rejected a revised offer of $47.5bn from Microsoft at the weekend but now faces serious shareholder anger. The company has had its own problems and Microsoft was offering a generous premium on its share price.

But any shareholders will have to act fast. Yahoo! is holding its shareholder meeting 3 July, which means anyone wanting to propose alternative directors to the board must get their nominations in by close of play 15 May.

Several institutional shareholders have already expressed their displeasure at Jerry Yang's discussion to spurn Microsoft's offer. A class action lawsuit has already been launched.

Yahoo! shares dropped 15 per cent on Monday, but bounced back slightly yesterday and in early trading today - they're currently trading at just over $25, rather than the $33 Microsoft was prepared to pay. ®

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