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Ballmer: We're so over Yahoo!

We don't even want to talk about it

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Steve Ballmer has said again that Microsoft has got over its infatuation with Yahoo! and has moved on.

Talking to shareholders yesterday Ballmer said any acquisition talks with Yahoo! were over. Ballmer said he was still open to some kind of deal around search but that nothing was going on right now. Ballmer has made similar remarks before of course but the issue has been given fresh legs by by Jerry Yang stepping down.

Ballmer said: "We are done with all acquisition discussions with Yahoo. I've said that a bunch of times. Somehow some people have gotten confused nonetheless."

And why would Ballmer want to splash out on the whole company, when it can scoop up a drip drip of staff leaving Yahoo!?

Microsoft's latest recruit is Sean Suchter who was a VP of search at Yahoo! and previously worked at Inktomi. An email sent to Yahoo! search staff this week said: "Unfortunately, I have to give some bad news to you. Sean Suchter has resigned. Sean’s last day will be December 19th. Some of you will find this news shocking given that Sean has been a Gibraltar rock at Yahoo and in particular for the Search team. I understand this." A Gibraltar rock? Valleywag has the full email.

The Microsoft CEO also said the ongoing credit crisis would mean much slower growth for the software company. It is looking to cut $500m from costs partly by slowing down new hiring. Ballmer said there would be slower growth in headcount in this financial year, and probably the next too.

Yahoo! shares fell again yesterday, they're now down 65 per cent on the year, Microsoft shares are down 45 per cent on the year. ®

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