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Microsoft's Turner: Yahoo! search deal, but no acquisition

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Microsoft's courting Yahoo! over a possible search deal, although acquisition seems off the table.

Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operating officer, told The Times of London a deal would make economic sense to both parties.

Turner's focus, though, was on an ads deal rather than acquisition, which his boss - chief executive Steve Ballmer - has already said is off the table.

"They have a new CEO, and she's formulating her business plans," Turner reportedly said during an interview, referring to Carol Bartz, who tool the helm in January. He continued:

We've certainly made her aware and the Yahoo! board aware that if they are ever interested in an opportunity to partner with them on search, we'd like to sit down and at least have the conversation. It has to make economic sense to both parties.

Turner's boss must surely be considered one of the luckiest CEOs in the biz. Ballmer had offered $33 a share for Yahoo!, barely weeks before the tech bubble burst and Yahoo! began its journey south to today's $12 a share.

Turner, meanwhile, had bad news for anyone who still thinks Microsoft's going to depart from its business model and make its own phone, like Apple with the iPhone. Turner told The Times Microsoft will stick with making software for mobile phones, with Windows Mobile, not the hardware.

"For now we'll work with our partners. After all, we're going to sell 22 million copies of Windows Mobile this year," he said. ®

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