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Ballmer's Facebook Lust: It's Just Like High School

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Old 05-08-2008
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Ballmer's Facebook Lust: It's Just Like High School
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If you hang around the tech industry long enough, you realize: It's just like high school. These grown men and women may have millions or billions of dollars, but it's the same old set of dramas on a bigger canvas.
Which seems exactly the way to view the action these days around the Microsoft-Yahoo ordeal. Today's news: Steve Ballmer has put out "feelers" about buying Facebook in the wake of ending his pursuit of Yahoo. Let's parse the Reuters story with this perspective in mind.
Microsoft gauged Facebook's interest in a possible acquisition after the software giant's failed takeover attempt of Yahoo, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. Steve, frustrated and hurt after being spurned by Yahoo, got out the yearbook, found the most popular girl of the moment, and decided to go for her whether he really wanted to or not.
The newspaper reported on its website that Microsoft's bankers put out subtle signals to Facebook, the social networking website, to see if it would be open to a full acquisition. Steve didn't want to be rejected again, so he got his friends to feel out her interest.
The talks were first reported by website All Things Digital, owned by Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones. One of his friends told the school gossip, who of course blabbed to everybody.
Facebook spokeswoman Brandee Barker declined to comment on the report. Microsoft officials were not immediately available for comment. The girl's sidekick girlfriend wouldn't let on whether she knew this happened or not. When asked, Steve's friends also refused to say whether Steve was actually interested.
In October, Microsoft took a $240 million stake in Facebook, which valued the start-up at $15 billion. Citing an unnamed source, the report said there are no active discussions between the two companies. Steve, a senior and a BMOC, flirted with Facebook last fall, immediately raising her profile, but nothing much happened between the two of them after that.
The news came a few days after Microsoft dropped its unsolicited offer to buy Yahoo for $47.5 billion. The aim of that proposal was to build an online advertising powerhouse to rival Google. Steve's interest in Facebook is seen as a rebound thing.
Facebook, founded in 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, has become one of the hottest properties on the internet because of its rapid growth and the loyalty of its users. Facebook has more than 70 million active users. But Facebook has in the past year turned into a hottie, and Steve probably can't get her now.

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