I’m lucky (or unlucky, depending on your point of view) to have met Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. This was before the news of his chair throwing tendencies but the guy was still just as much intimidating. That said, I have respect for a guy that’s straight talking and calls things as he sees them.
At the recent Web 2.0 Summit in San Fran, Ballmer downplayed suggestions that MSFT would acquire Yahoo or Facebook.
“If at some point it makes sense, maybe then it makes sense. But that’s not where we are going. We are driving in an independent direction,” said Ballmer in a question-and-answer session.
Instead, Ballmer said the company would focus on doing 20 smaller deals each year. “We’ll probably buy 20 companies a year consistently for the next five years,” said Ballmer. Smaller being less than $1 billion–sheesh, I need to recalibrate what “small” means.
Of course, just because $1B+ acquisitions are off the table, that doesn’t mean partnerships are. When asked about reports Microsoft would buy 5% of Facebook, Ballmer replied, “We’ll see.”
Makes you wonder if that came with a sly wink or not, doesn’t it?