Ballmer reiterates interest in Yahoo talks

March 19, 2009 By ANDREW VANACORE , AP Business Writer

(AP) -- Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer is still signaling an interest in a deal to buy part of Yahoo Inc.

Ballmer said at a technology and media summit Thursday in New York that a deal would help improve Microsoft's Web search business by expanding the base of users. More people using the search engine means more advertisers. And, Ballmer says, a larger pool of advertisers will allow for more tailored ads next to search queries.

Ballmer said he has had only one conversation with since she became Yahoo's chief executive in January. Ballmer said he congratulated her and said he'd like to chat at some point about a possible deal.

Bartz's predecessor as CEO, , rebuffed a $47.5 billion offer from last year. Since then Microsoft has said several times it would be open to a deal involving the companies' search engines.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has continued to develop its own search technology as it struggles to catch up with Inc. and Yahoo. The internal name for one of Microsoft's new search concepts is Kumo, which has prompted some quizzical comments and sneers since it was leaked in a staff memo. It probably will not be known as Kumo when it goes public, Ballmer indicated Thursday. "We need a name," he said.

Yahoo shares rose 53 cents, 4 percent, to $13.95 in morning trading. Microsoft shares were up 11 cents at $17.07.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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