Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer refused to comment Friday when asked if the titan was interested in buying US software maker Adobe.
Ballmer was quizzed about a New York Times report that he had secretly discussed with Adobe possibly partnering with or even purchasing the firm so as to combine forces against Apple.
"No comment," the Microsoft boss said when asked about the possible purchase at a business conference in Madrid.
"We have got a bunch of CEOs in the audience. Does anybody ever comment?" Ballmer asked the conference.
"If you are are going to do something, you say nothing. So I will be entirely consistent with standard CEO operating procedures."
Adobe shares closed up 11.5 percent on Thursday at 28.69 dollars after the New York Times reported that Ballmer held a secret meeting recently with Adobe chief executive Shantanu Narayen.
"One of the main thrusts of the discussion was Apple and its control of the mobile phone market and how the two companies could partner in the battle against Apple," the paper said. A possible acquisition of Adobe by Microsoft was among the options, it said.
Adobe and Apple have been involved in a public spat over Apple's refusal to allow the use of Adobe's Flash video software on the iPhone, iPod Touch and Pad.
The New York Times quoted a "person with knowledge of past talks between the two companies" as saying Microsoft has courted Adobe several years ago about a possible acquisition but backed away amid antitrust concerns.
Explore further: Steve Jobs attacks Adobe Flash as unfit for iPhone (Update)