Are Yahoo Investors Now Tuning Ballmer Out?

This story was written by Joseph Tartakoff.
Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer said again this week that he was interested in some sort of search partnership with Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO). But a funny thing happened: Yahoo's stock dropped slightly, a sign that perhaps the market is getting weary of the CEO's vague expressions of interest (or, at least that Microsoft's interest has already been priced into the stock). Yahoo shares are up 25 percent year to date.

A look at Ballmer's statements over the months and how the market has reacted.

Where: May 7, 2009, Stanford University
Ballmer: I still think there exist opportunities to in a sense almost create a better search product by having more customers and more advertisers, to generate more relevant advertising as part of the search offering. That may or may not at some point happen. There may or may not be appropriate discussions.
Yahoo Stock: Down 1.5 percent a day later
Source: CNET

Where: March 19, 2009, McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHP) Conference
Ballmer: I'm sure when it's appropriate, we'll have a chance to sit down and talk ... There are a lot of things that are fairly compelling economically in trying to put our two search efforts together in a partnership.
Yahoo Stock: Up as much as 4 percent
Source: Tech Trader Daily

Where: Nov. 19, 2008, Annual Shareholders' Meeting
Ballmer: We did our best. We thought we had something that made sense. It didn't make sense to them. We've moved on.
Yahoo stock: Drops 21 percent
Source: Seattle P-I

Where: Nov. 7, 2008, Sydney, Australia Tour
Ballmer: We tried at one point to do a partnership around search, not advertising. That didn't work either, so we moved on, and they moved on. We are not interested in going back and re-looking at an acquisition. I don't know why they would be either, frankly.
Yahoo' stock: Drops as much as 17 percent
Source: CNET

Where: Oct. 16, 2008, Gartner Conference
Ballmer: Perhaps there will continue to be opportunities to partner around search. We're not in any discussions with them, but that was an offer we made after the acquisition had fallen through. We'll see. I still think it would make sense economically for their shareholders and ours.
Yahoo Stock: Up 13 percent
Source: AllThingsD

By Joseph Tartakoff