Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s meeting with Alibaba Group CEO Jack Ma in Hangzhou last week is stirring speculation in the domestic media that Microsoft may be renewing its courtship of Yahoo, IDG reported. Both companies confirmed the meeting but refused to provide details. Alibaba had complicated Microsoft’s failed US$44.6 billion bid for Yahoo last year. The Chinese internet company feared a Microsoft takeover of Yahoo, its largest shareholder, might mean the end of its independence and had reportedly sought other investors to buy out Yahoo’s stake, leaving Microsoft without any Yahoo properties in China. Yahoo owns nearly 40% stake of Alibaba, which in turn runs Yahoo’s China operations. Alibaba’s subsidiaries include the Alibaba.com business-to-business commerce site and Taobao.com.
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