The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft's signals mixed on potential acquisitions " Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, speaking at a technology conference in Orlando, Fla., sponsored by Gartner, a research and consulting firm, said investors should "stand by for news" of acquisitions. He declined to elaborate. He also said the company would like to add to the 4,000 consultants it employs.
But Chairman Bill Gates downplayed the news later in an interview with Bloomberg News in New York, where he launched the marketing campaign for Microsoft's new Office programs.
"I don't think he meant to suggest there was something imminent," Gates said about Ballmer's comments. "Every year we do buy some additional software companies. There's nothing in the works that he was trying to hint at there."
Gates said the company is generally reluctant to make acquisitions because "it wouldn't make sense for us to go outside to get technology in particular markets because we have always used partners and always succeeded with partners."