Microsoft's $44.6 billion offer to buy Yahoo isn't its first. It's just the first to go public. Here, we track the board-room romance back to its beginnings.
Microsoft's first acquistion target in search wasn't Yahoo. Back in 2003, rumor said Microsoft would purchase Google. The New York Times reported that before Google's IPO, the companies talked about a buyout but it never went anywhere. Instead, Microsoft signed a search deal with Looksmart. Oops.
Rumors of a Microsoft-Yahoo merger began in earnest in early 2006. In January, the Los Angeles Times reported Yahoo turned down an $80 billion offer from Microsoft. Yahoo shares spiked on the news. You may have noticed the share value has since declined.
By mid-2006, the rumors were back, but Ziff-Davis's Mary Jo Foley reported that Microsoft only expressed interest in taking a stake in Yahoo's search business.
In July 2006, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said during an earnings call that a Yahoo acquisition would not help Microsoft get competitive in search. "There is no acquisition path out," he said.
By May 2007, rumors were back. This time the number was $50 billion. Yahoo shares rose almost 10 percent on the news, closing at $30.98. Just under the $31 Microsoft offered today,