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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is well aware of the whispered expectations that Yahoo will beat the street with its first-quarter results this afternoon. In fact, Ballmer already has Microsoft PR pouring cold water on calls for Microsoft to respond with a higher bid. "We think we can accelerate our strategy by buying Yahoo and will pay what makes sense for our shareholders," Ballmer said in a statement. "I wish Yahoo all the success with its results, but it doesn't affect the value of Yahoo to Microsoft." Which is a remarkable display of logic from Ballmer: After all, Yahoo's current stock price doesn't reflect its underlying business performance, good, bad, or indifferent; it's a reflection of Wall Street oddsmaking on whether a Microsoft buy will go through, and at what price.