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MSFT, GOOG CEOs Chat Up Investors; Schmidt Downplays M&A; Ballmer Explains R&D

GOOG: Splashing a little cold water on an merger speculation , Google CEO Eric Schmidt told analysts on a conference call that partnerships have a better shot at increasing traffic. According to Reuters, (link fixed) he didn’t rule out acquisitions but said, “M&A as a method to acquire traffic has not historically worked. … It (M&A) is a bad business strategy … and it is not consistent with Google’s values and culture anyway.” Google prefers to build markets, not acquire them, although it has been more than willing to acquire features, technology and, in D’Marc’s case, access to a market through acquisitions.
WSJ: Schmidt said the company isn’t working on its own browser. Also, he refuted the idea that Google will be competing with eBay Express but said the company is testing ways to use its payment platform to speed up transforming consumer interest when looking at an ad into purchases.
: In what is described as a “rare” appearance, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer met with analysts and investors at a Sanford C. Bernstein conference to defend the company’s increased spending. “Being a little more generous in research and development than a little less is a smart thing to do,” Ballmer said, according to MKTW. That includes product development and acquisitions. MSN is one of the company’s R&D priorities.