Microsoft is saying without saying that it’s not going to raise its offer for Yahoo. According to the Journal:

Such pronouncements are standard in deal negotiations but people close to Microsoft insist the stance isn’t posturing.

Right.

I’m not sure why Microsoft feels the need to plant this signal now. Maybe it’s the prospect of watching Google, which just closed its DoubleClick acquisition, steal a march on online display ads while Steve Ballmer twiddles his thumbs waiting for a phone call from Jerry Yang. Maybe Microsoft figures Yahoo’s just-closed first quarter will be awful enough that $31 a share will start to look pretty good to Yahoo’s board.

But I’m still betting some kind of sweetened offer—even an all-cash offer for the original $31—will do the trick eventually.

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