SAP Acquisition a "Rumor," Microsoft says

Microsoft head Steve Ballmer dispelled speculation about a purchase of SAP.


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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer on Tuesday said speculation the company may buy German software firm SAP was a 'random rumor.'

"I have nothing to say about rumors of acquisitions ... positively or negatively," he told reporters in Mumbai, when asked about an acquisition of SAP.

"It strikes me as a random rumor."

Microsoft, the world's top software firm, on Monday sold a $3.75 billion debt issue, sparking talk that it could be readying a bid for the German firm.

SAP's Co-Chief Executive Leo Apothekar said on Monday he believed the business software maker should stay independent, following the fresh speculation in European markets that Microsoft could bid for it.

Rumors have periodically surfaced that either IBM or Microsoft might acquire the German firm.


Ballmer said Microsoft's plan to lay off 5,000 people globally over 18 months to save $1.5 billion annually, was mostly completed, as long as the economy did not markedly deteriorate further.

"Assuming the economy only stays as bad as it is and doesn't get dramatically worse we will finish our plan, but if it gets dramatically worse again, which I guess is conceivable, we will debate again."

Ballmer said Microsoft was hiring in some areas, although he would not be drawn on whether staff numbers in India would rise.

"These are global additions and it is a little hard to separate our work globally from our work in India."

Microsoft has about 5,000 employees in India, the largest workforce outside the United States, a situation that was unlikely to change, he said.

Copyright 2009 Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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