Bloomberg News reports that Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) has threatened to start a proxy war for Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) and to drop its offer price if it does not get a response from its board. CNNMoney reports that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has set a three-week deadline for a response from Yahoo! Microsoft is making noises about cutting its $44.6 billion offer for Yahoo!, arguing that the U.S. economic slowdown has hurt Yahoo!’s business.
Microsoft offered Yahoo! $31 a share on January 31st — 62% above its price the day before — and Yahoo! rejected the offer on February 11. Meanwhile, Yahoo! and Microsoft have lost share in the U.S. search market while Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) has gained share. Specifically, Yahoo!’s share fell from 22.2% in January to 21.6% in February while Microsoft ‘s dropped from 9.8% to 9.6%. Google’s rose to 59.2% from 58.5% in January.