Within days of a failed attempt to acquire Yahoo, Microsoft may be going after Facebook in another attempt to challenge advertising giant, Google.   On Wednesday, May 8, 2008, a Wall Street Journal website, All Things Digital, rep

orted that Microsoft had “contacted” Facebook about acquiring the 98.4% of Facebook that it doesn’t own.   However, neither party is directly commenting on the rumors.   Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates remarked Wednesday that the company isn't pursuing other deals following the withdrawal of its $47.5 billion takeover bid for Yahoo and is, rather, going independent.   "Now at this point Microsoft is focused on its independent strategy," Gates told reporters at a news conference in Tokyo. Last October, Microsoft took a $240 million stake in Facebook, which valued the start-up at $15 billion. The potential bid to acquire Facebook may be another effort to strengthen its Web search and advertising strategy (which has consistently trailed behind Google) since the unsuccessful attempt to acquire Yahoo. Analysts, however, speculate that acquiring Facebook would not create a viable source for online advertising. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has long maintained he won’t sell Facebook and is, instead, working toward an initial public offering. Moreover, Facebook users don’t want to become a Microsoft property. At least three groups with such names as 'If Facebook sells to Microsoft, we're leaving', and 'Don't sell Facebook to Microsoft!' have appeared on Facebook where users are expressing anger at the site's potential acquisition by Microsoft. Facebook was founded in 2004 and has become a hot Internet property due to its steady rise to become the dominant social networking site and the allegiance of its users. Facebook has more than 70 million active users. By Kathleen Clark   FEEDBACK For comments on this article, email us at editorial@atelier-us.com