Microsoft chief executive Steven Ballmer has ruled out any attempts to take over PeopleSoft, Oracle or SAP.
"We like our current strategy of competing aggressively in the small and medium-sized enterprise space," Ballmer said, fielding a volley of questions about potential acquisition targets at the Microsoft Executive Partner Summit in Lisbon.
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The queries were prompted by Microsoft's admission in June that it had been in talks to buy German software powerhouse SAP, and by its repeated emphasis this week of its ambitions in the business applications market.
But Ballmer ruled out any acquisition plans for Microsoft's rivals at the high end of that market. He emphasised that it was Microsoft that initiated - and broke off - the talks with SAP, saying the partnership would not have been a good fit.
He said Oracle lacked an operating system, and that even if it managed to take over PeopleSoft it would still be way behind SAP in the enterprise applications business.
Ballmer's remarks came as the company talked up its business applications plans to partners in Europe, predicting that it will become a lucrative market.
And while a large takeover looks unlikely for Microsoft, Ballmer said he expects to see further consolidation and that Microsoft may consider smaller purchases.
Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service