Microsoft CEO, in Herzliya: Our Company Almost as Israeli as American

Steve Ballmer attends inauguration of new R&D center, says Tel Aviv is like Silicon Valley.

Microsoft's Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, on a visit to Israel, said Wednesday that Microsoft is an Israeli company almost as much as it is American.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the American software giant's new research and development center in Herzliya, Ballmer said that the proportion of Microsoft employees per capita in Israel is almost similar to that in the United States.

Ballmer also noted that the IT sector in Israel is very advanced, and that Tel Aviv is a lot like the Silicon Valley. He said he knows very few places around the world that offer such a variety of startup opportunities, and that his company intends to purchase more Israeli startup companies.

In addition, the CEO said Microsoft is not looking to buy all of Yahoo! but is currently engaging in negotiations about other types of deals with the U.S. No. 2 search engine.

"We are not bidding to buy Yahoo!," Ballmer said. "Yet, we are trying to have discussions about deals with Yahoo that might create value, but not a whole acquisition of the company," he said without elaborating further.