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Monday, February 04, 2008, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

Apple among those considering rival bid for Yahoo?

Global giants including Apple Inc. and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. are considering rival bids for the internet search icon Yahoo, which has received a $44.6 billion offer from Microsoft, the Scotsman is reporting.

Though the report cites no sources, it points to a statement on Yahoo's website that says that company will seek acquisition proposals from other companies, evaluate all of its strategic alternatives, and then "pursue the option that it believes can best maximise value for our shareholders."

In addition to Apple and News Corp., several other firms are reported to be unwilling to allow Microsoft to gobble up Yahoo without a fight, including American media conglomerate InterActiveCorp and leading Chinese search firms such as Alibaba.com.

"Yahoo chief executive and co-founder Jerry Yang is understood not to be Microsoft's greatest fan, and would be prepared to line up another 'white knight' rather than concede to Ballmer," the Scotsman wrote in its report. "It is believed he would be particularly open to a rescue bid from Steve Jobs' Apple Corp, having openly expressed his admiration for the firm in the past."

In an effort to help boost sagging moral at the once thriving internet search company, Yang this past October called upon Jobs to deliver a motivational speech at a company meeting consisting of approximately 300 of Yahoo's top brass.

The message delivered by Jobs was that Yahoo — a company with one of the largest Internet user bases — can do and achieve anything. Like Apple, he said, Yahoo retains some incredibly valuable assets, but now needs to focus on execution.