Microsoft has pre-empted the announcement of Yahoo's quarterly results saying that its takeover bid stands whatever the outcome is.

Its $43.2 billion offer for Yahoo was rejected way back in February, but a battle of words has been raging ever since with the computing giant refusing to raise its offer and Yahoo refusing to accept the deal on the table.

Chief executive Steve Ballmer told journalists at the launch of Microsoft's Web portal for North Africa: "We think we can accelerate our strategy by buying Yahoo and will pay what makes sense for our shareholders".

He continued: "I wish Yahoo all the success with its results but it doesn't affect the value of Yahoo to Microsoft".

But, to make matters more complicated, various other players have been mentioned in the rumour mill surrounding the deal.

AOL was mooted to be in merger talks with Yahoo although all has been quiet on this front for several weeks now.

And then there was the suggestion that media magnate Rupert Murdoch was interested in buying Yahoo himself.

Murdoch blew this rumour out of the water, saying he was unprepared to take on the might of Microsoft, but now Reuters is today reporting that Murdoch may be a player in this game after all.

But it may work with Microsoft as opposed to against it.

In response to a reporter's question about his interest in pursuing a bid with Microsoft for Yahoo, Murdoch said: "[It] depends on the deal".

Murdoch added: "I certainly can't afford to bid against Microsoft [for Yahoo]".

The deadline for Yahoo's board to accept a deal with Microsoft is Saturday.