Ballmer admits he wants to acquire Yahoo

After all the denials, the truth: Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer has said he want to become a real competitor to Google - by buying Yahoo's online search business, sooner rather than later.

He told a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, "I think good ideas are usually better done quickly than slowly," in a joint interview with Qi Lu.

Lu is the former Yahoo search and advertising vice president who has just been hired as president of Microsoft's Online Services Group. As we speculated last week, Lu's presence could ease the transaction.

Ballmer seems to have missed the irony in the fact that Microsoft has made its first unsolicited bid for Yahoo last February.

In the meantime, Carl Icahn, billionaire and activist investor, has become a Yahoo board member and is calling for the deal with Microsoft to be done. However, according to the WSJ,  the entire board hasn't yet decided whether to pursue the strategy.

This one could still run and run into 2009.