Microsoft will step up its rivalry with Google through increased investment in search technology regardless of whether or not the company successfully acquires Yahoo, according to chairman Bill Gates.
Since Yahoo rejected Microsoft's $44.6bn (£22.4bn) takeover bid, a future merger of the two organisations has seemed uncertain.
But even if no deal takes place, Microsoft will aim to grow its share of the global search market, said Gates in an interview with Reuters.
"We can afford to make big investments in the engineering and marketing that needs to get done. We will do that with or without Yahoo," said Gates, who is due to stand down from his day-to-day work at Microsoft in July this year.
"But we also see that we'd get there faster if the great engineering work that Yahoo has done and the great engineers there were part of the common effort."
Gates declined to comment on whether Microsoft will increase its bid for the search giant.
Earlier this week sources at Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba also told Reuters that the organisation would push for greater influence over any potential Yahoo merger.
While Yahoo is the largest shareholder of Alibaba, owning 39 per cent of its stock, the group's upper board continue to hold sway over the company's operations.
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