Ballmer's software Imperium is seeking to expand its gaming division, now that everything is getting interesting with its Kinect and Xbox Live and according to Develop he has his eye on Activisions Bizarre subsidiary.
Liverpool based Bizarre and its 200 employees may soon be up for grabs. Rumours are that there are several outfits interested in buying the studio, including Microsoft.
"Microsoft aren't stupid," Develop's source said. "They know we're talented and have spoken to Activision about us."
Redmond is not officially commenting. Activision reportedly paid $67.4 million in 2007 for Bizarre.
The outfit came up with "Project Gotham Racing" which was a been a big hit for the Xbox 360. Lately it has not done so well with "Blur" and the new James Bond title, "007: Blood Stone," getting an average reception.
But this makes it the sort of outfit Redmond buys. The Imperium has acquired several games studios which have not done well. These included "GoldenEye" maker Rare in 2002 after key staff departures there, and "Fable" developer Lionhead Studios in 2006
Then there was "Halo" creator Bungie in 2000 which became independent again in 2007 - Microsoft Game Studios is taking over the "Halo" franchise now that Bungie has released "Halo: Reach."