Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has said the corporation will focus on an "independent path," making up to 20 small deals in the next year of $50 million to $1 billion each. Even that figure could take it into the realm of an investment in a firm like Facebook.

Ballmer was speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

"If at some point it makes sense, maybe then it makes sense. But that's not where we are going. We are driving in an independent direction," said Ballmer in a question-and-answer session recorded by Reuters.

Ballmer indicated it wouldn't be out of the question for Microsoft to join forces with another key player to target Google's web domination. Microsoft has long been linked with a Yahoo tie-up.

Microsoft's $6 billion acquisition of online advertising company aQuantive this year was unusual, since Microsoft normally favours lower-priced acquisitions. However, the corporation does have a $20 billion-plus cash pile.