Google is threatening to once again beat rival Microsoft to the deal punch, this time in the white-hot Facebook investment sweepstakes.
Microsoft and Google are each vying to take a stake of between 5 percent and 10 percent in Mark Zuckerberg's social-networking site, with a deal expected to be announced in the next 24 to 48 hours, according to three sources familiar with the situation.
Google, in keeping with its past modus operandi, has been trying to drive the price up to a point that would scare away Microsoft.
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Running point for the Internet giant in its talks with Facebook is Tim Armstrong, the same executive who helped Google elbow Microsoft out of a deal with AOL similar to the one being talked about with Facebook.
This time around, however, Microsoft is hanging tough, despite recent comments by CEO Steve Ballmer that social-networking sites were "a bit faddish."
One source said the Redmond, Wash.-based company is "willing to give any valuation possible" to keep Facebook away from Google.