Microsoft going the independent way…. Really?

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said Wednesday the company isn’t pursuing other deals following the withdrawal of its $47.5 billion takeover bid for Yahoo.

He said in Tokyo that the company put “a lot of effort” in the talks with Yahoo and has decided the two should pursue “independent paths.”

Microsoft’s intense pursuit of Yahoo was widely seen as an acknowledgment of weaknesses in Microsoft’s solo Web search and advertising strategy, and the software maker now needs to prove it can innovate without Yahoo as a partner.

Possible partners for Microsoft in the future might include large Internet companies such as Time Warner Inc.’s AOL and News Corp.’s MySpace and promising startups such as Facebook Inc. (Microsoft already owns a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook) and LinkedIn Corp.