Apple and News Corp. may make rival bids for Yahoo to see off Microsoft's hostile takeover bid for the internet company.

Microsoft delivered its hostile $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo last week. Yahoo CEO and co-founder Jerry Yang is no fan of Microsoft and is attempting to find a counter-deal to help protect the company from being submerged into the Redmond giant.

Yang rejected a similar offer from Microsoft one year ago. Since the second bid, Yang has spent time in contact with allies across the technology industry to secure a "white knight" partner, reports claim.

Other contenders in the battle for the company include conglomerate InterActiveCorp, according to a report in The Scotsman. Analysts also beliece one or more of China's leading search enging firms may also enter the fray.

The Yahoo board is clearly open to offers in its attempt to remain independent of Microsoft: "Will the board seek proposals from any other companies? The board is going to evaluate all of Yahoo's strategic alternatives and pursue the option that it believes can best maximise value for our shareholders," the company said in a response to the deal which it published online.

Microsoft seems ready to up its bid, underlining the importance which the company attaches to the acquisition. The company needs to bolster its ailing internet business in order to guarantee success in the future market for online ads spending.

Microsoft holds just 4 per cent of the global search market, Yahoo 13 per cent. Google dominates in this space with 66 per cent of the global web search market.

Microsoft regards success in the deal as an essential element to creating a sizeable competitor to Google in the market.

Google now is warning that the deal could threaten the interoperability at the heart of the internet, pointing to Microsoft's past regulatory transgressions and suggesting the company may file complaints with global anti-trust aiuthorities should it get the go-ahead.

AMR Research analyst Jonathan Yarmis told The Scotsman: "Microsoft has to do this deal. It's a battle that Microsoft needs to win."