Given some of the major mergers and acquisitions we've seen in the past five, or even ten years, it's becoming increasingly difficult to be truly impressed or shocked about a move. But envision a headline saying that Microsoft acquired Valve. If you were a PC gamer, your heart would probably skip a few beats, and after recovering from the fainting, you'd be hazily hitting up Snopes.
This exact acquisition has been floating around rumorspace for a very long time, but recently, a report that Microsoft was looking to acquire either EA or Valve began to make the possibility feel more real. Either would be an enormous buy for Microsoft, but it's not outside the realm of possibility that the company has toyed with the idea before.
In this case, and based on everything we know about the Windows Store, Steam fans have reason to calm their anxious hearts down. After being emailed by a fan concerned by the rumor, Gabe Newell simply replied, "Not that I'm aware of." in response to a question about whether or not such a deal is going to go down. Short, and to the point.
Newell is a very hard man to read sometimes, so if you analyzed these five simple words to death, you may wonder why he didn't flat-out deny it. But Valve is a very well-run company, and it seems unlikely Newell would want to compromise its independence and in effect, everything he's built. It would be an interesting move if it were to happen, however, as Newell worked at Microsoft for over a decade before co-founding Valve. Word has it that he was much happier with Windows in those days.