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MENLO PARK, CA. — It's hardly a secret that Microsoft and Facebook are negotiating over the purchase of a high-valued stake in the hot social network. But why would Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer be so foolish as to pick the Stanford Park Hotel as their meeting place for a final round of negotiations? The hotel, practically at the intersection of El Camino Real, the Main Street of Silicon Valley, and Sand Hill Road, the center of venture capital, is as public a spot as one could choose. And hotel-staff gossip, according to a Valleywag informant, has it that Ballmer and Zuckerberg were set to meet there this afternoon. A manager, when asked, said "important people" were meeting in the hotel's boardroom. Another source says that Ballmer was so eager to clinch the deal that he offered to head straight from the airport to Facebook's Palo Alto headquarters — an option dismissed for the more-private hotel. Oops.