Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has thrown in the towel.

Bloomberg reports that Microsoft has dropped out of the auction to buy online video streamer Hulu, although the "person with knowledge of the matter" didn't rule out the possibility that Microsoft could come back to the bidding table. For now, the software giant may be a little gun-shy after spending a good chunk of change on a recent dubious purchase.

The original pool of bigwig potential suitors has been slimming down. Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) apparently has little interest in gobbling up Hulu, either. Who's still left at the bargaining table?

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) are still likely potential front-runners. AT&T and Verizon have been mentioned as possible buyers, but I'm not sure how much sense this purchase would make for them. I agree with fellow Fool Anders Bylund that Yahoo! probably wouldn't be able to compete in a full-fledged bidding war. My bet on the eventual match will be either Google or Amazon.com. There are plenty of reasons Google and Hulu could be a match made in heaven.

But I tend to think Amazon would benefit the most from the acquisition. Amazon is clearly interested in expanding its online video-streaming presence. Amazon's recent streaming deals may show that the company is fully capable of going down that path organically and willing to do so, but it could decide to cut to the chase. If Amazon were to buy Hulu and bundle all of its content together in its Amazon Prime service at the same price point, that would be a very compelling value proposition.

There's even some speculation that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) may be stepping up to the plate. Apple has been dominating the digital-music industry for years but has struggled to make any meaningful progress in online video streaming, claiming only a 4% share compared with Netflix's commanding 61%, according to a study done earlier this year by The NPD Group. Dropping a few billion on a Hulu acquisition wouldn't hurt Apple's cash position too much and could be quite a force to be reckoned with if paired with the rumored upgraded Apple TV set -- not the current cute little black box that the company calls just a "hobby."

Who do you think would benefit most from a Hulu acquisition? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Amazon, AT&T, and Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Yahoo!, Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Amazon.com, Yahoo!, Netflix, Google, and Microsoft, creating a bull call spread position in Apple, and buying puts in Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.