Ballmer: We won't let Apple out-innovate us

By announcing a Windows 8 tablet of its own design, Microsoft has made quite clear its intent to go toe-to-toe with Apple. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer echoed that position in a recent interview with CRN. While he conceded that Microsoft and its partners have previously "ceded some of the boundary between hardware and software innovation [to Apple]," he said the software giant doesn't plan to play catch-up anymore:

“We have our advantages in productivity,” he said. “We have our advantages in terms of enterprise management, manageability. We have got our advantages in terms of when you plug into server infrastructure in the enterprise.

"But we are not going to let any piece of this [go uncontested to Apple]," shouted Ballmer. "Not the consumer cloud. Not hardware software innovation. We are not leaving any of that to Apple by itself. Not going to happen. Not on our watch.

Yes, Ballmer apparently "shouted" that last response. No chairs were thrown during the interview, but CRN describes the CEO's tone as "exuberant." I think he meant business, folks.

Oh, and here's another interesting tidbit. When asked to comment on recent rumors about a Surface smartphone, Ballmer noted that Microsoft is currently hard at work on the Surface tablet, but he added, "Look, we'll see what happens." Considering the amount of polish that seems to have gone into the Surface tablet hardware, I'd be interested to see what a Surface phone would look like.

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