Google was yesterday’s biggest foe for Microsoft.
Now it’s Apple.
In an interview with trade publication CRN at the company’s partner conference in Toronto, Steve Ballmer made it absolutely clear that Microsoft is now gunning for Apple. Just in case there were any lingering doubts, after Microsoft revealed its first tablet computers.
“We are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple,” Ballmer told CRN. “We are not. No space uncovered that is Apple’s.”
It’s a far more confrontational tone from Microsoft’s chief executive, whose past public comments have mostly deflected questions about competition with Apple. He didn’t even mention the company by name during the conference’s opening keynote.
Ballmer (shown above in a Microsoft picture from the Surface unveiling in June) told CRN that Microsoft has advantages over Apple in productivity, enterprise management and server infrastructure.
Battle zones include consumer cloud services and hardware-software innovation, he said.
“We are not leaving any of that to Apple by itself,” he said. “Not going to happen. Not on our watch.”
Some could argue that it has already happened on the current watch, but the next chapter of personal computing has yet to be written.
With Windows 8 Microsoft has an opportunity to redefine the PC and reset expectations for Windows systems. Yet it also risks alienating computer makers who have the option of turning to Google’s free operating systems and revenue-generating cloud services.
Meanwhile some analysts are expecting Apple to have a few tough quarters ahead, which coincidentally is when Microsoft will be releasing a huge wave of new products.
Still, nobody’s yet predicting that Microsoft’s valuation will reach $1 triliion.