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Microsoft Windows 8 boss Steve Ballmer attacks Apple and Android

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Steve Ballmer

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer has launched an attack on Windows 8's two key rivals in the mobile market, Apple and Google Android.

Speaking with venture capitalist Reid Hoffman at a special event, Ballmer was asked to offer his appraisal of his company's biggest rivals in the mobile space. As reported by Cnet, he gave a frank response.

"The ecosystem of Android is a little wild," said Ballmer, pointing to its well documented issues with compatibility and susceptibility to malware. He put this down to the platform's unrestricted hardware requirements.

"Conversely, Apple's system looks highly controlled and quite high prices," he added, pointing to the $1,000 price of the iPhone in Russia.

"How do you get quality not at a premium price with not quite as controlled an ecosystem?" asked Ballmer, presumably rhetorically. His answer, of course is Windows 8 and its mobile offshoot, Windows Phone 8. "The best of both worlds is available to us," he reckons.

According to Ballmer, mobile operators desire a three horse race on the mobile platform front. "On the high end, they have Apple and Samsung and a sea at the low-end," he said, adding that "We have a customer set that wants an alternative."

Ballmer then called Windows Phone 8 "the most personal smart phone," arguing that "When you whip out your phone, you want to see the things that matter to you."

This is a reference to Windows Phone 8's live tile interface, which presents live information without the need to enter apps. It's most recently been displayed in handsets such as the Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC Windows Phone 8X.

Of course, Microsoft's performance in the mobile space hasn't exactly been stellar in recent years, but Ballmer maintains that "if anyone thinks hardware innovation in pocket devices is ending, they are nuts." In other words, it's not over yet.

Ballmer's target is "to get 10 percent of the smartphone market, and then 15 percent, and then 20 percent. We aren't trying to get to 60 percent overnight."

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