Microsoft has had a lot to say about Apple over the past couple days. The Redmond-based company is holding its annual Worldwide Partner Conference this week, and some recent comments from Microsoft COO Kevin Turner and CEO Steve Ballmer address the company’s stance on Apple as a competitor.
Apple CEO Tim Cook and the late Steve Jobs have spoken out multiple times on how the iPad and iPhone have pioneered the “post-PC era.” Instead of needing a traditional desktop computer, consumers are turning to tablets and smartphones for their everyday habits. Today, Microsoft’s Turner called Apple out on its post-PC label, saying “We actually believe Windows 8 is the new era for the PC plus.” Yesterday, Steve Ballmer said, “we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple.”
Tom Warren reports on Turner’s comments today for The Verge:
“Apple makes great hardware,” admitted Turner, “the reality is in the OS we see things differently.” Turner went on to discuss the company’s upcoming Mountain Lion operating system and some mixed press reaction to the future of OS X. “We believe that Apple has it wrong,” says turner. “They’ve talked about it being the post-PC era, they talk about the tablet and PC being different, the reality in our world is that we think that’s completely incorrect.”
What does “PC plus” mean, exactly? According to Turner, “We believe with a single push of a button you can move seamlessly in and out of both worlds.” Microsoft is pushing its Metro interface across all devices instead of designing tablet-specific, smartphone-specific, and desktop-specific platforms that point to one another. While iOS and OS X are certainly more similar than they were three years ago, both platforms are by no means the same. Microsoft wants developers to build an app and convert it to the Metro interface so it can be available across its entire product line. Apple wants apps that are optimally designed for each individual device, but all work within the same familiar boundaries. There’s a huge difference between those two approaches.
Tim Cook is right. Tablets are different from PCs. If they weren’t, PC sales wouldn’t be declining while tablet sales soar. And by tablet sales, I really mean the iPad.
Not to be outdone by his colleague today, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer had some opinions of his own to share yesterday. Speaking with CRN, Ballmer said “We are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple.” By “space,” Ballmer apparently means Microsoft’s “advantages in productivity,” “advantages in terms of enterprise management and manageability,” and “advantages in terms of when you plug into server infrastructure in the enterprise.”
Cult of Mac’s business and enterprise IT writer, Ryan Faas:
In the past two years, Apple has secured such a strong lead with the iPad and the framework for managing iOS devices, Microsoft can’t easily walk in and say they’re the best or most secure option out there.
Another major change over the past few years has been that BYOD programs and the initiative of staff members picking their mobile technology has completely changed how companies approach mobile. The days of IT buying the device and apps and having full control of it are gone. All one has to do is look at RIM’s slide in the market to recognize that.
More juiciness from Ballmer’s interview with CRN:
“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.
“We do feel empowered to innovate everywhere and bring our partners with us,” Ballmer said. “We are just not going to leave any — what’s the expression people like to use — We’re not going to leave any stone unturned, so to speak, as we pursue that.”
I’ll leave you with this nice mashup: