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Ballmer says Microsoft must combine hardware and software

Uniting the two will help it compete against Apple and Google
Thu Nov 15 2012, 11:34
Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer

MICROSOFT CEO Steve Ballmer has said that the software developer of Windows and Microsoft Office must combine hardware and software to compete with Apple and Google, Bloomberg reports.

Speaking with venture capitalist Reid Hoffman at an event in Santa Clara, California on Wednesday, Ballmer said the company recognises "there's an innovation opportunity" by collaborating across hardware and software with devices like its Surface tablet in consumer services, enterprise solutions and media entertainment content, and won't surrender those markets to competitors.

As well as saying that Microsoft must unite its software and hardware divisions, Ballmer named Apple's Iphone and Google's Android when asked about the company's biggest rivals in the mobile industry.

"The ecosystem of Android is a little wild," Ballmer said, highlighting Android's challenges with compatibility and vulnerability to malware due to its open platform.

"Conversely, Apple's system looks highly controlled and quite high priced," he added, mentioning the steep $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?" Ballmer asked. Answering his own question, he of course referred to Windows 8 and its mobile version, Windows Phone 8. "The best of both worlds is available to us," he added.

Last week, Ballmer admitted that sales of its Surface tablet have got off to a slow start. Speaking to a French newspaper, Ballmer confessed that sales of the Windows RT powered device had started "modestly", quickly changing the subject and plugging the firm's planned launch of its Intel powered Surface Pro tablet in January. µ


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