Ballmer at the Microsoft Surface unveiling earlier this year.

During an interview with Mashable today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was asked for his thoughts on Apple CEO Tim Cook’s characterization of the new Microsoft Surface tablet as “compromised and confusing.”

So what does the Microsoft CEO think about that? “We’ll give them a run for their money,” Ballmer said in the interview, saying of Cook, “I’m glad he’s paying attention.”

The situation illustrates how Apple has turned the tech world upside down with the iPad and iPhone, turning Microsoft into an underdog in two of the fastest-growing markets for personal computing and devices. The comments by Cook and Ballmer also illustrate a philosophical divide between the companies.

Ballmer reiterated in the Mashable interview that he believes the markets for tablets and PCs are merging, as exemplified by Windows 8’s ability to run across a variety of devices, including desktop computers, touch-screen tablets and a variety of hybrid devices that mix elements of those two worlds.

The Microsoft CEO famously scoffed at the iPhone when the Apple device debuted in 2007.

Today’s interview took place after the San Francisco launch event for Windows Phone 8 earlier today.

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  • John Molloy

    Well… Apple have a lot of money. Sounds like they have more than enough to keep up.

    • Seattle Startup


  • Dave

    Geez, it’s not a pecker contest, Ballmer. Stop beating your chest. How about shipping a product people actually want?

  • Guest

    Kudos to Steve! While the competition in the “post-PC era” dangles 10-inchers and 7-inchers and 4-inchers without much meaningful innovation, Microsoft is thrusting forward with bold and exotic new techniques. Customers are already being delighted by their venerable and trusted partner.

    • leero

      he, he! Oh, wait – was this not tongue-in-cheek? I thought it was another pecker contest comment…

  • erica

    Tim Cook is the one who has been beating his chest. At the mini ipad reveal all he could do was bad mouth nexus and now he is doing the same to microsoft. I hate to say it but I don”t have much hope for apple in the years to come without Steve Jobs.

  • Gil Walker

    Its so bad i wouldn’t start calling apple out just yet. They might actually take you seriously.

  • Phil

    MS has a loooong way to go to compete with Apple whose iPhone made more money last year that all of MS’s products & services combined. Nonetheless, competition is always good.

  • guest

    Has Ballmer ever made a prediction and been right?

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