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Andy Rubin

Speaking at the Web 2.0 conference yesterday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer didn’t hold back when asked for his take on phones running Google’s Android operating system, calling the user experience inconsistent and difficult to learn.

“You don’t need to be a computer scientist to use a Windows Phone,” Ballmer said. “I think you do to use an Android phone.”

So how does Google feel? Answering questions on stage at the AsiaD conference in Hong Kong today, Google mobile chief Andy Rubin called the Metro user interface and guidelines for Windows Phone a “bold move” typical of an underdog. But he said it “could be very dangerous for Microsoft,” restricting the ability of app developers and designers to express their own creativity.

In other words, Rubin thinks Microsoft is being too consistent.

Google’s approach is winning so far, as low-cost Android devices rise to the top of the market. Microsoft, which reset its user interface with the Windows Phone 7 launch, is banking on the new “Mango” update and a partnership with Nokia to reverse its fortunes.

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