Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer Takes Shots At Apple, Hints At Smartphone Future

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was speaking at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto on Monday when he made several comments directed right at the company’s main competitor Apple.

In his speech Ballmer said of Microsoft’s focus:

“We are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple. We are not. No space uncovered that is Apple’s.”

Ballmer noted that when it comes to productivity, enterprise management and manageability Microsoft has Apple beat, yet Microsoft wants to make sure other enterprise and major consumer avenues are not left unturned. As Ballmer told the crowd:

“But we are not going to let any piece of this [go uncontested to Apple]. 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.”

At the moment Microsoft’s biggest hopes against Apple come from the Microsoft Surface which was just recently announced, Ballmer says Microsoft workers are focusing much of their energy on the tablet.

When asked if Microsoft would jump directly into the smartphone game with their own device Ballmer responded:

“Right now we are working real hard on the Surface. That’s the focus. That’s our core. Look, we’ll see what happens. We have good partners with Nokia, HDC in the phone space. I love what we’ve got going on with the Surface. We are going to focus on Surface and our other Windows 8 Tablet partners and see if we can go make something happen.”

With the Slate receiving positive early reviews, Windows 8 due out in October with a rather cheap $40 upgrade fee and Nokia preparing to release the first Windows Phone 8 smartphone we may see a resurgence of Microsoft in late 2012.