Apple hasn't been shy about giving its opinion on WIndows this week — CEO Tim Cook said the Microsoft Surface was a "compromised" and "confusing" product, while senior VP Phil Schiller said PC makers were "afraid" to remove legacy hardware from their computers. Microsoft's president of the Windows division, Steven Sinosfky, apparently took notice and defended the value of the Windows ecosystem and threw a little jab in at the iPad mini while he was at it. Talking to All Things D, Sinofsky called the new lineup of Windows 8 devices "fantastic machines" and noted the extremely low starting price of $279, though it's not clear specifically which device he was referring to.

He reportedly said those machines would be good enough to get a student through college and then went on to say, "here we are, talking about seven-inch recreational tablets for $329." While he avoided mentioning the iPad mini by name, it's pretty obvious which tablet he's referring, especially given the timing of his comments. While we feel like there's room for both categories of products in the marketplace, there's something comforting in seeing old rivals Microsoft and Apple squaring off against each other ahead of a huge holiday season for both companies.