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Ballmer warns Microsoft is 'not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple'

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Microsoft's Steve Ballmer has laid down a company challenge to Apple, revealing it plans to battle in the hardware and software space.

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Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has promised the software maker will continue to compete against Apple. Sparking memories of the fierce battle between Mac and PC during the 1990's, Ballmer has been touting the company's advantages at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference this week. Speaking to CRN, Ballmer says "we are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple."

Microsoft is currently readying Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, and a future Xbox for consumers and Ballmer says he won't let any pieces 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." His comments follow a Vanity Fair article from last week that dug into Microsoft's mixed management decisions and a decision by the firm to take a $6.2 billion write off on its aQuantive buyout. "We have our advantages in productivity," says Ballmer, discussing the company's enterprise management and support. "We have got our advantages in terms of when you plug into server infrastructure in the enterprise."

Ballmer also discusses the possibility of Microsoft making its own smartphone during the interview. Describing Surface as the company's core focus, Ballmer says "we'll see what happens" and that the company has "good partners with Nokia, HTC 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."