Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer pokes fun at Google Android

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has poked fun at Google's Android platform during a Telstra Investor Day conference in Sydney today.

Google Android is Google's first entry into the smartphone operating system market. Open sourced, it aims to gather the best developers to create a wide range of applications for its platform. Apple, Research In Motion, Symbian and Microsoft are the current market leaders.

Starting off nicely, ballmer said "This is their first phone, they're not easy," and "Let's see how they do."

"They (Google) can hire smart guys, hire smart people, blah-de-blah-de-blah," Mr Ballmer said. "I don't really understand their strategy, maybe somebody else does."

"Turning up to an investor meeting saying, 'we've just launched a mobile operating system with no revenue model, yay!' – I wouldn't do that," he said. "I don't get the business model."

Along with Ballmer, many employees seem more willing (or able) to answer questions based on competitors in an open and candid manner. The "I'm a PC" campaign seems to be a broader effort for Microsoft to "fight back" at competitors who regularly bash Microsoft. Last week at Microsoft's PDC there were several references in sessions to Google and Apple's efforts in devices and web services respectively.

Microsoft also seems more willing to adopt competitor products by introducing the DivX and XviD playback codecs for WMP natively and demonstrating competitors web services like Flickr in major keynotes. Perhaps this is a shift of tactic for the company where it is aligning itself with customers in the real world where people use many different services today and not just those of Microsoft.

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