Steve Ballmer disses every hardware manufacturer but Apple and Microsoft

Sorry Dell, HP and Lenovo

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Microsoft's entrance into laptop manufacturing has caused a lot of tension among its hardware partners Dell, HP and Lenovo. A recent comment made by the company's former CEO certainly isn't going to help.

During an interview with Bloomberg, Steve Ballmer said the only company that can compete with Microsoft in hardware manufacturing is Apple.

"Microsoft will give [Apple] a good run for their money...Nobody else really tries to compete with them anymore, really seriously, in hardware...If there's going to be any competition for Apple at all, it will be from Microsoft," the former chief executive said.

"A Surface Book is not an iMac or an iPad, but it's a new category. It's an innovative category. The truth of the matter is: who is going to get to those categories first? Microsoft or Apple. Those are really the only two companies who have that software/hardware skill."

What about Dell, HP and Lenovo?

When Microsoft asked Lenovo, a long-standing Microsoft hardware reseller, to sell its recently-released Surface Pro products, Lenovo declined the company's offer because it sees the Surface Pro as a device that competes in the same space as Lenovo's laptops and hybrid Yoga devices.

Dell and HP, both of which chose to be Microsoft Surface Pro resellers, but not Surface Book resellers, are also peeved.

Marius Haas, Dell's President of Enterprise Solutions, even went as far as saying his company is "not happy about that," in reference to Microsoft's unveiling of the Surface Book.

Despite the tension, all four companies (and Intel) worked together to create the "PC does what" ad campaign, which is designed to highlight the new capabilities of modern laptops in an attempt to boost sales for a sluggish market that declined more than 10% this quarter, according to IDC.

What else did Ballmer say?

Ballmer lobbed a more direct insult at Microsoft rival Amazon.

In response to a recent report claiming Amazon is a horrible place to work, Ballmer said Amazon is a place where "people don't want to work...Anybody who ever left Microsoft [for Amazon], we could count on them coming back within a year or two because it's not a great place to work to do innovative stuff as an engineer."

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