In July, Ballmer issued a widely publicized email to employees
acknowledging the looming threat presented by Apple, in which he
outlined a cause of action that, among other things, suggested
Microsoft follow the example set forth by its rival in providing the
same "narrow but complete" experience to its customers going forward.

Ballmer was quick to criticize those same strategies during a dinner
at the Churchill Club in Silicon Valley this week. He said Nokia,
Research in Motion and Apple will all lose out as the market expands
over the next five years... [He suggested] that the same strategy
that helped Microsoft dominate the PC market will inevitably win out
in the mobile space as well.

Of those mobile platforms left standing and battling for the biggest
piece of the pie will be the open source Symbian OS, mobile versions
of Linux, and his very own Windows Mobile, Ballmer claimed.

The market indicates otherwise

According to mobile market tracker Canalys however, it has been
Microsoft's Windows Mobile share of the market that has slid
precipitously, falling from 23% in the first quarter of 2004 to 18%
the next year, and 12% in 2006, where it remained through 2007. In the
fourth quarter of 2007, Apple grabbed 7% of the worldwide smartphone
share, despite being limited to one model and primarily one provider
in one country. It's expected that Apple will match or overshadow
Windows Mobile sales worldwide this year, and the iPhone has already
trounced Windows Mobile in the US and as a browsing platform.

Ballmer similarly argued that Apple will fail to see further Mac share
gains or make strides in the enterprise market...

"I'm not saying there isn't a threat" he added. But if we "do our jobs
right, there's really no reason Apple should get any footprint in the

Just a month ago, Benjamin Gray of Forrester Research pointed out that
the Mac had taken 4.5% of the enterprise market in June, despite
Apple's apparent lack of any targeted efforts to push its systems.
Microsoft's Windows Vista, a year and a half after launch, had still
only reached 8.8% deployment in the enterprise. That was far short of
Microsoft's original goal of 20% Vista adoption by the end of 2007.