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Thursday, November 19, 2009, 08:15 pm PT (11:15 pm ET)

Microsoft shareholders grill CEO about Apple, iPhone

Shareholders questioned Microsoft execs at their annual meeting about Apple's growing reputation among the "next generation" of technology consumers.

Microsoft held its yearly shareholders' meeting Thursday with CEO Steve Balmer along with Chairman Bill Gates in attendance. While Gates did not take or answer any questions, Ballmer took questions on a variety of topics from Apple to Android.

According to TechFlash, shareholders questioned Ballmer about Microsoft's slipping reputation among college students and Apple's apparent gains among the same segment of consumers. "I'm just wondering why your marketing group can't do something to try to rein in this next generation, because you've got a real bad image out there," one shareholder reportedly said.

Ballmer responded that "opportunities for improvement" did exist and acknowledged that there "is a group of people with whom our market share is less." He ultimately played down Apple's growing market share, reportedly adding, "it is important to remember that 96 times out of 100 worldwide, people choose a PC with Windows, that's a good thing."

Another shareholder questioned Ballmer about Microsoft's plans to best both the iPhone and Google's Android mobile OS. Ballmer reportedly answered, "I think we're on the right strategy, which is to focus on the software that goes into phones, as opposed to building phones."

AppleInsider reported earlier in the year that Apple's Mac home market share had more than tripled in the past five years.

In October, Apple's CEO Steve Jobs was voted as being the most admired entrepreneur among teens 12 to 17 years of age.