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Microsoft represents only serious competition for Apple hardware, Steve Ballmer says

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Microsoft is the only company poised to give Apple serious competition in terms of hardware, former Chief Executive Steve Ballmer commented on a Bloomberg TV show Friday morning.

"Microsoft will give them a good run for their money," Ballmer told the hosts of Bloomberg Go. "Nobody else has really tried to compete with them anymore really seriously in hardware...If there's going to be any competition at all for Apple it will come from Microsoft."

Ballmer suggested that only Samsung and Microsoft were going after products like the Mac and the iPad, and that of the two, only Microsoft has the "software and the hardware capability" to do it.

He further argued that while it's not essential for Microsoft to dip into Apple's existing marketshare, it is important to gain a toehold in new categories, using the Surface Book as an example. The Book is Microsoft's first self-designed laptop, which can not only detach its screen for use as a tablet, but is claimed to be twice as fast as a similarly-sized MacBook Pro.

On the prospect of an Apple Car, Ballmer said it's a "much bigger leap to do cars than it is most of the things they've tried," although companies other than Tesla should be able to put intelligent software in vehicles. "Maybe Apple gets there, I don't know," he concluded.