At a recent Tokyo press conference, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had some interesting things to say about Google and its new Android OS, the mobile phone OS that Google has in development. Ballmer has a penchant for colorful remarks; for example. he recently likened his relationship with Microsoft founder and good friend Bill Gates to a marriage which has produced many, many children. Ballmer was at it again, raining harsh criticism on Google, dismissing Android OS as nothing but a press release. He also stated that he would like to welcome Google into "Microsoft's world," apparently referring to the mobile phone market. He said, "Right now they have a press release, we have many, many millions of customers, great software, many hardware devices and they're welcome in our world." His remarks seem slightly curious as Microsoft is dominated in market share of the mobile phone market by the more widespread Symbian OS. Ballmer refused to comment on the Android software itself, instead simply sticking to a general critique of Google policy. He said that he felt that Android OS was vaporware at the present and could not be compared to Microsoft's mobile phone OS, Windows Mobile. "Well of course their efforts are just some words on paper right now, it's hard to do a very clear comparison [with Windows Mobile]," he said. Perhaps he might be able to comment soon, as Google has released a concrete initial version of its Software Development Kit for the Android OS, something that competitor Apple Inc., still has been unable to do for the iPhone due to alleged security issues. Google also spread even more love by offering a $10 million USD bounty for "Cool Apps" from third parties for the platform. Ballmer says he is not threatened by Google, but that Microsoft is watching them like a hawk. "So we have great momentum, we've brought our Windows Mobile 6 software to market, we're driving forward on our future releases and we'll have to see what Google does," said Ballmer. Google's Android OS is based on Linux and is under a modified open-source Apache license. It is being co-developed by "the Open Handset Alliance," which includes industry giants such as T-Mobile, Sprint Nextel, Samsung Electronics, and LG Electronics. Google's Android OS generated a tremendous amount of buzz in the online community months before its true nature was unveiled. Ballmer is not the only one who has been making comments deriding Android OS. Symbian OS CEO Nigel Clifford, also made a similar remark at a Tokyo press conference several days prior. "One of the reactions [to Android OS] is, it's another Linux platform," Clifford stated. "There's 10, 15, 20, maybe 25 different Linux platforms out there. It sometimes appears that Linux is fragmenting faster than it unifies." Whether Android OS will be a hit or miss remains to be seen, but it appears to be making competitors slightly antsy and generating some new interesting comments to add to Microsoft's colorful public relations history.
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