Steve Ballmer is imitating his CEO predecessor by suggesting that Apple separate its iPhone hardware from OS X, according to Ars Technica.
Nokia leads the smartphone market today with about a 30 percent share, he said. "If you want to reach more than that, you have to separate the hardware and software in the platform," he said in an discussion forum with the Churchill Club, a Silicon Valley business and technology group.
In 1985, Bill Gates approached Apple (and its then-CEO, John Sculley) with prospects in hand to convince it to license Mac OS to third-party vendors. As we all know, that didn't happen (at least not with Microsoft as a partner), keeping the bond tight between Apple hardware and software. Microsoft wound up doing it themselves with Windows.
The idea that Ballmer thinks other companies should be more like Microsoft isn't shocking at all; in fact, what else was the man supposed to say? Like Jobs with Apple, Ballmer's talks and interviews wield a great deal of influence on Microsoft's stock price. If he said anything other than what he did, MSFT would have taken a hit. As CEO, that's unconscionable.