Steve Ballmer says Microsoft won't 'leave any space uncovered to Apple'

Steve Ballmer delivered a fair bit of news during his keynote at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto yesterday, but it looks like he saved some of his stronger words for an interview he gave to CRN following his talk. In it, he boldly said that "we are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple," adding, "not the consumer cloud. Not hardware software innovation. We are not leaving any of that to Apple by itself. Not going to happen. Not on our watch." Asked if that included a change in its smartphone strategy, Ballmer said that "right now we are working real hard on the Surface. That's the focus. That's our core," although he did add a "look, we'll see what happens" before talking up its current partners. He also reaffirmed that Microsoft's retail stores and website will be the primary sources for Surface tablets initially, noting that the company's focus was on putting "one foot in front of the other" and getting it out the door, although he added that there's nothing stopping partners from ordering them from and selling them.