Only days after an embarrassing parting of ways with Windows 8 architect Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is back to his industry-slaying form, laying into Apple for its high prices and Google's Android for its record on mobile security.
During a public interview with Ballmer by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Redmond's excitable front man slipped in the criticism of Microsoft's mobile rivals into a wide-ranging discussion of Microsoft's business units.
Apple, he noted, had based its model on selling hardware that was "highly controlled" and "high-priced," while Google's Android had become "wild" and uncontrolled to the extent that malware now targeted the platform on a large scale.
None of these are new or original comments that haven't been made by many other commentators but they do offer an insight into how Microsoft might try and balance the issue of price, security and openness as it develops Windows Phone 8.
Windows Phone would be a "controlled, but maybe not as controlled [an] ecosystem," without the high prices, he claimed.
"Maybe because we live in a country where every phone is subsidised you might forget it.But in Russia last week, you had to pay $1,000 for an iPhone. So in Russia, you're not going to sell many iPhones," he said.
When it comes to security, no company on earth has been more criticised for complacency than Microsoft which took a huge dent to its reputation for reliable dullness in the years after the launch in 2001 of the (the world later learned) security-marred Windows XP.
Microsoft simply didn't see the scale the malware threat heading towards its platform and, by implication, in Ballmer's view Google is now treading the same road with Android.
Ballmer was more evasive regarding the reasons for the departure of Windows 8 architect Steven Sinofsky. "Sinofsky's departure was his decision. We wish him well," the Techcrunch website reported him as saying.
It looks as if unless Sinofsky makes any further comments, that is as far as Ballmer or Microsoft will go on this week's unexpected and odd turn of events.
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