Ballmer: He knows when you're using a Mac

So what does Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer do when he faces a room of press and financial analysts toting a bunch of Macs. He counts Apple logos.

So what does Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer do when he faces a room of press and financial analysts toting a bunch of Macs. He counts Apple logos.

The man knows when you're using a Mac. He knows when your Vista PC is awake. It's unclear if Ballmer knows if you've been bad or good, but you get the idea.

During his talk about search, netbooks, Windows 7 and the business climate, Ballmer took a detour into Apple-ville and how Microsoft tracks share versus Apple.

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Roll the transcript:

We have low share, by the way, in the investor audience. I can see the Apple logos versus the PC logos. So we have more work to do, more work to do. Our share is lower in this audience than the average audience. Don't hide it. I've already counted them. I have been doing that since we started talking.

Anyway, we got a bank them right here in the middle. I know where they all are. One over here on the side. But anyway... that's okay, feel free as long as you are using Office to go right on ahead.

Ballmer acknowledged that he keeps tabs on Apple share, but notes his company takes a different approach to the market. Ballmer said:

We do not, say, like Apple, believe in low volume, very high prices, very -- Apple is a great company. Does a fine job. But their model says high margin, high quality, high price. That's kind of how they come to market.  We say we want big market share but with big market share you take a lower price.

Ballmer also noted that Apple's argument comes down to its hardware, which is just snazzier. That's a gap Microsoft intends to close.

The primary attack that comes from Apple is, hey, at the end of the day, we have the coolest hardware. When you see the hardware, the PC design that is am come out this Christmas with Windows 7, I think that conventional wisdom can begin to really change. There is some really amazing, amazing work. So it is possible to get great hardware innovation, even when hardware and software comes from separate companies.

What's really telling is that Microsoft has so many things going on inside the company yet it is focused on share vs. the much smaller Apple.

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