Microsoft CEO Zings iPad Users

Photo:  Mark Wilson / Getty Images

If you’re trying to impress people by buying the latest iPad, don’t bother with Satya Nadella. He’s the CEO of Microsoft, and it’s apparent that he doesn’t think too much of his competitors. Albeit jokingly, Nadella made sure to let two reporters carrying iPads in India know this. “You need to get a real computer, my friend” he quipped to the reporters with a smile.

As humorous as this story is, it’s not without its implications for the technology industry. For a long time now Microsoft’s policy has seemed to be to outwardly let Apple do its own thing while competing with them without direct confrontation. The fact that its CEO is now comfortable with cracking jokes at Apple’s expense so casually suggests that a more serious change in strategy might be forthcoming. Whether or not this will last is difficult to predict, but any time a company as huge as Apple is even lightly prodded by a competitor, it can be considered big news for big tech.

It should also be noted that this is not as isolated of an incident as it might seem at first glance. The very real disdain for what Apple is producing in comparison to Microsoft is obvious in light of another recent, more formal comment made by Nadella. “I don’t want to take away from whatever success Apple or Google are having,” he began cordially enough, but then implied that unlike those companies, “[Microsoft is] not a luxury good manufacture”. Instead, he stated that Microsoft is “about creating technologies so that others can build”. This is what is referred to in the industry as a “freezer burn”, and it most certainly is not just a sarcastic wisecrack.

Other competitors have joined in on the Apple-bashing, including Samsung, which has released a line of commercials that go out of their way to trash Apple phones using the tagline “the next big thing is already here”.

Seeing companies gang up on Apple like this may have you feeling bad for them, but there’s really no need. If anything, the fact that so many of their competitors see them as such a direct threat to their business as the apex predator in tech just goes to show how good they’ve done in the industry. The question you should be considering is, how do you personally feel about their products? Do they live up to the hype, or do Microsoft and Samsung have a point?