Microsoft chief Ballmer attacks Windows Phone 8 rivals Apple and Android

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has taken a verbal swipe at rival firms Google and Apple.

In an interview with Reid Hoffman, co-founder of the professional social network LinkedIn, Ballmer branded Google's Android platform as "a little wild," referring to the operating system's susceptibility to malware, not to mention its numerous iterations.

"[From] an app compatibility perspective, maybe in a way that's not always in the consumers' best interests," he noted.

He put forth a similarly scathing view of Apple, whose devices are both expensive and "highly controlled," according to the Microsoft boss.

Ballmer explained: "In Russia last week, you had to pay $1,000 for an iPhone. So in Russia, you're not going to sell many iPhones."

Based on today's exchange rate, this translate to £630, which actually falls short of the £699 required for fully loaded (64GB) iPhone 5 in the UK, though it's probably safe to assume Ballmer was invoking a more standard-issue model.

Why was Ballmer stepping out to slate the competition? To highlight what he considers the advantages of Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 platform, of course.

"The best of both worlds is available to us," he said.

Microsoft's mobile operating system, according to Ballmer, provides a quality alternative to the dominant platforms. Featuring an affordable range of handsets loaded with personality, he added that WIndows Phone's app policies can be seen as a halfway house between the two extremes embodied by Android and Apple - neither lackadaisically inclusive, nor fiercely protectionist.

At the same time, Ballmer did acknowledge that Windows Phone 8 still has a long way to go before it can be considered a true rival to the current big players.

"The challenge is to get 10 per cent of the smartphone market, and then 15 per cent, and then 20 per cent. We aren't trying to get to 60 per cent overnight," he noted.

The IDC recently reported that Windows Phone's Q3 smartphone market share stood at just 2 per cent. However, this figure still represents a year-on-year growth of 140 per cent.