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Microsoft Will Lose a War With Apple; So Will Google

Stocks in this article: MSFT GOOG AAPL

These are the men we have leading Apple's most formidable competitors. I've just turned super religious. God help us all.

Let's deconstruct this tripe.

First, Tim Cook and Amazon's (AMZN) Jeff Bezos should send a team of toughs after Ballmer for using the word "ecosystem." He doesn't have one. He has xBox. That's it. Windows is not an ecosystem. It's as much of an ecosystem as Android is, particularly if Microsoft intends to farm it out to anybody willing to sell it.

OK, maybe, technically speaking, Windows and Android are ecosystems. But they're not very good ones. And they're nothing like Apple's and Amazon's. If the strategy beyond the two platforms does not change soon, they never will be.

Ballmer and Schmidt look almost as bad as Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings, who argued that HBO and his company are peers and close competitors. That's a classic case of self-constructing your image.

You know, the idea that I can go on my Facebook page and tell all my "friends" that I look like Ashton Kutcher and then reasonably expect Demi Moore to show up -- naked -- at my door.

Microsoft and Google, in their own ways, say, yeh, us and Apple, we battle, we're alike. And we're supposed to assume that it's true.

Microsoft has absolutely zero confidence in its plan to sell hardware and create an ecosystem like Apple's. If it did, it would not need the cockamamie idea of opening Office up to iOS and Android mobile devices. That's what you call a backup plan.

Microsoft needs this contingency in place. Simple as that. If it kept things closed, revenue would drop precipitously because the Surface tablet and any other hardware running Windows 8 that it or its partners produce will not sell enough units to support mobile Office as a Microsoft-only platform.

Along similar lines -- the nerve of Schmidt referring to Apple vs. Android as some sort of industry-defining fight. Was he really serious? And why didn't anybody call him out on that line?

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