PC Magazine recently sat down with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to discuss a wide range of topics and, as invariably happens, a portion of the conversation turned to Apple:

PC Magazine: Microsoft is the icon of the PC. What do you think about the Apple commercials: “I’m a Mac, and I am a PC”?

Steve Ballmer: I think they need a little bit of correction, and you’ll see us be much more vigorous about stating the case for the PC. The truth of the matter is, this is ironic. The PC outsells the Mac 33 to 1—32 to 1. And despite the fact that we don’t sell PCs, we only sell Windows to people who make PCs. And the attack is actually on the PCs, interestingly enough. You’ll see us defend the PC. We’re going to talk about why—look, PCs are better than Macs. That is not something that can be debated. 32 out of every 33 times, somebody buys a PC instead of a Mac. I’m not saying that there are not some things that people like about Macs, apparently there are. But have you ever seen a cheap Mac? No.

MacDailyNews Take: Ballmer’s definition of “better” needs a lot of work. Apple doesn’t make “cheap” junk, but compare a Mac to a similarly-spec’ed PC and you’ll find the Macs is very competitive and, oftentimes, even less expensive. And using every cash register and dumb terminal in the world in an attempt to diminish Mac “market share” is just plain pathetic.
NPD: Apple took 20% market share of U.S. retail notebook sales in July and August – October 01, 2008
• Net Applications: Apple’s Mac OS share hit new all-time high of 8.23% in September 2008 – October 01, 2008
• NPD: Apple vaults to 10.6% share in North American notebook market – September 17, 2008
• Gartner: Apple Mac grabs 10.4 percent share of U.S. home market – August 26, 2008
Gartner: Apple Mac #1 in Q2 08 Europe education market share – again – August 01, 2008

Ballmer continues: You know, they like to act like Macs are lightweight, there are much lighter weight PC notebooks. Macs—do they have the best battery power? Of course they don’t have the best battery power. Macs tend to have nice screens, but can you get nicer screens for a PC? Of course. Do Macs work in business? No, they do not.

MacDailyNews Take: Ballmer’s fear is palpable. Does he understand that an entire business unit of his company is dedicated to making Microsoft Office for Mac? (This is why Mac users should not buy Office, by the way; Microsoft will take your money and then immediately turn around and ignore your very existence). Do PCs run Mac OS X Leopard and iLife and many other best-in-class Mac-only apps? No, they do not. Only Apple Macs run all the world’s major OSes and applications:
Apple Macs run Windows Vista less awfully than PCs – April 17, 2008
Windows to Mac switcher finds comfort in ability to run Windows, then leaves Windows behind – April 16, 2007
• Apple Macs that can run Windows are bad news for Microsoft – August 08, 2006
• Couldn’t you just buy a Mac and run Windows? Microsoft CEO Ballmer: ‘No, we prefer real PCs’ – April 29, 2006

Ballmer continues: You know, there are so many—you know, can you find Macs in—I’m very sensitive to exactly what mouse I have on my laptop. Can you find a range of choices? Of course you can’t find a range of choices.

MacDailyNews Take: This guy runs a company? (Yeah, into the ground.) Virtually any USB mouse from any company works with a Mac and, oh, by the way, this one does, too (for just one example of many from Microsoft itself): Microsoft Notebook Mouse for Mac: “Microsoft’s most portable wireless notebook mouse connects seamlessly to Mac’s using Bluetooth.” We heartily discourage Mac users from buying products made by companies whose CEO’s do not even know they make Mac products and who routinely disparage Mac users.

Ballmer continues: You know, anyway—can you find the applications you want on the Mac? Well, you don’t really get full Microsoft Office.

MacDailyNews Take: Because I tried to have them cripple it in order to push more PC sales since we screwed the pooch with Vista, but it backfired: VBA returns to future Office for Mac versions – May 13, 2008. And, check this out, too: Fortune Small Business: The best PC for Microsoft Office is Apple Mac – August 08, 2008

Ballmer continues: So 32 out of 33 times people chose PCs, there must be something better about the PC, and that’s a story that deserves to be told. I think it’s a story of choice.

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, the wrong choice: Mac vs. Windows in business case study: Macs have 1/3 fewer problems that are solved 30% faster – June 02, 2008

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Someone really should let Uncle Fester in on the news: Only Apple Macs run Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, etc. and their attendant applications. In other words, not only is the Mac able to run the world’s most advanced operating system, Mac OS X, it can also slum it as a fast PC when the user so desires (or is forced to by Microsoft’s many attempts at lock-in). Because Apple Macs also offer the full “PC experience,” Ballmer’s criticisms — and $300 million ad campaign — fail completely.