During Apple's earnings call today, CEO Tim Cook was asked "With the launch of Surface, what are you seeing from a competitive standpoint?"
Mr Cook replied at length, flattering Microsoft with attention, if not praise:
I haven’t personally played with the Surface yet, but what we’re reading about it, it’s a fairly compromised, confusing product.
One of the toughest things you do when deciding to make a product is make hard trade-offs in deciding what a product should be.
We’ve done that with the iPad. I suppose you could design a car that flies and floats, but I don’t think it would do all of those things very well. I think people, when they look at the iPad, they’ll conclude they really want an iPad.
For Microsoft, often left out of the Apple vs Android mobile conversation altogether, it's a change of pace.
The company launched its Surface tablet this morning NZ time in parallel to its worldwide release of Windows 8.
The company has touted the Surface as a gadget that can act as a tablet or, when docked to a keyboard and monitor, a full-blooded PC replacement.
The Surface is not available in New Zealand, and Microsoft's NZ operation has no indication at this point when it will arrive.
This morning, Microsoft country manager Paul Muckleston said people could order it from Australia or the US, then ship it in.