Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Criticizes Steve Ballmer's Tenure at Microsoft

It remains to be seen what the history books will say about Steve Ballmer, the man who led Microsoft for the past 13 years after company co-founder Bill Gates entered into retirement. Now it's Ballmer who's retiring, and he's doing it at a time when Microsoft is struggling to find how best to transition to mobile. Fair or not, most will likely remember Ballmer for the current state of Microsoft and the company's failed Surface strategy rather than what he accomplished during his time as CEO. Certainly that's true of Steve Wozniak, co-founder of rival Apple.

In an interview with BBC News, Wozniak was critical of both Ballmer and Microsoft.

"I don't know how the world judges Steve Ballmer, but I don't think his time there was as important or significant as Bill Gate's," Wozniak said.

The way Wozniak sees it, Microsoft made the big mistake of "resting on" the markets it built up a long time ago, like Windows and Office. Ironically, Apple faces some of the same criticism in the media, namely for its inability to innovate new products and features since Steve Jobs passed away. When asked if Apple could find itself in the same boat as Microsoft is currently in, Wozniak had plenty to say.

Steve Wozniak

"Apple's a big company and still was able to come up with, you know, at least under the leadership of Steve Jobs, the great new directions of the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, and you know how much our life has changed in recent times. We were a huge company full of management and bureaucracy and all that stuff," Wozniak said. "Usually a big company can not move fast. Apple found the formulas and they're still there."

Though he believes Ballmer dropped the ball at Microsoft, Wozniak feels Tim Cook is the right man to lead Apple. He also touched on the topic of Samsung, giving the company credit for its "great marketing prowess" and having distribution channels and reps in the right places around the world.