There was a time not all that long ago that when you heard the word "monopoly" being used in tech circles, it was often directed at Microsoft. Some would still argue that Microsoft is a monopoly, but underscoring the changing of the guard as the market transitions to mobile, Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer tossed the "m" word at Google during an annual meeting with financial analysts.
In response to a question about how Microsoft can make money in consumer services, Ballmer pointed out that Google has found a way, and then added a bit of a quip in some followup remarks.
"They have this incredible, amazing, dare I say monopoly that we are the only person left on the planet trying to compete with," Ballmer said, according to The Verge.
Ballmer points out that Microsoft with its Bing search engine is the only company in the world attempting to compete with Google's dominance in search and advertising. Even though Bing is in second place with a 17.9 percent share of the search market, there's a tremendous gap between it and Google, which commands a 67 percent share.
"I do believe that Google's practices are worthy of discussion with competition authority, and we have certainly discussed them with competition authorities," Ballmer added. "I don't think their practices are getting less meritorious of discussion."
Ballmer has never been once to mince words, though now that he's announced his retirement, there may be even less of a filter between what he's thinking and what he says.