On Apple's earnings call yesterday, CEO Tim Cook was asked about his thoughts on Microsoft's new Surface tablet, which launches today and marks the company's first attempt to manufacture both the hardware and software of a device (the Apple model). In his response, Cook, perhaps unsurprisingly, was not very optimistic about Surface. He suggested not only that Microsoft hadn't got the user experience right, but that the entire product was philosophically wrongheaded.

“What we’re reading is that it’s a fairly compromised, confusing product,” Cook said. “One of the toughest things you do when making a product is to make hard tradeoffs. That’s what we’ve done with the iPad, and the resulting user experience is incredible.”

Cook dismissed Microsoft's efforts to make a tablet that can also take on some of a laptop's traditional duties.

“You could design a car that flies and floats, but I don’t think it would do either of those things very well," he said. "People will look at the iPad and at competitive offerings, and I think they’ll conclude the iPad is the better choice.”

Cook's points are well taken— Apple has sold over 100 million iPads since 2010 and early reviews for Surface are mixed at best. But there's still plenty of time for him to eat his words. If and when Microsoft is able to successfully bridge the laptop/tablet divide, Apple could indeed find itself in the same uncomfortable position it's currently in with the iPad Mini— playing catch up.

[via AllThingsD]