Is Microsoft confused? It is if you think hybrids are confusing.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook made a thinly disguised dig at Microsoft this week. Here’s what he said (without mentioning Microsoft by name) at Apple’s event this week in San Francisco.

They’re confused; they chased after netbooks. Now they’re trying to make tablets into PCs and PCs into tablets. Who knows what they will do next…what I can tell you is that we have a very clear direction.

Invoking netbooks is a nice rhetorical trick as that conjures up disappointing devices powered by bloated Microsoft software.

That set the stage for his next comment: trying to turn laptops into tablets and vice versa. Microsoft and Intel call these alternatively convertibles, detachables, or 2-in-1s.

Hmm…the nomenclature is a little confusing. Let’s call them 2-in-1s.

Surface is of course one example. Here’s what Microsoft’s VP of corporate communicationssaid about Surface (responding to Cook’s criticism).

We saw too many people carrying two devices around (one for work and one for play) and dealing with the excess cost, weight and complexity…That’s what Surface is. A single, simple, affordable device that helps you both lean in and kick back. Let’s be clear — helping folks kill time on a tablet is relatively easy. Give them books, music, videos and games, and they’ll figure out the rest…But helping people be productive on a tablet is a little trickier. It takes an understanding of how people actually work, how they get things done, and how to best support the way they do things already.

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