Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has praised Apple’s “innovative” work on wireless standards.

In a speech to the Silicon Valley business community on Monday Ballmer said the work that Apple and Lucent Technologies did in 1999 to make wireless networking broadly available with Apple's Airport was “groundbreaking”.

However, Ballmer denied that Apple’s all-round product innovation will eclipse Windows-based rivals. "I don't see its basic position in the market changing," reported

Ballmer’s address largely concerned Microsoft's bid to combat security vulnerabilities, highlighted by recent virus attacks.

He said: "This is an industry-wide problem that must be fought not only by Microsoft. But we do have to raise the bar on the quality of products when it comes to security.

“We must improve the way we distribute and manage software patches for our operating system and other programs.”