Microsoft senior executives are taking a long-range approach to fending off competition from Apple.

This follows comments from Apple CEO Steve Jobs in Paris last week, who said "We have competitors that are trying to kill us." He added, "Microsoft is copying our OS, and Dell copies our computers".

Microsoft prepares for battle

Last week Microsoft hosted an internal event for employees in which it tried to explain its recently-announced company reorganization.

The three new divisions are the Microsoft Platform Products and Services Division, which will be led by Kevin Johnson and Jim Allchin as co-presidents; the Microsoft Business Division, with Jeff Raikes as president; and the Microsoft Entertainment and Devices Division, with Robbie Bach as president.

The discussion featured Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, chairman Bill Gates, and Allchin, Johnson, Raikes and Bach, who fielded questions from staff. It's reported on Internet Nexus.

Apple's self-focus is a weakness

Answering a general question on Apple as a competitor, Allchin said: "Fundamentally, they have a different philosophy than what we do. We're a platforms company. We believe in helping other people and building the ecosystem. That's not their strategy".

Bach chimed in, saying: "Apple takes a very Apple-specific approach", accusing Microsoft's Cupertino competitor of, "doing things that are only good for Apple".

"We have to figure out how to deliver the same kind of end-to-end experience that Apple can," he added.

'Don't underestimate us' - Gates

Gates stressed his company's need to develop an integrated and strong portable device business.

"That's part of the reason we're putting together the entertainment and devices division under Robbie Bach," he said.

"I always get a kick out of the periods where people underestimate us," he added.

Ballmer promised that for Microsoft the next twelve months will be "fantastic".