Steve Wozniak -- the lovable, free-thinking co-founder of Apple --has become well-known for speaking his mind: He's not afraid to praise the work of Apple's competitors (often lauding the dastardly Google, for instance), nor does he shy away from bashing the company he helped start (he is, uh, not a fan of what Apple's done with Siri. Not at all.)

Now, the original Apple exec is celebrating yet another tech company's achievements: Speaking at the Entel technology conference in Chile, Wozniak commended longtime Apple rival Microsoft for its design turnaround, lavishing praise on what he views as the company's new commitment to the "convergence of art and technology" with the Surface tablet, Xbox Kinect, and Windows Phone operating system.

These new products are so visually appealing, Wozniak joked, it's as though "Steve Jobs was reincarnated at Microsoft."

You can watch his remarks -- in which he also blasts the U.S. government for its handling of the Kim Dotcom arrest -- below:

Wozniak, who has noted his admiration for the Windows Phone operating system before, likes the Jobs-esque artistic vision coming out of Microsoft, marveling at what he perceives as a sharp turnaround in quality:

"I'm glad that Microsoft is starting to show that maybe they're a different company than before," he said. "I don't remember this sort of thing happening in a long, long time from Microsoft."

Wozniak's remarks coincide with a broadside against Apple from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who pledged that his company will not give up any ground to its white-hot rival.

"We have our advantages in productivity," Ballmer told a journalist at CRN.com. "We have our advantages in terms of enterprise management, manageability... But we are not going to let any piece of this go...We are not leaving any of that to Apple by itself. Not going to happen. Not on our watch."

With the ground-shifting Windows 8 -- and the much-hyped Surface tablet -- arriving at the end of October, we should begin to see if Microsoft really can hold on to its many advantages over Apple.

As for Wozniak: Let's hope he keeps speaking his mind and spreading the love to the great products that all tech companies -- not just the one he pledges allegiance to -- are making. We can all agree that's a good principle...right?

Also on HuffPost:

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  • 'Failure'

    In December 2011, Wozniak <a href="http://gadgets.ndtv.com/internet/news/apple-co-founder-steve-wozniak-in-india-224892" target="_hplink">told a group of entrepreneurs in Bangalore</a> that three Apple computers from the 1980s were "failures" because important decisions had come from company executives instead of "the guys at Apple." " ... if the guys at Apple had built the machine that they would love, it would have been successful," <a href="http://gadgets.ndtv.com/internet/news/apple-co-founder-steve-wozniak-in-india-224892" target="_hplink">he said, according to NDTV</a>. "It came instead from formulas from Apple executives. Marketing people were in charge and some very bad decisions got made, in my opinion. There were hardware failures. You put out a product that has failures right away, and even if you fix it a year later, it just doesn't sell." He elaborated <a href="http://gadgets.ndtv.com/internet/news/apple-co-founder-steve-wozniak-in-india-224892" target="_hplink">in a follow-up answer</a>: "The Apple III was a failure, the LISA was a failure, and the Macintosh was a failure. It was only by modifying the Macintosh hugely and over time that we made it a good computer." <em><a href="http://gadgets.ndtv.com/internet/news/apple-co-founder-steve-wozniak-in-india-224892" target="_hplink">Read the entire interview at NDTV.com</a>.</em>

  • Mac OS X: 'Not Ready For Prime Time'

    In a <a href="http://www.machack.com/pr/5_22_01.html" target="_hplink">2001 fireside chat</a> at the MackHack conference in Dearborn, Mich., the Woz criticized Apple's newly-released operating system, Mac OS X. <a href="http://www.macworld.com/article/1018126/woz.html" target="_hplink">From Macworld</a>: <blockquote>Woz has installed Mac OS X on his new iBook, which he says is "the supreme balance" in a portable computer. He has had three bad experiences with the new OS, and his feeling are "negative overall." "I agree with the writer who said that it is not ready for prime time," said Woz. "But, it came out more beautiful than I thought it could." </blockquote>

  • No 3G?!

    Wozniak was not happy that the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone_(original)" target="_hplink">first generation iPhone</a> didn't come out with 3G technology. "To tell you the truth, I was disappointed ... half the phones in the AT&T store were 3G already," <a href="http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1013710/steve-wozniak-blasts-iphone-macbook-air-apple-tv" target="_hplink">he said during a March 2008 trip to Australia, according to <em>The Inquirer</em></a>. Just over a year later, in July 2008, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone_3G" target="_hplink">the iPhone 3G was released</a>.

  • Restrictions...

    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAx0cz3IWHI&feature=player_embedded" target="_hplink">In a 2008 interview</a> with <a href="http://www.skynews.com.au/home/" target="_hplink">Sky News Australia</a>, Wozniak expressed his dissatisfaction with the restrictions on the iPhone, such as the closed software environment. "...the way Apple has introduced the iPhone with a lot of restrictions what you can and can't do with it ... those sorts of things bother me because it sort of indicates Apple's stepping into that characteristic that we attributed to other bad companies in the past." (This part of the interview comes at 6:48)

  • The Woz Hearts His Droid

    <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/01/14/even-woz-thinks-the-android-bests-the-iphone.html" target="_hplink">In an interview with The Daily Beast's Dan Lyons</a>, Woz expressed his love for the Android. "My primary phone is the iPhone," Wozniak said, <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/01/14/even-woz-thinks-the-android-bests-the-iphone.html" target="_hplink">according to The Daily Beast</a>. "I love the beauty of it. But I wish it did all the things my Android does, I really do." He elaborated, saying that Siri as an iPhone 4 app was better than Siri as an iPhone 4s app: "With the iPhone 4 I could press a button and call my wife. Now on the 4S I can only do that when Siri can connect over the Internet. But many times it can't connect. I've never had Android come back and say, 'I can't connect over the Internet.'" Woz also <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/01/14/even-woz-thinks-the-android-bests-the-iphone.html" target="_hplink">said that he preferred Android's navigation system</a> to the iPhone's.

  • Battery Life!

    In <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/01/14/even-woz-thinks-the-android-bests-the-iphone.html" target="_hplink">the interview with The Daily Beast</a>, Woz complained about the iPhone 4S's battery life. "With the iPhone, something happened with the new OS or the new phone, and it just started running through the battery so fast," <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/01/14/even-woz-thinks-the-android-bests-the-iphone.html" target="_hplink">he said, according to The Daily Beast</a>. "I've had a lot of issues with things I have to turn off just to save the battery life."