Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer has issued a rare pat on the back to arch-rivals Apple, complimenting it for the job it's done on the App Store. The CEO said: "Apple's done a very nice job that allows people to monetize and commercialize their intellectual property", in a talk at the University of Washington.

Some suggest that the ice between the two companies is starting to thaw as they both face up to the larger threat of Google. The search giant has extended tendrils into ground owned by both of the companies, and there's rumours that Microsoft may have convinced Apple to switch the iPhone's default search engine to Bing, rather than Google.

Last summer, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt was forced to resign from Apple's board following the company's entry into the smartphone space with Android - a product that's now the iPhone's most serious competitor, and recently Apple filed extensive lawsuits against Google's favourite phonemaker HTC. Could we be seeing the beginnings of a beautiful new friendship between two embittered old rivals?