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Microsoft co-founder slams Google, Apple

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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has hit out at Google and Apple, branding the rival technology companies "evil".

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Allen described Apple chief executive Steve Jobs as "monomaniacal". The billionaire also criticised Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page for their corporate mission statement "Don't be evil".

He said that Page and Brin have used their "elbows and claws" in their drive to turn Google into one of the biggest companies in the world.

"I chuckle when I see people pushing the boundaries all the time of what they can do to monetise things, capture things - and then say, we're not evil, as if their default is not to push the boundaries," Allen said.

"If your default is to push the boundaries, to just go for it, and then see if you get pushed back, then don't say you're not evil."

Google has previously faced criticism for gathering information on email addresses and passwords while collecting images for its Street View service.

Microsoft recently celebrated its 36th birthday, but Allen's autobiography Idea Man revealed last month how his relationship with co-founder Bill Gates deteriorated later in life.

In the book, Gates was portrayed as a sarcastic bully who tried to force Allen out of Microsoft by bringing in new chief executive Steve Ballmer after Allen took leave to fight Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The situation led to Allen's resignation from Microsoft, but he rejected an offer to buy him out for $5 a share. Microsoft's share price is now $25, giving Allen an estimated fortune of around $13bn.

Such huge wealth has enabled Allen to buy various homes in France, London's Holland Park and New York, but his main residence is outside of his home town of Seattle, where he has a massive art collection including works by Renoir and Monet.

Alongside a garage full of sports cars, Allen also has a hanger at Seattle airport holding a Boeing 757 and Challenger 601 jet, along with 15 flyable planes from World War II, including a Curtiss Tomahawk, a Messerschmitt 109 and a Spitfire.

His 414ft Octopus yacht has eight levels and requires a 60-strong crew to man it, costing £12 million a year to run. The vessel has two helicopters, a submarine and a recording studio where the Beastie Boys recorded their last album.

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