Who would’ve thunk — Microsoft and Apple fundamentally disagree about the future? Whereas Redmond’s Chairman Bill Gates loves Window 8 and its unified desktop + mobile approach, Cupertino CEO Tim Cook sees the Mac and iPad continuing as distinctly separate. It’s Microsoft vs Apple now and forever.

One of the less remarked sound bites Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered in his sit down with BusinessWeek is that, despite a lot of feverish rumors, the Mac and iPhone are not converging toward a single operating system.

“Customers want iOS and Mac OS X to work together seamlessly, not to be the same, but to work together seamlessly,” said Cook.

Back in October, Chairman Bill Gates gushed over the rightness of Microsoft’s desktop-mobile unification approach in Windows 8.

“It takes Windows into the world of touch, low-power devices,” said Gates, “really giving people the best of what people think of the tablet type experience and the PC experience — it’s a great upgrade…”

To date, Microsoft’s customers haven’t taken to Windows 8 and developers have generally shunned Windows Surface. All the while, Apple sales continue skyward and there’s no question who developers prefer to code for.

Nevertheless, Redmond has always been about the long game. So, has Apple already won or will Microsoft creep up for behind to steal the lead again?

Inquiring minds want to know…

via LowEndMac, images Hang the Bankers and Huff Po