Windows is regaining some of its marketshare on Mac OS X, claims Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in a recent interview with TechCrunch.

The higher price of Mac hardware has turned away some consumers, Ballmer said in the third part of the interview with TechCrunch, adding that the lower price of Windows 7 is meant to meet the current economic climate.

 We're gaining share. Apple is expensive, Ballmer said. And in tough economic environment, people get it. Their [Apple's] model is, by definition, expensive. And we've actually held or maybe even gained just a tiny bit of share relative to the Mac in the last 12 months. And it's not really Snow Leopard. It's really Windows PCs versus Mac.

Since the debut of new MacBook Pros with cheaper prices this summer, Apple has seen its sales grow, while the rest of the PC industry has shrunk. In July, Apple was the fourth-largest computer maker in the U.S. Mac sales are expected to continue to expand in the just-concluded September quarter.

And at $29, Snow Leopard, Apple's new operating system, comes at a much cheaper price than Windows 7. Initial sales figures showed that OS has had sales twice as high as Leopard and four times better than Tiger.

However, earlier this year, Mac sales were relatively flat before new products were released. And the popularity of netbooks has been a growing market for PC makers.

Netbooks are just the first battleground, says Ballmer. Microsoft has lowered Windows 7 prices to better compete with Snow Leopard, and Ballmer is dismissive of most competition for Internet Explorer.

The most successful [alternate browser] by far is Firefox, he says. Chrome is a rounding error to date. Safari is a rounding error to date. But Firefox is not.