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Microsoft responds to Apple jabs with an uppercut: not worried about "watered down productivity apps"

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Microsoft responds to Apple jabs with an uppercut: not worried about
If you follow tech news closely you already know about the latest launches - two days ago two important tablet events happened. First, Nokia unveiled its new tablet running on Windows 8.1 RT and Microsoft started selling its Surface 2 tablets, and second, Apple took the cover off a brand new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display. What you might have missed however is the spirit of those events, and particularly of Apple’s event.

Apple’s veterans presented the new features and products with Tim Cook MCing the show and while the event had a mostly calm vibe, there were quite a few up tempo moments when various Apple executives including Cook threw jabs at Microsoft. Apple was particularly vocal when it unveiled its redesigned and updated iLife entertainment and iWork office suites - free for new devices. It was clear that Apple thought this as a direct attack against Microsoft and it even showed a slide of outrage against Microsoft’s (quite high indeed) $99 yearly subscription price for Office 365. Let's keep in mind though that mobile Office by Microsoft comes built-in and free with Windows Phone and Windows RT 8.1 devices.

The answer comes almost instantly on the official Microsoft blog. In an ironically named “Apples and oranges” piece penned by the outspoken communications VP Frank Shaw, Microsoft makes it clear: Apple’s free-for-new-devices iWork with Pages (Word equivalent), Numbers (Excel alternative) and Keynote (PowerPoint doppelganger) is not a big deal.

Shaw's answer to Apple's jabs is clear - the Surface was built from the ground up to be good for both play and work, and since Microsoft has the king of office applications and it understands how users work, it delivers the greatest product. Shaw alludes that while iPad might get a free office suite, it’s still not made for productivity - it remains a media consumption and entertainment tablet and that’s its limit.

Shaw puts it clear and concise in three points:

1. The gold standard in productivity software – Office.
2. Faster and more precise input methods like keyboard/trackpad.
3. The ability to use apps and documents side by side, allowing the comparisons, analysis and synthesis that happens frequently during content creation.


Now you have the other viewpoint. Microsoft takes full pride in understanding productivity (it even wrote a book about it) and it’s not worried. And if you want four more reasons why you should go with Surface 2 over the iPad, Shaw does not hesitate to point them all out:

The Surface and Surface 2 are less expensive than the iPad 2 and iPad Air respectively, and yet offer more storage, both onboard and in the cloud.
… come with full versions of Office 2013, including Outlook, not non-standard, non-cross-platform, imitation apps that can’t share docs with the rest of the world.
… offer additional native productivity enhancing capabilities like kickstands, USB ports, SD card slots and multiple keyboard options.
… include interfaces for opening multiple windows, either side by side or layered to fit the way most people actually work.

At least on the surface. Should it be? Let us know your thoughts about $99 Office 365 and Surface 2 against the free iWork on new Apple devices.

62 Comments
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posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:03 35

1. good2great (Posts: 1040; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)


MS Office > iWorks

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:07 11

2. Reality_Check (Posts: 277; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)


Free (Lifetime) > $99 (1 Year WTF?)

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:16 4

5. tiara6918 (Posts: 1532; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)


Let's not forget that there is still such a thing called piracy. Although I have to admit that iWork is making things more convenient by offering it for free

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:33 4

11. rd_nest (Posts: 824; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)


Elaborate please.

Which is free lifetime and what is $99??

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 10:14 8

27. Reality_Check (Posts: 277; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)


Please read the article before commenting.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:40 9

14. dsDoan (Posts: 223; Member since: 28 Dec 2011)


Basing your decision on price is basing your decision on ignorance.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 10:14

25. Reality_Check (Posts: 277; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)


So, you're saying price shouldn't be a factor?

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 10:56 1

30. dsDoan (Posts: 223; Member since: 28 Dec 2011)


Price is always a factor, but it is to be considered along with many other factors.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 11:57 4

33. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5952; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Unfortunately, that happens all too often. Anyhows, it will be a long time before iWork rivals the depth of function in Office. Kind of how iMaps compares to Google Maps.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 09:03 4

18. infinitemethod (Posts: 139; Member since: 04 Sep 2012)


Oh wow, they offer free applications now! Revolutionary! I mean, best thing since sliced bread.... But don't you worry, they'll make their money from insanely over priced products.

You probably paid an extra $100 for 16GB of non-expandable storage. Maybe you went a step further paying a whopping $200 for 48GB of non-expandable storage.

Also, I'd pay for MS Office every year than not pay for it and have some horrible copy.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 09:31 8

24. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


They offered it free as it is useless.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 11:56 3

32. Chaseism (Posts: 82; Member since: 08 May 2013)


So here's the thing...iWork has existed since 2005. It's not like the product came out a few days ago. And there have been many alternatives to Microsoft Office, even free ones (Google's OpenOffice) because Microsoft Office is ridiculously expensive for most people. I've used Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for about 4 or 5 years and I've never really needed Office. You can save files as .pages or .doc so I can share with my Microsoft friends. It's a pretty good piece of software if you've tried it.

Also, if you have a Surface tab, you know that a good amount of that HD space they give you is taken up by the OS. So although you may pay more with Apple...Apple doesn't take over your entire hard drive with the OS itself...

http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/support/storage-files-and-folders/surface-disk-space-faq

Surface RT:
The 32 GB version has approximately 15 GB free hard disk space.
The 64 GB version has approximately 45 GB free hard disk space.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 12:09 1

34. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5952; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Chase, IDK what you use iWork for, but the spreadsheet (Numbers?) leaves a lot to be desired.

There is a reason why soo many financial professionals with iToys have been begging MS to release an iOS version of Office. No iOS Office has held back a larger scale adoption of the iPad in the financial sector. There is a footprint, but it could be much larger with an iOS version of Office.

Which is probably why MS hasn't released an iOS version of Office.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 12:34

39. Chaseism (Posts: 82; Member since: 08 May 2013)


I absolutely agree with you on Numbers. Excel is far more robust in terms of advanced options. Your average consumer won't be using it for those things. But I wouldn't recommend a business use iWork unless they know specifically that it will work for them.

The thing is, Microsoft has business on lock already. Their problem is the consumer market. Their argument against iWork is perfect in terms of business, but not in the area that they are hoping to make headway.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 12:24

37. haseebzahid (Posts: 1836; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)


office comes free yeah IF you on SURFACE :P not icrapad

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 13:47

41. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Surface has expandable storage, your disk space argument is invalid.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 18:51

50. -box- (Posts: 3878; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


OoenOffice isn't google's (it's done by Apache), you're thinking google docs. Both are decent but lacking compared to Microsoft Office.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 20:46

54. 14545 (Posts: 1152; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Personally, I think that there are plenty of viable alternatives for most of office....EXCEPT excel. Excel is by far the best piece of software MS has ever created. I don't care for word or outlook though. That being said, I still think the 99 a year is over priced. 50 would be reasonable IMO.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 10:31

29. Muzhhur (Posts: 248; Member since: 14 Sep 2012)


you need to save as Excel 97-20013?? iwork then means It does not work

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 12:21

36. haseebzahid (Posts: 1836; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)


yeah sure documents you cant open in anything that is not iWORK :P lolz brillent so what is great about it then

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 12:56 1

40. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 1185; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


Although $99 is still a lot of money, it does mean you can use office on 5 devices (pc/mac/mobile). So basically it's 5 licenses for $99. Still.... iWorks is free....

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 15:20

43. downphoenix (Posts: 2415; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


when it comes to tablets, there are numerous alternative apps as well as on PC that are free or much lower cost than MS Office. With the savings, you can also save on the cheaper tablet or pc than what Apple offers.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 18:44 1

49. -box- (Posts: 3878; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


For those who want free, there's always Open Office, which is a good, but not equal, alternative to Microsoft Office. Iwork is an iJoke.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 20:48

56. 14545 (Posts: 1152; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


I personally think google docs is a good viable alternative for everything except excel. And Thunderbird IMO is better than outlook. I doubt anything will ever replace excel though.

posted on 26 Oct 2013, 04:40

62. microsoftnokiawin (Posts: 1038; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


office 365 is $99 and it's meant for big businesses while you can just get office 2012 or 2014 for a lifetime subscription

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 10:56

63. xtremesv (Posts: 238; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)


Let's not forget that iWork will be free only for new iPads. 170 million iPads are simply left out so I accord with Microsoft, Apple's move is not big deal.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:18 2

7. RoyalPayne (banned) (Posts: 458; Member since: 07 Aug 2013)


It's steve ballmer laughing at iPhone all over again. No need to guess where his visions went from there.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qycUOENFIBs

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 09:10 5

20. cezarepc (Posts: 608; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)


Visual Basic is enough reason for me to stay with MS.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 15:34 3

44. Heritor (Posts: 42; Member since: 05 Nov 2012)


I'll take Google Docs. If MS was smart they would just end up making Office free and then making a professional variant that warrant the price.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 20:50

57. 14545 (Posts: 1152; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Exactly. I pro version that unlocks certain functionality.

posted on 25 Oct 2013, 01:46

58. ardent1 (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


Excel and Word were on the Apple ecosystem before coming to PCs. It was Apple that wanted the tiny company called Microsoft to write apps for Apple computers.

A point lost on most people.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:08 7

3. tiara6918 (Posts: 1532; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)


The only advantage of the iPad over the surface is that it has more apps,games and a slightly better screen, that's pretty much it. Surface offers much more and better productivity. IWork wouldn't exist if it weren't for Ms office

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:33 1

10. techaman (unregistered)


not really on the screen the retna screen pixel and dpi are not very good they just made a good name ref and keep it vecause they know people like those names and think its better because of it, if you had a hd retnal screen making it sound like the screen is as pure as the eye can see anyone would stick to that ans ask for it even if it was a 200dpi

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:34 3

12. LordDavon (Posts: 108; Member since: 19 Sep 2011)


I have a Surface Pro 128GB right here, and at 2 pounds, thick, larger... there are more advantages. Portability is the biggest! But, I like my Surface Pro. I also like my iPad. I will admit, I use my iPad more than the Surface Pro when I am out of work, and the Surface Pro more while at work.

Although, the gaming nod goes to my Surface Pro. iPad games are getting better, but Steam runs great on the Pro. :-)

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:13 3

4. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3024; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Apple's skin is growing thicker day by day.
Later we'll find there's no flesh to eat when we peel the skin off the fruit.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:17 3

6. sum182 (Posts: 229; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)


I understand that MS office has been dubbed the standard, and has been for a long time....But I've been getting by perfect just using LibreOffice and not spending the ridiculous amount for MSOffice. Both of these don't seem like a logical choice when theres FREE software that does the same thing. Admittedly, its taken them awhile to get it there, as LibreOffice used to be OpenOffice. I'd recommend everyone try it just to see what its like, you wont find to much missing from Libra compaired to MS, only MS trademarked/pattened themes and whatnot

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:41 6

15. DFranch (Posts: 140; Member since: 20 Apr 2012)


I tried OpenOffice and LibreOffice. Once I found out that I can get a free license for office on my home computer, I immediately switched back to Office. There is really no comparison. Office is just better. Ask yoursely which you'd use if it didn't cost you anything. That is what MS is saying. Office is free on Surface, no comparison to iWorks.

BTW ... am I the only one who's getting tires of the iEverything from apple. It's like McDonalds putting Mc in front of everything.

posted on 25 Oct 2013, 06:31

60. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 1185; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


iSee what you mean and iAgree ;)

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 12:15

35. TechBizJP08 (Posts: 495; Member since: 25 Mar 2013)


People like you wants everything free. For me, I have to pay and I will pay if its worth it and it does., and you just don't know that these Office products are made by people giving their family food in their plate to eat. You have to think twice before yakin things you don't know. you could always use Surface much better than iPad In any way. And free Office.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 12:31 1

38. lalalaman (Posts: 387; Member since: 19 Aug 2013)


Libreoffice is a headache....used it for month...it was on ubuntu on my other pc....other windows 7 pc was not working....I make reports and believe me office is much better....besides now ms is offering office student for $79 which is for lifetime....who really needs office365 and yrly subscription?

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:27

8. Kishin (Posts: 647; Member since: 30 May 2013)


WOW this is still going on MS vs Apple

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:29 1

9. _Bone_ (Posts: 2140; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Bitch fight!!!!

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:34

13. techaman (unregistered)


fight fight fight hahahahaha

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:43 3

16. richardraji (Posts: 21; Member since: 14 Oct 2013)


microsoft will win this war apple only has more apps and games that all and ios 7 has even made them loose their maine attraction - design

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 08:57

17. xtroid2k (Posts: 460; Member since: 11 Jan 2010)


hmm. well from the home front i guess I have two questions. can I save a document as a .doc or .docx. And similar with various office program file extension s. Second, if yes does the formating stay the same. If the answer is yes then Microsoft may have a problem here because even if its watered down people learn to adapt. Not so sure about the enterprise sector as business takes awhile to adapt. bill gates proved years ago that people will buy water down products which led to windows taking over. MS should start paying attention. I think they recognize apple iwork as a threat since they responded

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 09:15

21. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 1271; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)


Yes and yes, although there are some fonts that are problematic and may need to be avoided to ensure that is true. However, they are usually obscure fonts.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 09:09

19. GeorgeDao123 (Posts: 107; Member since: 20 Aug 2013)


The number of Mac fans is a little bit "tiny" to compare to the number of Windows users. And most of Windows users will not switch to Mac. So this thing does not affect Microsoft in computer market. How about mobile? Office for iOS is currently free! That's why it is meaningless.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 09:16

22. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 1271; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)


Office for iOS is hardly the same full-featured suite it is elsewhere. If you want that, it is $99 a year.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 20:07

53. 9thWonderful (Posts: 232; Member since: 24 Jan 2013)


is Office available for iPad yet?

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 09:20

23. solomonsteve (Posts: 75; Member since: 19 Dec 2012)


Macs are over priced .Thats why Apple has thought it through to make iWork free. U can get a Windows PC for 5 times less and buy a licence for office which in my opinion is very reasonable.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 10:14

26. pongkie (Posts: 505; Member since: 20 Aug 2011)


apple can clearly see the threat that's why they are trying to put out the fire before it spreads in the tablet space

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 10:23

28. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


The Surface 2 Pro is in fact better than iPad Air
- It's full PC with x86 architecture
- Intel HD 4000 Graphic is low end compared to AMD and Nvidia, but still more powerful than iPad Air PowerVR
- You get 4GB Ram with Surface Pro and more Storage
- Office 2013 is better than iWork
But you know, to be honest with you, all these stuff doesn't seem to matter. ARM Processor are getting more powerful and are offering decent performance. Android and iOS both have tons of productivity like Kingsoft Office, Quick Office and others. Moreover they also have good games like Infinity Blade, Asphalt, Dead Trigger. So in the end I believe it comes down to consumer choice. And this is where it is getting dangerous for Microsoft, as you are easily able to find alternative to Microsoft Apps. I think Microsoft should have offer an OS with two types of environment, Traditional Desktop & Metro.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 14:45

42. donfem (Posts: 554; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)


Bang for bucks. Worth every dime. MS for life.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 15:37 1

45. EclipseGSX (Posts: 1653; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Cheap shot Apple, everyone knows office kicks your ass

posted on 25 Oct 2013, 01:48

59. ardent1 (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


Except it was Apple that helped create MS. Excel and Word were created for Apple before coming to PCs.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 16:04

46. Sire3008 (Posts: 87; Member since: 26 Sep 2013)


Apple always rip people off... to enjoy Office for free, simply switch.. That was the idea.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 16:43

47. luxzy801 (Posts: 136; Member since: 16 Jun 2010)


I wonder if Apple mentioned that their FREE iWork will be polluted with Ads???
There is no such thing as free, if you get if for free, then your paying for it in some other way.
Look at the way Google makes it money for example. Since they started doing all this FREE crap, the ads on Youtube have gone haywire, in an hour youtube video, you have 10+ minutes of ads that appear 5 times during the video and annoy the hell out of you (like the 9 minute Dyson commercial that gets more and more annoying everytime it pops up), and they make huge bucks off these ads.
So next time your in an Apple store, ask what you are ending up having to pay when they make something FREE.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 18:14

48. stealthd (Posts: 980; Member since: 12 Jun 2011)


iWork is not ad supported. It's only not "free" in the sense that you have to buy a new iOS or OS X device to get it.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 19:49

51. julz17ronald (Posts: 45; Member since: 26 Apr 2013)


MS Office suite is more useful than Apple's alternative.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 20:05

52. 9thWonderful (Posts: 232; Member since: 24 Jan 2013)


well, no one is worried about Microsoft's mediocre smart phone/tablet offerings...so i guess the two have something in common. MS ftw concerning the battle of office apps...but the war is a totally diff. discussion.

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