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

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:



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:


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.

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62 Comments

1. good2great

Posts: 1042; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

MS Office > iWorks

2. Reality_Check

Posts: 277; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

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

5. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 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

11. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

Elaborate please. Which is free lifetime and what is $99??

27. Reality_Check

Posts: 277; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Please read the article before commenting.

14. dsDoan

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

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

25. Reality_Check

Posts: 277; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

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

30. dsDoan

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

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

33. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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.

18. infinitemethod

Posts: 151; Member since: Sep 04, 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.

24. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

They offered it free as it is useless.

32. Chaseism

Posts: 82; Member since: May 08, 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.

34. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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.

39. Chaseism

Posts: 82; Member since: May 08, 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.

37. haseebzahid

Posts: 1853; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

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

41. squallz506

Posts: 1075; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

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

50. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 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.

54. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 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.

29. Muzhhur

Posts: 261; Member since: Sep 14, 2012

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

36. haseebzahid

Posts: 1853; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

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

40. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

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....

43. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 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.

49. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 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.

56. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 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.

62. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 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

63. xtremesv

Posts: 299; Member since: Oct 21, 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.

7. RoyalPayne

Posts: 458; Member since: Aug 07, 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

20. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

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

44. Heritor

Posts: 47; Member since: Nov 05, 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.

57. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Exactly. I pro version that unlocks certain functionality.

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