Print 74 comment(s) - last by althaz.. on Oct 27 at 7:35 PM

Microsoft didn't take kindly to Apple's recent digs

In a blog post not-so-subtly titled "Apples and Oranges", Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) VP of Communications Frank Shaw gave comment on rival Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) recent announcement that iWork (Apple's Office software suite) would be included free with its new iPad/iPad Mini tablets.

I. Flame On

Not surprisingly Mr. Shaw wasn't overly impressed, commenting:

Seems like the RDF (Reality Distortion Field) typically generated by an Apple event has extended beyond Cupertino.

Note: If you are the TL;DR type, let me cut to the chase. Surface and Surface 2 both include Office, the world’s most popular, most powerful productivity software for free and are priced below both the iPad 2 and iPad Air respectively.

Making Apple’s decision to build the price of their less popular and less powerful iWork into their tablets not a very big (or very good) deal.

....Microsoft understands how people work better than anyone else on the planet...We literally wrote the book on getting things done. 

And so it’s not surprising that we see other folks now talking about how much “work” you can get done on their devices. Adding watered down productivity apps. Bolting on aftermarket input devices. All in an effort to convince people that their entertainment devices are really work machines.

In that spirit, Apple announced yesterday that they were dropping their fees on their “iWork” suite of apps. Now, since iWork has never gotten much traction, and was already priced like an afterthought, it’s hardly that surprising or significant a move. And it doesn’t change the fact that it’s much harder to get work done on a device that lacks precision input and a desktop for true side-by-side multitasking.

So, when I see Apple drop the price of their struggling, lightweight productivity apps, I don’t see a shot across our bow, I see an attempt to play catch up.

Frank Shaw

Of course his comment overlooks the fact that most Windows 8.1 tablets don't include Office.  And it also is somewhat ironic that he espouses standardization in Office as a selling point, when Microsoft was long accused of fighting or otherwise trying to subvert standards to make Office documents compatible with open source alternatives (although it's recently come around somewhat).

II. ... But he has some points

However, Office as freebie -- particularly with the $449 USD Surface 2 -- is a pretty good deal.

Surface 2 (L) and Surface Pro 2 (R)

And Mr. Shaw is correct that Apple's iWork feature-wise is more comparable to the already free Google Docs (by Google Inc. (GOOG)) than Office; in fact Google Docs is arguably more powerful in that it's cross platform compatible (like Office).  Both Google Docs and iWork will meet the needs of most casual users.  But for many enterprise and power users, moving from Office to these free lighter alternatives is not an option and Microsoft knows that.

Google Docs
Google Docs is more compatible than iWork and also free.

Also it's worth noting that Microsoft didn't start this flame war.  Mr. Shaw's comment comes after Apple CEO Tim Cook at the keynote commented:

Our competition is different: They're confused. They chased after netbooks. Now they're trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs.  Who knows what they'll do next?"

We have a very clear direction and a very ambitious goal. We still believe deeply in this category and we're not slowing down on our innovation.

Tim Cook snickering
Apple CEO Tim Cook [Image Source: Reuters]

Most perceived the comment to a nameless attack on Microsoft, and to a lesser extent Google, whose Android OS now leads the tablet market.

Source: Microsoft [TechNet]

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Not Surprising
By CharonPDX on 10/24/2013 3:13:13 PM , Rating: 2
For plain text writing, I use a plain text editor.

For "documents", and especially for more layout-driven documents, I greatly prefer Pages to Word.

For spreadsheets, I greatly prefer Excel to Numbers. Numbers is good for "layout-driven" spreadsheets, but I mostly care about the numbers and formulas - and much of my going-back-to-Excel-1.0 formula knowledge doesn't work in Numbers (or Google Docs.)

I don't often need to do presentations, and when I do, it's usually for work, where I have PowerPoint templates that Keynote doesn't like very much, so I have no real opinion on Keynote.

RE: Not Surprising
By tng on 10/24/2013 3:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, Office is a mixed bag of useful and non-useful programs. I use Thunderbird because Outlook has become such a kludge of a program that does everything while I need only email.

I had a general manager where I work that told me I had to use Outlook, because we all needed to be on the same page, so I bought it and installed it. After setup he told me the features that I would need to have and when I asked him where exactly do you go to do that, he had no idea. If he had to install the software himself he would be lost

RE: Not Surprising
By Flunk on 10/24/2013 4:31:38 PM , Rating: 2
Outlook is really designed as a client for Microsoft Exchange, not an email program. If you're not using Exchange it really doesn't make much sense.

RE: Not Surprising
By Mitch101 on 10/24/2013 5:07:19 PM , Rating: 2
Outlook Works perfectly fine for e-mail where thunderbirds only advantages are free and usenet.

I tried adopting thunderbird but had to go back to Outlook because thunderbird was very buggy and doesnt recover well.

I will ding Microsoft because I don't particularly care for the Office 2013 monochromatic look and feel its kind of slid a little downward since Outlook 2007.

RE: Not Surprising
By chripuck on 10/25/2013 1:25:02 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, I love me some Outlook 2010 much better than 2007. Agreed on the monochromatic 2013. Don't like it.

RE: Not Surprising
By daboom06 on 10/24/2013 4:14:45 PM , Rating: 4
i dont always make crappy looking manuscripts, but when i do, i like to use word.

latex is and has always been far superior to any other typesetting method.

i wrote a script in matlab that automatically closes word every time i open it thinking i should give it another chance.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini

Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki