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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]



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RE: Irony
By tng on 10/24/2013 5:01:05 PM , Rating: 3
Well that is because MS actually cares about how it's software runs on a Mac, the same can't always be said for how Apple software runs on a Windows machine.


RE: Irony
By Reclaimer77 on 10/24/2013 5:37:42 PM , Rating: 3
iTunes and Quicktime.

The two worst running Windows programs, consistently, of ALL TIME.

Brought to you by Apple.


RE: Irony
By Lord 666 on 10/24/2013 6:27:34 PM , Rating: 2
Java by far takes that title.


RE: Irony
By FaaR on 10/24/2013 7:04:04 PM , Rating: 2
Worst software ever? Realplayer. Nuff fking said. :P Arguably, adobe reader and flash also belongs in this competition.

But yeah, itunes and quicktime are (hugely) the suck and have always been. Even on mac they blow, although somewhat less than on windows.


RE: Irony
By BillyBatson on 10/25/2013 1:43:54 AM , Rating: 2
Hehe I commented about RealPlayer before I saw you saying the same thing. Completelyyyyyy agree!!!!!!


RE: Irony
By BillyBatson on 10/25/2013 1:41:27 AM , Rating: 2
What do you mean by "worst running"?
I absolutely hate itunes I find it utterly useless and bloated, however I've never known it to be anything but rock solid when it comes to actually running, crashes, errors, etc.
I will agree with you about QuickTime but will counter and say that RealPlayer has always been much much MUCH worse in every possible way.


RE: Irony
By djdjohnson on 10/25/2013 2:59:52 PM , Rating: 2
My experience is a little different. Besides it taking well over a minute for iTunes to launch on my 4C i7 w/ SSDs & 24GB of RAM, it is constantly throwing useless and erroneous error messages. ("Can't communicate with this iPhone" ? I don't even have an iPhone.) And I hardly have anything in its library.

It is the biggest piece of junk that I have on my machine. And that includes Java, Flash, etc.


RE: Irony
By Reclaimer77 on 10/25/2013 3:26:12 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly!

iTunes on a Windows machine is some of the worst software I've ever seen.


RE: Irony
By BillyBatson on 10/25/2013 8:49:55 PM , Rating: 2
Wait what??? Over a minute to load?! It takes about 15 seconds to load on my Athlon X2 system with 4gb ram and a 5400rpm hdd, system is from 2006 I think, running win7. 8 seconds on a HP laptop with AMD turion cpu 4gb ram and 7200rpm hdd from 2007 with win7. I can let you know how fast it loads on my new haswell 8gb ram and ssd once I install win8.1 but I'm guess won't be slower than the 2 above numbers.
I've never seen the error you stated with or without an apple device plugged in. I've never seen an error message by any iTunes ever.
Every system I've had it on it's been rock solid ever since 2003 when I got my very first ipod.
Again, I'm not saying it isn't junk!!! As I personally hate the software. But stability is not one of the points I can knock it on. RealPlayer on the other hand beats it in every possible category even with your itunes experience, it just doesn't happen to be installed on your PC like iTunes is?


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