Apple's iWork May be Free, But It's Just a "Watered Down" Office Says Microsoft

By Gerald Lynch on at

Everyone loves a freebie, and Apple's announcement on Tuesday that the iWork productivity suite was to be offered up for free alongside its overpriced computing hardware brought balance to the Cupertino pricing Force. In Microsoft's eyes however, £Free is about all anyone should be paying for what it calls the "watered down" Office wannabe.

"iWork has never gotten much traction, and was already priced like an afterthought," teased Frank Shaw, Microsoft's corporate vice president of communications in an official post.

"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."

Singing the praises of Microsoft's Surface tablets, Shaw noted the lack of innovation in the iPad Air's new cover (compared to the touch-typing one offered with a Surface), and questioned the value of the free software when factored into the top-dollar hardware price.

"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 [...] Apple's decision to build the price of their less popular and less powerful iWork into their tablets [is] not a very big (or very good) deal."

Shaw has good reason to be on the defensive, with Apple's Tim Cook having a dig at the "confused" competition during Tuesday's keynote. "They chased after netbooks. Now they're trying to make PC into tablets and tablets into PCs. Who knows what they will do next?" he said. [Microsoft Technet]