Apple's iWork Won't Stack Up to Microsoft Office: 10 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-10-28 Print this article Print

Microsoft was not at all pleased recently when Apple announced that iWork would be made available at no charge going forward. Apple said that the move reflects its belief that its top software should be free. But it was perhaps more a shot over Microsoft's bow, since the enterprise software giant continues to charge for its productivity suite. What's more, the very thought of going free with Office is enough to give Microsoft executives and investors nightmares because the productivity suite drives the largest share of Microsoft's earnings. Perhaps that's why Microsoft was so quick to criticize Apple in a recent post on its official blog. Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Communications Frank Shaw said that "iWork has never gotten much traction." He went on to say that he doesn't see the price drop as "a shot across our bow, I see an attempt to play catch up." Although Apple's rabid fans have scoffed at Shaw's comments, his point is well-taken. As nice as iWork might be for the novice user, as a whole, it cannot compete in any way with Office. This eWEEK slide show highlights the reasons why.

  • Apple's iWork Won't Stack Up to Microsoft Office: 10 Reasons Why

    by Don Reisinger
    1 - Apple's iWork Won't Stack Up to Microsoft Office: 10 Reasons Why
  • Free Doesn't Mean Customers Are Getting More Value

    productivity suites but don't want to pay hundreds of dollars to get them. The truth is, however, that "free" software doesn't necessarily mean it's delivering more value. Office might be expensive, costing Windows users over $200 for a new version, but it's also far more powerful and capable than iWork.
    2 - Free Doesn't Mean Customers Are Getting More Value
  • Apple's Numbers Is No Excel

    Try crunching numbers that are pages and pages long in Numbers, and you'll quickly discover that Excel is the best way to go for such tasks. Plus, Microsoft's Excel comes with support for pivot tables and more graph options, and it is a workhorse for financial professionals. Until Numbers can catch up to Excel, it doesn't make sense for serious number crunchers to go with Apple's product.
    3 - Apple's Numbers Is No Excel
  • Office Is Already Free

    Office might not be free on the desktop, but on the Surface RT, Microsoft bundles it with every device it sells. That might not be the same as offering iWork for free on all devices as Apple has done, but the iPhone maker can't claim that it was first to go free; Microsoft has already done it. And that's only after countless open-source programs, like OpenOffice and LibreOffice, as well as Google, offered their suites for free.
    4 - Office Is Already Free
  • Office Works on Multiple Devices Too

    One of Apple's main selling points with iWork is that it works on multiple hardware platforms. But now that Office is running on tablets and is heading to smartphones at a rapid rate, Microsoft can also stake claim to that feature. Support for multiple form factors is definitely important. That's why Microsoft is doing it.
    5 - Office Works on Multiple Devices Too
  • Don't Forget Multiple Operating Systems

    Here's one area where Apple falls short: Its iWork suite is only available as a native application on OS X and iOS. Office, meanwhile, works on Windows and OS X, as well as Windows Phone, Windows RT and other mobile platforms through remote desktop applications. iWork for iCloud allows for more access on more devices, but native applications are the best way to experience productivity suites. And in that way, Apple is behind.
    6 - Don't Forget Multiple Operating Systems
  • The SkyDrive Inclusion Is Important

    Microsoft's SkyDrive is an important feature for Office. The cloud-based storage platform allows users to save documents and other files in the cloud, thus making them available anywhere users go. iWork for iCloud works in a similar manner, but SkyDrive is a full-service cloud-based offering. That counts for something.
    7 - The SkyDrive Inclusion Is Important
  • iWork Is Not an Enterprise Platform

    The corporate world needs Office. It's as simple as that. While iWork might seem suitable for certain casual users, many companies that require the high-end features found in Excel or Word wouldn't consider iWork as a viable alternative. Apple's iWork just doesn't have the features to appeal to enterprise needs. Perhaps that's why Apple's iWork marketing seems to target consumers very heavily.
    8 - iWork Is Not an Enterprise Platform
  • Word Processing Is Still Tops

    Microsoft's Word doesn't come with the same number of formatting options as Pages. But what Word lacks in that area, it makes up for with better handling of the myriad document types in the wild, its additional tools, its ability to link with Excel and its Document Elements feature. Word doesn't take a back seat to iWork in any of those areas, and it's not a weak link in the Microsoft Office suite.
    9 - Word Processing Is Still Tops
  • For Corporate Users, It's Office 365

    Office 365 might just be the trump card Microsoft needs to fend off Apple's iWork. Office 365 promises to be a full solution for enterprise customers who want to do everything from work in the cloud to collaborate on projects. The subscription-based system would surely be criticized by Apple fans who like that their favorite firm is offering iWork for free. But for corporate users, Microsoft's pricing model works well, as long as Microsoft continues to improve upon Office 365 while not raising its prices significantly.
    10 - For Corporate Users, It's Office 365
  • There's Something to Be Said for a Standard

    Like it or not, Microsoft Office is a standard in the enterprise marketplace. Companies and consumers across the globe save files in .doc, .xls or .ppt, not because they love Microsoft, but because they're aware that there's a very, very good chance that the recipient of those files will be able to read them. Until iWork hits the point of being the go-to standard in productivity, it's hard to see how it can be a better option than Office.
    11 - There's Something to Be Said for a Standard

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