2Free 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.
3Apple’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.
4Office 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.
5Office 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.
6Don’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.
7The 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.
8iWork 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.
9Word 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.
10For 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.
11There’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.