Apple’s new iWork ‘08 a shot over Microsoft’s bow?

“No application, from Microsoft, has been more important for the Mac’s long-term survival than Microsoft Office,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for BusinessWeek.

“Office for the Mac continues to be the best-selling piece of Mac software that doesn’t come from Apple,” Hesseldahl writes. “So it was a tad surprising that Apple announced on Aug. 7 a new version of its own office productivity software, dubbed iWork ’08. Included in iWork, which will sell for $79, is a new application called Numbers, a spreadsheet application analogous to Microsoft Excel, but as with all things made for the Mac, Apple made it easier to use.”

“Previously, iWork had contained only Pages, a word-processing program comparable in many respects to Microsoft Word, and Keynote, a presentation program that is comparable to, but far better than PowerPoint… Adding Numbers completed the circle,” Hesseldahl writes.

“So, as of this week, Apple has its own office software suite that does more or less the same things, is compatible with Office, and sells for just a little more than half of Office’s starting price of $149,” Hesseldahl writes.

“Should Microsoft be worried? Certainly not yet. I checked with Chris Swenson, an analyst with NPD Group, a market research firm that tracks retail software sales. What effect if any, has there been on sales of Office for the Mac in reaction to Google, Zoho, and ThinkFree? ‘None. Zero. Zip,’ he said. Microsoft Office for the Mac enjoys a market share in the neighborhood of 97%, while its nearest competitor is Apple’s iWork, which comes in at 1.8%,” Hesseldahl writes.

In his full article, Hesseldahl explains why Apple bothers with iWork and explains why Microsoft bothers building Office for the Mac (hint: big profts) and wonders why, with Mac sales growth running well ahead (3X) of the rest of the PC industry, why is Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit down to producing one flagship application and just a few minor other apps?

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Many Mac users — the majority, we believe — think they need Office, but really don’t. Give Apple’s free 30-day iWork ’08 trial a try and see for yourself.

76 Comments

  1. Yes, the grip of the “Microsoft mindshare” is beginning to slip, and Apple’s retail chain will be a huge factor in helping it. People will be able to get hands-on experience with the software and begin to wake up to the reality in front of them. The world is a new place, and Microsoft’s suite is no longer essential.

  2. Why or why can’t they include an equation editor!? I guess my pleas (via Feedback) have fallen on deaf ears. I would have thought with the expanded academic/science use of the Mac, this would have been a useful addition? The problem, I suppose, is making something as fantastic as Latex Apple-simple. Microsoft’s equation editor, simply, sucks. But I don’t think Apple would want people to remember all the specific commands that latex requires. Ah well, here’s hoping for iWork ’09

  3. Is there a way to upload a Keynote into your .Mac account, so people can view your presentation, like you can upload your iphoto into gallery.

    I have made some very nice presentations, but they can’t be viewed in PP

    I think that would be a killer, send your people a link to your web based KeyNote presentation

  4. Our company participates in the “Microsoft Home Use Program” in place and we can get Office (for Macs or PC’s) for a fulfillment fee of only 20 bucks. Its nice that I have this option at work but since iWork 08 is out now with Numbers, I can finally remove Office from my Mac.

  5. As much as I would like to get rid of Office, students often are required to turn in assignments as Wurd docs. Sure, Pages can export as Wurd, but you never really know for sure if the export will be “perfect.” Alas, for college students, having Wurd is a near requirement.

  6. With the well-received introduction of iWork 08 at Apple’s Town Hall, is there anyone STILL wondering why MSFT recently (read: suspiciouly) announced the delay of the new version of Office for the Mac until January, 2008?

    eggZACKly

  7. With Apple’s capital in the bank these days, I’m not sure why they don’t eat the cost of iWork ’08’s development and include the suite of three productivity apps with Leopard (when it arrives) and with all new Macs sold as of August 7. It would be savvy to include it with the machine just as they include the iLife suite, iTunes, iCal and all the other great apps which currently reside on new Macs.

    Most average users like me would certainly be more inclined to “give it a shot” and see if it would handle our productivity needs before shelling out a couple hundred to purchase Office for Mac (which is currently outdated, delayed and much less user-friendly). I’m sure many Mac users would immediately be impressed with the usability of the iWork suite and say, “To heck with Microsoft Office, if these three apps will save to XLS, DOC and PPT formats then I’m set!”

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