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AppleOffice?

post #1 of 124
Thread Starter 
Seeing how Appleworks scripts were recently removed from the upcoming Automator App for Tiger, do you think Apple is shelving the 'Works program to fry bigger fishies such as MS Office (which is an obvious slap in the face to Apple by MS - bloated code, features left out of the Mac version - not to mention an ad campaign that makes it look like Macs cannot get anything done without the help of the "PC world"). By the way, did you know that the biggest security vulnerability this year came as a result of having Excel 2004 installed?

Any thoughts?

I for one would welcome this. OpenOffice already can read and write just about any type of Office file.

An AppleOffice app would certainly blow the doors off of Open (maybe even borrowing some tech to keep standards? and more than likely supercede MS's offering on the PC as well.

Would you buy it?

Sounds like Appleworks is gone. Sounds like MS stinks. Sounds like Apples Office-killer is coming.
post #2 of 124
It would be just plain stupid for Apple to do this. MS has every feature you could possibly want in their word and excel software.

Apple would have to add a few of those back in, and sell it at a low margin like Keynote.

It would also have to be fully compatible, which Apple never achieved with keynote or Appleworks

I don't know how Keynote's doing, but I doubt it's doing that well, even when they're practically giving it away to educators.

The only thing I use Appleworks for anymore is the drawing program.
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post #3 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by slughead
It would be just plain stupid for Apple to do this. MS has every feature you could possibly want in their word and excel software.

Why it's not stupid:
  • Four years later, Office is still a Bad Carbon Port™. So is AppleWorks. NisusWriter for OS X is still missing. So they're 0-for-3 with the main office apps, as far as taking advantage of OS X's capabilities goes. There are some technical reasons here having to do with OS X's capabilities not being fully implemented (that's why the full-blown NisusWriter hasn't appeared yet), but it's still a sad situation for the platform.
  • Office is pricey, and it has too many features for a lot of people, cluttering up the interface. I don't see AppleWorks (or whatever replaces it) competing head-on with Office. Certainly not out of the starting gate! What it will be is a clean, simple, mostly compatible 80% solution, with an emphasis on polish and ease of use over raw power. If you need more than it offers, buy Office.
  • Office apps are absolutely bedrock at this point. Apple has to bundle something. Office is not a candidate for obvious political reasons, and probably cost reasons as well, since many consumer Windows PCs don't bundle it either. And AW6 is a glaring scuff in the polish of OS X.
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post #4 of 124
The hang-up I think with OpenOffice is that it's presented (from my perspective) as one big ball of code and UI. Apple would love to have very strong Office compatibility, but would want to roll in not only the standard text tools like the fonts panel and such, but also use whatever Core* technology that makes sense as well as roll their own UI like Keynote into it. I don't know how OpenOffice splits up for those things to happen. It's like if there were a kernel compatibility layer, and Apple could build all around it, it would be a very attractive option.

[fixed typo]
post #5 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by 9secondko
Seeing how Appleworks scripts were recently removed from the upcoming Automator App for Tiger..

I remain unconvinced that Apple isn't just messing with us, as they've been for the last five years.
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post #6 of 124
I believe that it would be a waste of ressources for Apple to actually take OpenOffice.org and make it a native application. Anyways, some people at neooffice.org are already doing that and they are starting to get there with the new build of NeoOffice/J. OpenOffice.org is a big monolithic application, the same way that Mozilla is a big application.

It would be better for Apple to take the OASIS file formats (the standard OpenOffice.org file formats) and make new applications that can read & write those file formats. Apple could start from scratch and do something nice in Cocoa in relatively little time, or they could reuse other open-source code like they did with WebCore (née KHTML). KOffice comes to mind, but there are probably other projects that could also fit the bill. Another suggestion would be to buy one of the little apps already mentioned and develop it to be the next Appleworks. Anyways, the OASIS file format looks like it will be the standard of the future, with pretty much every office application supporting it (except maybe... Microsoft Office!), the same way that you can open a jpeg image in different image manipulation programs.
post #7 of 124
There is definitely a place for MS Office but it's ridiculous for Apple to have an Xserve and other products yet they offer no suite application of their own.

That's the reason why companies are %95 PC and 2-5% Mac. Companies could go all Mac if Apple had a breadth of products available for the biz sector.
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post #8 of 124
I dunno, just because MS has both an OS and an Office suite under the same banner doesn't mean that a productitivty suite is supposed to be made by the OS vendor. Ms came to that situation by happenstance, wanting to own the whole ball of wax. If MS made Pagemaker or Quark instead, people might expect a layout app to come from the OS maker and not a spreadsheet.

Having said that, OASIS is exactly what I was hoping would be available, and what IMO Apple should embrace. With my post above, that would fit in perfectly, a much more modular approach.
post #9 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by slughead
It would be just plain stupid for Apple to do this. MS has every feature you could possibly want in their word and excel software.

Yes, Office is a very mature set of applications, but I have found myself running into trouble doing some very basic stuff. Like many folks, I write grants-word documents with some basic graphics placed in them. This is simple stuff and using Quark and InDesign is just overkill. Nonetheless, Words handeling of pictureplacement has gotten worse if anything over the years. I still use frames, a function MS like to hide away a s much as possible. Still, I spend hours trying to keep a graphic in one place when I change a line of text. It is all to complicated and the final results just don't look as good as they should.

I've often complained about the lack of PDF compatibility with Offfice products. For us Mac folks PDF is a great option for getting graphics between programs. But place a PDF file in powerpoint and word and it becomes a big fuzzy mess. That is why I use Keynote and that is why I hope for Apple Office.
post #10 of 124
I think the business of "OS vendor" and "office suite vendor" and "hardware vendor" are too limiting.

Apple, MS, Sun, Dell, etc. are businesses. They are looking to continue growing revenue and profits. If Apple can do this (overall) with a home-grown office product suite, they will. It's just about that simple.
post #11 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by BuonRotto
I dunno, just because MS has both an OS and an Office suite under the same banner doesn't mean that a productitivty suite is supposed to be made by the OS vendor. Ms came to that situation by happenstance, wanting to own the whole ball of wax. If MS made Pagemaker or Quark instead, people might expect a layout app to come from the OS maker and not a spreadsheet.

Having said that, OASIS is exactly what I was hoping would be available, and what IMO Apple should embrace. With my post above, that would fit in perfectly, a much more modular approach.

No it doesn't mean the the suite has to be coming from the vendor but reality is Apple needs to follow suite if they wish to see Macs anywhere besides the design/marketing depts(and even that grip is tenous)

Licensing is everything and other than Windows Office is MS' biggest cash cow.
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post #12 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by Carson O'Genic
This is simple stuff and using Quark and InDesign is just overkill.

Don't even get me started on Adobe's incompetence. They'll cry like babies if Apple introduces a DTP capable Office suite, but InDesign's been out for years now. Where the heck is InDesign Elements?

It would take all of five minutes to strip out the high end features and design a new box.
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post #13 of 124
Have you seen the latest version of TextEdit in Tiger?

Here's a screenshot:

http://alexandros.roussos.free.fr/ma...c/textedit.jpg
post #14 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by xflare
Have you seen the latest version of TextEdit in Tiger?

Here's a screenshot:

http://alexandros.roussos.free.fr/ma...c/textedit.jpg

Jeez, could a text editor HAVE anymore palettes?

Apple needs to make a good Word Processor. They seem to be taking a lot of things other developers do "in house" (just look at all the Core stuff coming in Tiger) because no one can make the great software that Apple can which fully exploits OS X.

Word processing is one of the most common tasks people do on a computer. Why not have a great Apple app to do it? Office 2004 is still crap.
post #15 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by bborofka
Jeez, could a text editor HAVE anymore palettes?

Apple needs to make a good Word Processor. They seem to be taking a lot of things other developers do "in house" (just look at all the Core stuff coming in Tiger) because no one can make the great software that Apple can which fully exploits OS X.

Word processing is one of the most common tasks people do on a computer. Why not have a great Apple app to do it? Office 2004 is still crap.

First, I think you are missing the point about what TextEdit looks like in one screen shot. TextEdit is a "proving ground" for their word processing technologies and capabilities. It seems even more clear that this is something Apple is going to do. It looks like, with TextEdit in Tiger, they are even closer.

Secondly, it is funny what you say about word processing being the most common tasks people do with their computers. Speaking only for myself, it is not. Web browsing, email, writing code, calendar, address book, budget (Quicken), some note taking (Outliner)...these are my top tasks.

Still, I would love to see what Apple would do with a word process and a spreadsheet too.
post #16 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by xflare
Have you seen the latest version of TextEdit in Tiger?

Here's a screenshot:

http://alexandros.roussos.free.fr/ma...c/textedit.jpg

Heaven help us. Even Nisus Writer Express handles palettes better than that.
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post #17 of 124
Word processing on Mac OS X sucks.

I have Office installed, but avoid its use where possible. I have AppleWorks installed, but don't ever tend to use it anymore.

For many word processing requirements, I now use LaTeX, which is not WYSIWYG, but it creates very professional looking documents. For different word processing requirements, I use a nice little program called Mellel.

But please, Apple, give us an Apple Office suite designed for the 21st century!!! m.
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post #18 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by Frank777
Heaven help us. Even Nisus Writer Express handles palettes better than that.

Of course no one would have all those palettes open at the same time, silly people.
post #19 of 124
I know, but I must admit Nisus' sidebar seems to be a good way of dealing with this.

Also, there's still no real button bar at the top? Why haven't the Bold, Italic and Underline controls been added, at the very least?
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post #20 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by Frank777
I know, but I must admit Nisus' sidebar seems to be a good way of dealing with this.

Also, there's still no real button bar at the top? Why haven't the Bold, Italic and Underline controls been added, at the very least?

Because keyboard shortcuts are much more efficient?
post #21 of 124
So is a two button mouse. Call me when Apple ships one.
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post #22 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by Frank777
Heaven help us. Even Nisus Writer Express handles palettes better than that.

I hate to burst anyone's bubble but the palettes in that screenshot are available from any Cocoa App (and most from any App) e.g.

* Character Palette
* Font Chooser
* Preferences
* Check Spelling

If the abaove aren't available from any Word Processor on Mac OS X then that's its problem. Which leaves:

* 1 palette, for table formatting
* 1 sheet for line spacing
* 1 window for document metadata

The only real oddity is that the Preferences window seems to have a sheet.
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post #23 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by stupider...likeafox
I hate to burst anyone's bubble but the palettes in that screenshot are available from any Cocoa App (and most from any App) e.g.

* Character Palette
* Font Chooser
* Preferences
* Check Spelling

If the abaove aren't available from any Word Processor on Mac OS X then that's its problem. Which leaves:

* 1 palette, for table formatting
* 1 sheet for line spacing
* 1 window for document metadata

The only real oddity is that the Preferences window seems to have a sheet.

These tools are expressly for third parties to adopt, TextEdit is simply one place they show up. Look at Stone's Create. It simply folds these text tools provided form Apple along side their own stuff. Creater will simply inherit these features, though I'm sure it will get a maintenence update to make sure it all works smoothly. Hell, if you want InDesign Lite, Create is an app that takes better advantage of the OS you're working in. Plus the developer actually responds to your input.
post #24 of 124
I see everyone here is focusing on word processing. It seems to me like we already have a ton of choice when it comes to word processors or text editors. What I would like to see is more choice on the spreadsheet front. It is, after all, the second most used office application. Right now, I do not know of a free, fast and light spreadsheet app for Mac OS X that could at least import Excel files and optionally export as the OASIS file format.
post #25 of 124
Apple should ditch Appleworks. Don't spend any money on that.

Instead... they should devot some cash to shipping all mac's with office or at least word like PC's do.

I bet they could get a better price deal with MS if they did this and they would assure future development because MS would be assured of customers.

Let MS do word processor development.
post #26 of 124
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by salmonstk
Apple should ditch Appleworks. Don't spend any money on that.

Instead... they should devot some cash to shipping all mac's with office or at least word like PC's do.

I bet they could get a better price deal with MS if they did this and they would assure future development because MS would be assured of customers.

Let MS do word processor development.

The reason why Apple should sell Office is multi-fold:

1) More revenue for the comapany that provides us the products we enjoy working with

(more money = better R&D = better end product = happier you and me.

2) MS does not care about making a knockout Apple product.

They only care to make a quick buck off of Mac consumers who, in their eyes, are not ever going to need a full-featured office app. Their ad campaign even reflects this. MS' whole thing is to sell Windows AND Office. They would do better to have you think that you can only use a MAc if you also won a PC (with the idea that the Mac is okay, but to do "real business", you need a PC). And if that line doesn't work, well, hey, at least you will buy Office, right? Well, it is working for MS, but you and I are losing out, because the products lack not only polish,but features as well.

3) Lack of Polish, lack of features.

MS OFfice for Mac does not employ the Apple design philosophy to keep a high-powered app easy to use, or just plain look nice. Also, Office for MAc lakc many features that the PC version has, not the least of which is robustxml support.

4) Security.

One of the most severe security concerns this year came as a result of what?...

Having MS Excel installed on your Mac.

What are the plusses of "AppleOffice". I can think of way too many. As far as compatibility with MS OFFice for PC, that is not the huge hurdle MS would have you believe. Hey, even OpenOffice gives you almost perfect compatibility across the board (with some formatting issues in some cases). An Apple branded Office would definitely be a couple steps up from Open.

What are the negatives?

MS is upset (cue violin).
post #27 of 124
Maybe I'm in the overwhelming minority here, but I think Microsoft Office for Mac is pretty decent. I have to run, but one feature of the MS Office: Mac 2004 (and previous versions, I believe) that Office for Windows doesn't have (AFAIK) is the "driving time" thing in Entourage. That's a nifty little feature and very helpful. No, it's not the most beautiful thing in the world and it really should be, but... sometimes sacrifices have to be made, I guess.

I would love to ditch Office on my system if I could find a viable alternative...

Replacement options:
Entourage = iCal / Mail / Address Book / Stickies
Word = ?
Excel = ?
PowerPoint = Keynote

And please don't bring up OpenOffice... it's slow and looks worse than Office on Mac OS X. It has a way to go...
post #28 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by Boukman
I see everyone here is focusing on word processing. It seems to me like we already have a ton of choice when it comes to word processors or text editors. What I would like to see is more choice on the spreadsheet front. It is, after all, the second most used office application. Right now, I do not know of a free, fast and light spreadsheet app for Mac OS X that could at least import Excel files and optionally export as the OASIS file format.

Bingo. Give the man a prize!

The lack of a spreadsheet app is a huge problem.

As usual, I know nothing about app development. Does anybody know if any of Apple's under-the-hood APIs address the spreadsheet market?

Seems to me that a basic spreadsheet shouldn't take long to code in Cocoa at all. The problems would be the extensive formulas and macros. Entry-level users wouldn't miss most of those.
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post #29 of 124
If Apple Office comes to pass I hope they do a nice job of the charting capabilities of the spreadsheet program. Keynotes features in this regard are bare bones. I've never warmed to Exel's charting functions.

I also hope they keep the database portion of Appleworks, I use it for a number of things around the lab for which Filemaker is just too much to bother with.
post #30 of 124
It seems that part of what is restraining Apple is the relationship with MS. Apple needs MS Office in order to be accepted in some places. If Apple makes a product that competes too well with MS Office then it might be withdrawn and Apple will lose sales as a result. This may be the reason we haven't seen more development of Keynote and it may be the reason that AW has languished.

Nevertheless, Apple should revamp AW and upgrade Keynote though they'll have to walk a fine line. After all, AW is fine for schools and homes and these markets don't threaten MS much. Keynote alone would not threaten PP.

Apart from that Apple should rethink the whole "Works" concept. This idea goes back something like fifteen years or more. If the OS took the desktop metaphor a 'works suite provided the standard tools you needed at the office.

Times have changed. Word processing has changed. Many documents are now unformatted text. Others have gone higher end into page layout territory. It would be interesting if Apple would come out with a new app suite after rethinking what people need.

For example, maybe they could dress up email. You could compose a simple layout with text and images and email that as html. Or you could compose a simple video message with your iSight camera, overlay a little text or doodling, compress it with AVC, and email that to friends. 5 MB over broadband is tolerable. Or you might just send the link and post the video on your website.

The new iChat looks good as it allows multi-person v-chats. If Apple would make it easy to share files at the same time or have a white board that everyone could write on together we could have a great collaboration platform.

Perhaps another app for the suite would be iOrganize. When the first office suites came out files were stored on floppy disks in shoe boxes. Now we keep everything on the HD. Something less formal than a database but more useful than simple folders would be useful for many people (at home and at school) to keep things usefully sorted. Maybe it could be based on the login metaphor. It needn't even be an app. Tiger could be expanded to have "contexts" as well as users. When you specify your math class context then all of your recent work is available and new work is stored there as well. When you change to your history class context it all changes. It could even use the cubic transition like multiple users does now. Contexts might just be different folders in your home documents folder.

Apple doesn't have to do all of this. If they lay the foundations in OS X then other developers could build on that. For example, if Apple developed iOrganize with multiple work spaces then OmniOutliner, Mariner Calc, Tex-Edit Plus and such could be enhanced to work with that. It would be a plus for both Apple and the third party vendors, even MS.
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post #31 of 124
I don't think Apple would need to create a e-mail program. Mail is pretty powerful. And so is iCal and Address Book. Instead, Apple should create a central management app that organizes all your different data from these apps. Something similar to this...

http://www.crm4mac.com/

All they need is to create the word processor and spreadsheet applications. Then simply integrate them with Keynote and Filemaker. Throw in this CRM application and...

Voila!

You got yourself a powerful Apple Office.

Mike
post #32 of 124
i think a good deal of the compitition between MS and Apple can be dealt with the way they present the new software. If they call it Appleworks, then its just an upgrade to something that has been around a long time, but if they call it Apple Office and Steve goes on about it being an Office-killer-then we know the gloves are off. Again, the new word processor can be sold as an alternative to Word or an alternative to Quark and InDesign -the light version.

How things are presented will make a big difference in how the press picks it up and what the headlines state.
post #33 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by BuonRotto
I dunno, just because MS has both an OS and an Office suite under the same banner doesn't mean that a productitivty suite is supposed to be made by the OS vendor. Ms came to that situation by happenstance, wanting to own the whole ball of wax.

Oh, I don't know about that. AppleWorks (the original one!) was bundled with my Apple //c, and the Mac came with MacWrite, MacDraw, etc.

It's a simple consequence of the fact that word processors and computers have gone hand in glove for decades. They were bundled as soon as it became economical to bundle them (spreadsheets followed later only because they were much more difficult and demanding than contemporary word processors).

Quote:
If MS made Pagemaker or Quark instead, people might expect a layout app to come from the OS maker and not a spreadsheet.

Funny you should mention that. MS does make a DTP app—Publisher—but hardly anyone uses it. Most of the calls I've seen for Apple to make a DTP app have come from enraged Quark users.

But I agree that the focus should not merely be on word processors. What's needed is a replacement for AppleWorks, which is (or was...) a simple, elegant, well-integrated package that did everything that most people needed it to do, free with the computer they purchased (and cheap if purchased separately).
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post #34 of 124
Just noticed this page.

Read the very first line of the very first paragraph.

How long has Apple been not-so-covertly asking their developers to develop a spreadsheet for OS X?
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post #35 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by Frank777
How long has Apple been not-so-covertly asking their developers to develop a spreadsheet for OS X?

A very long time. That's not the only place where they prod would-be developers in the direction of a spreadsheet.

But there are some out there. They're not used because the first thing anyone's going to ask is, "is it compatible with Excel?" If you've seen the proprietary, obscurantist (and at this point, patented) crap that Excel spits out, this is a lethal question.

The people who use Excel tend to push it really hard. If you tell them that they can't just import the giant linked mass of spreadsheets that run their annual reports and expect it to work and work fast, then it doesn't matter how pretty your app is. Hardly anyone will use it. Given the tremendous amount of work that would be required to field a decent spreadsheet, even with the shortcuts Cocoa provides (and which I'm not sure scale well enough to match Excel, frankly) I don't think most people consider it worth the trouble.

Core Data makes things interesting, because a spreadsheet is basically just a funky view of a database that happens to have a lot of built-in functions, and Core Data is a database. So writing a credible spreadsheet app might get easier. Unless Apple pulls a rabbit out of a hat, though, the toughest part would still be Excel file compatibility. MS has the market by the short hairs, and they know it.
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post #36 of 124
I understand that file compatibility with Excel is a major problem.

But I distinctly remember when Microsoft introduced the List Manager feature in Office v. X, they said that 90% of their spreadsheet users used Excel to make simple lists. This is from Microsoft themselves.

So why hasn't Omni or Mellel or Nisus ever written a spreadsheet app for this huge base of low end users? It doesn't seem like it would take that much time, and would at least add significant value to their Word Processor package.

I for one, never do more than simple calculations in my spreadsheets, which is mostly small business budgeting and task/project management done in AppleWorks 6.
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post #37 of 124
Maybe they use Excel because of its ability to integrate with the other MS Office apps such as Word, Access, etc?

Mike
post #38 of 124
So they use Word because it integrates with Excel, and they use Excel because it integrates with Word, and they use both because they have proprietary file formats that no one else can read.

That's called 'lock-in', not choice.

CoreData should make this much more interesting, allowing multiple applications to work with each others' data very easily and smoothly. So much for single-vendor integration.

The file formats are the biggest problem right now, but the OpenOffice folks (and the other projects like that) are making good headway in that arena.

Combine the above two, and you can take one app from Omnigroup, another from Apple, and a third from Stone, and make your own Office suite tailored to your needs.
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post #39 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
Oh, I don't know about that.

Yeah, I don't know about that either, hence the very non-committal language. Again, playing devil's advocate. Honestly, I think the general idea of a productivity suite is, at this point, a basic requirement of a modern computer right out of the box.

However, I think Apple probably should do their own thing within that basic parameter, e.g., make it more graphics savvy, maybe make it more web savvy too. Certainly some sort of database tool is important. As others say, I don't think they could even come close to making an Excel killer, not with Excel's position in the market and the situation under its hood. I think a better approach would be to say, OK, we need something out of the box on our machines that handles people's letters, bills, all the mundane things we expect our computers to help us with. Go from there. I just wouldn't want to see Apple take a me-too approach to such a suite.

Kickaha: trying to wrap my brain around CoreData. Does it potentially fulfill a kind of services- or clipboard-on-steroids wish? I know I've wished for something to that effect before, but I didn't think that CoreData was really related to any such idea.
post #40 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
So they use Word because it integrates with Excel, and they use Excel because it integrates with Word, and they use both because they have proprietary file formats that no one else can read.

That's called 'lock-in', not choice.

CoreData should make this much more interesting, allowing multiple applications to work with each others' data very easily and smoothly. So much for single-vendor integration.

The file formats are the biggest problem right now, but the OpenOffice folks (and the other projects like that) are making good headway in that arena.

Combine the above two, and you can take one app from Omnigroup, another from Apple, and a third from Stone, and make your own Office suite tailored to your needs.

Historically, Microsoft leveraged MS Excel to give MS Office its dominant position among office productivity suites. The other major app in the suite, MS Word, was an also-ran among WinDOS word processors. By bundling Word with Excel in the same box, MS vaulted Word into its current dominant position on the Windows platform. From there, the product is now considered by many to be essential to success in the enterprise market.
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