Microsoft exec takes swing at Apple, calls iWork 'watered down,' iPad 'entertainment device'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A senior Microsoft executive on Wednesday fired out a post on the company's official blog deriding Apple's recent special event, saying the iPad with iWork is no equal to Surface 2 and Office.

iPad


Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Communications Frank Shaw, pooh-poohed Apple's move to make the iWork suite of apps free with new device purchases, saying the Surface and Surface 2 were more adept in the productivity department. Shaw was apparently writing the post, titled "Apples and oranges," from Abu Dhabi, "where the only thing hotter than the weather are the new Windows devices unveiled by Nokia this week."

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

Apple on Tuesday announced that it would be offering much of its newly updated software, including the new OS X Mavericks, for free. As for the iWork suite, the company is pre-installing the software on all new iOS and Mac devices, while owners of boxed editions and those who purchased the apps through the Mac App Store can upgrade for no fee.

New iWork


During Apple's keynote, chief executive Tim Cook claimed the competition is confused when it comes to portables. While not naming names, he said, "They chased after netbooks. Now they're trying to make PCs in to tablets, and tablets into PCs." Cook reiterated that Apple has a very clear direction with its own iPad lineup.

Microsoft just recently entered the computer hardware market, and its first devices were the Surface RT and Surface Pro. The two tablets feature detachable QWERTY keyboard covers and, in the case of the Pro, a full version of Windows 8. The devices did not perform well against Apple's iPad and a sea of Android tablets, including those made by the market leader in that segment, Samsung.

It remains to be seen whether Microsoft, which just released the second-generation Surface 2, will be able to catch up to the tablet segment's dominant players. Early reviews of the new tablet have been lukewarm.

Surface


According to Shaw, making a tablet tailored for content consumption is easy, but creating a dual-use device is more challenging.

"That's what Surface is. A single, simple, affordable device that helps you both lean in and kick back," Shaw writes. "Let's be clear - helping folks kill time on a tablet is relatively easy. But helping people be productive on a tablet is a little trickier."

Shaw continued, saying the Surface is the "most productive tablet" on the market today. To get there, Microsoft needed to include three key elements in the tablet:
    1. The gold standard in productivity software - Office.
    2. Faster and more precise input methods like keyboard/trackpad.
    3. The ability to use apps and documents side by side, allowing the comparisons, analysis and synthesis that happens frequently during content creation.
Apple's decision to drop fees for iWork was insignificant, Shaw said, adding that the suite of apps never got much traction. Using the software on an iPad is even more difficult due to the lack of precision input and true multitasking, he said.
Perhaps attendees at Apple's event were required to work on iOS devices that don't allow them to have two windows open for side-by-side comparisons, so let me help them out by highlighting the following facts:
  • The Surface and Surface 2 are less expensive than the iPad 2 and iPad Air respectively, and yet offer more storage, both onboard and in the cloud.
  • ... come with full versions of Office 2013, including Outlook, not non-standard, non-cross-platform, imitation apps that can't share docs with the rest of the world.
  • ... offer additional native productivity enhancing capabilities like kickstands, USB ports, SD card slots and multiple keyboard options.
  • ... include interfaces for opening multiple windows, either side by side or layered to fit the way most people actually work.
"So, 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," he said. Shaw did not take into account that, whether an entertainment tablet or not, the iPad has for many become a de facto productivity device.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 201

    When will they stop trying so hard to look stupid...

  • Reply 2 of 201

    So what does Surface offer that would compel me to give up my notebook?

  • Reply 3 of 201
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

     

    When will they stop trying so hard to look stupid...


    I'm quite sure they're not working hard at it - it just comes naturally to so many at MS.

     

    I wonder if it hurts to work there - actual physical pain, not just the mental anguish I imagine many face.

  • Reply 4 of 201
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,789member
    Remember when Ballmer called the iPhone a “rounding error?” Remember him laughing at the iPhone saying no one would buy a $500 phone?

    Same thing here.

    Wanna bet Office for iOS is announced sooner rather than later?
  • Reply 5 of 201
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,660member
    Ah so this is Ballmer's replacement. He forgot the #1 reason: dancers!!
  • Reply 6 of 201
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member

    And how many billions did they have to write down when their tablet instantly turned into landfill material?

     

    Not the most credible source.

  • Reply 7 of 201
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hentaiboy View Post

     

    So what does Surface offer that would compel me to give up my notebook?


    Well if you spend the EXTRA money to buy the keyboard it makes a happy "click" sound when you attach it. Your builtin, NOT extra money, notebook keyboard won't do that.

  • Reply 8 of 201
    The fact that somebody that high up in Microsoft writes that way really shows that at Microsoft, buffoonish incompetence reaches down from the very top: Steve Ballmer
  • Reply 9 of 201
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jfc1138 View Post

     

    And how many billions did they have to write down when their tablet instantly turned into landfill material?

     

    Not the most credible source.




    No, they're really not credible.

     

    And yet, Apple somehow decided to stupidly copy their ugly flat look with iOS.  Why is Apple trying to copy M$? 

     

    Oh, and it's not exactly inaccurate to call iWork "watered down" because it is.  It's not nearly as powerful as the dungheap that is M$ Office.  Apple could fix that, but they haven't been trying.  People really do want that feature mix, and if it were in a decent program, Apple could take over the office software market.

  • Reply 10 of 201

     

    Quote:

    Microsoft exec takes swing at Apple, calls iWork 'watered down,' iPad 'entertainment device'



    As clueless as ever it seems. From what I remember that "entertainment device" didn't need $1 billion in write-downs. And I'm sure Apple is ever so upset that their "entertainment device" has sold 150 million units and has made them countless 10s of billions of dollars.

  • Reply 11 of 201
    whodawhoda Posts: 29member
    My iWorks documents share just fine with their MS counterparts. Its a joy to be able to work with great productivity software at home and have no compatibility issues when I have to bring my docs back to work.
  • Reply 12 of 201
    He's right, the iPad with iWork is no equal to the Surface with Office. Apple would have to reduce the iPad quality, increase the cost, and make buggy software for it to be equal to the Surface with Office.
  • Reply 13 of 201
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post



    He's right, the iPad with iWork is no equal to the Surface with Office. Apple would have to reduce the iPad quality, increase the cost, and make buggy software for it to be equal to the Surface with Office.

    And they'd have to sell only about 1% of their current total iPad sales.

  • Reply 14 of 201
    jonoromjonorom Posts: 293member
    Yes Frank, we know you make trucks.
  • Reply 15 of 201
    He mentioned Surface is the "most productive tablet" on the market today. He meant the most boring tablet on the market. Because of Windows 8. Moreover, Surface is not a tablet, Surface is kind of small ultra-book. Let him compare Windows 8 to Mavericks "Apple's new OS". Windows 8 has lack of design and there is no consistency. I wanna from him to show give facts that Surface is more powerful than iPad in terms of hardware and Software. Senior Microsoft forgot to mention how are Microsoft programs are expensive. For example, Windows 8 price for $400 - $450 in Australia. Yesterday I download Mavericks for free..
  • Reply 16 of 201
    gustavgustav Posts: 823member
    None of this matters.

    What matters is that since the iPad was released, people realized that MS Office is not as crucial to their work as they thought. They got along fine without it for three years. Very few are waiting for Office for iPad with baited breath. This should scare MS if it isn't already.

    They didn't rush to buy the Surface 1 when it came out, even though it came with Office. So what's different now?
  • Reply 17 of 201
    How much power do I need to write a letter, report, or book? Pages handles all of that bloat free. Same for making spreadsheets. Numbers is actually designed for touch input and is really fast on an ipad.

    Ironically, the app where you do need power is presentations, where Keynote cleans Powerpoint's clock.

    The next killer app from Redmond will be known as MS Irrelevance.
  • Reply 18 of 201
    Quote:


    1. The gold standard in productivity software - Office.

     



    Yeah, that's going to bring the kiddies running!

    Quote:


    2. Faster and more precise input methods like keyboard/trackpad.


    A trackpad is a touch screen without the screen. You can easily add a keyboard to iPad, if using your fingers or speaking are too difficult for corporate types.

    Quote:


    3. The ability to use apps and documents side by side, allowing the comparisons, analysis and synthesis that happens frequently during content creation.


    What you talkin' 'bout? Are you trying to say "making stuff"? Talk about making simple things complex! While you can make stuff on an iPad, that's actually what I have a MacBook Pro for with a big screen connected to it. I can actually have a WHOLE bunch of stuff open at once on that. ;)

  • Reply 19 of 201
    virtuavirtua Posts: 207member
    It's a desperate response to what was a great keynote :)
  • Reply 20 of 201
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,496member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Communications Frank Shaw, pooh-poohed Apple's move to make the iWork suite of apps free with new device purchases, saying the Surface and Surface 2 were more adept in the productivity department. Shaw was apparently writing the post, titled "Apples and oranges," from Abu Dhabi, "where the only thing hotter than the weather are the new Windows devices unveiled by Nokia this week."

     



    Hey Ballmer!!! Good to hear from ya??!!  How the heck are you??!!  Why the name change?

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