Microsoft unfazed by 'lightweight' Apple software

October 23, 2013
Apple's new iPad Air tablet is seen on October 22, 2013 in San Francisco, California.

Microsoft on Wednesday brushed off Apple's move to give away its software, claiming the iWork productivity suite from its rival was "lightweight" and "has never gotten much traction."

The reaction came a day after Apple unveiled its new line of iPads and announced much of its and upgrades would be free, including iWork, which competes with Microsoft's top-selling Office suite.

"Since iWork has never gotten much traction, and was already priced like an afterthought, it's hardly that surprising or significant a move," Microsoft corporate vice president Frank Shaw said on the company's corporate blog.

"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. I think they, like others, are waking up to the fact that we've built a better solution for people everywhere ... People who want a single, simple, affordable device with the power and flexibility to enhance and support their whole day."

Shaw also defended Microsoft's Surface, the tablet introduced a year ago which had little impact in the market and forced the Redmond, Washington, firm to take a huge writedown before revamping the device last month.

"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," he said.

The Microsoft Surface pro 2 is seen during a news conferece in New York September 23, 2013.

"Microsoft understands how people work better than anyone else on the planet. We created the personal computing revolution by giving people around the world a low-cost, powerful, easy-to-use device that helped them accomplish an unbelievable array of tasks."

Shaw said Surface "is the most productive tablet you can buy today" because of its Office suite, "more precise" inputs like a keyboard and trackpad, and "the ability to use apps and documents side by side."

Apple, which unveiled several products and upgrades on Tuesday, said that iWork and iLife software suites—for tasks from video editing to mixing music and making business presentations—would be free with all its devices.

"These are really incredibly rich apps, and we have only just scratched the surface of what you can do with them," Apple chief executive Tim Cook said.

"We are turning the industry on its ear, because we want our customers to have our latest software and access to the greatest new features."

Explore further: Microsoft Office comes to Android, but not tablets

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not rated yet Oct 24, 2013
So say the experts in heavyweight applications. Launching Office on my computer minds me of peristaltic processes during a serious case of constipation. After a long delay, during which you are aware that your system is working hard, finally something emerges - the Office banner page.

That Microsoft VP described Office as "the world's most popular productivity software" (whatever that means). True to a large extent only because Microsoft killed off all the commercial competition. That, and making it difficult for any new competing products to interoperate means most Word users are compelled to use it regardless of their preferences.

Charles Stross had a good rant about it recently:
5 / 5 (1) Oct 27, 2013
I've always revered Microsoft so I say this with same mix of terror/love/good intentions I feel for my children: Stop disparaging Apple and get your act together before they run off with the whole pie and leave you outside in the cold with your pants down.
not rated yet Oct 27, 2013
Microsoft still thinks code bloat will serve them best.

Others think that light, efficient code is the way to go.

Microsoft has been a loser on ARM, and will continue to be a loser on even lower horsepower chips.

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