Microsoft Returns Fire at Apple in Tablet Wars, Says iWorks on iPad Air is No Big Deal

Paul Lilly

Comparing apples to oranges

During Apple's press event earlier this week, the Cupertino company took advantage of its stage time by taking subtle digs at Microsoft over its Surface strategy and software costs. Apple chief Tim Cook pointed out that Microsoft "tried to make tablets into PCs and PCs into tablets," and Apple made sure to point out the price tag of Windows 8.1 and Office when announcing that OS X Mavericks and iWorks would go the pro bono route. If Apple was hoping to elicit a response from Microsoft, well, it got one.

Frank Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Communications at Microsoft, typed up a somewhat lengthy blog post calling out Apple for comparing rotten apples to delicious oranges.

"If you are the TL;DR type, let me cut to the chase. 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 explains . "Making Apple’s decision to build the price of their less popular and less powerful iWork into their tablets is not a very big (or very good) deal."

Shaw went on to expound the strategy behind Surface and why Microsoft feels it's such a wonderful product line, noting that it's a "single, simple, affordable device that helps you both lean in and kick back." He also took more shots at Apple, especially the company's efforts to market the iPad as a productivity tool, and referred to iWorks as "watered down" software.

"Since iWork has never gotten much traction, and was already priced like an afterthought, it’s hardly that surprising or significant a move," Shaw said. "And it doesn’t change the fact that it’s much harder to get work done on a device that lacks precision input and a desktop for true side-by-side multitasking."

Ultimately, Shaw says that dropping the price of "struggling, lightweight productivity apps" isn't a "shot across our bow," but "an attempt to play catch up."

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