iworkAt its big media event today, Apple announced that anyone who purchases a new iOS device — iPhone, iPad, 5th generation iPod Touch — will receive the iWork suite of apps for free, including Keynote, Pages and Numbers.

Those three are the iOS equivalent to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Apple’s decision to offer those up without charge is a pre-emptive strike against Microsoft, which offers mobile versions of Word, Excel and other apps via Office 365 for iPhone, but requires a $100/year subscription. Microsoft has so far stopped short of offering a native Office app for Apple’s iPad.

Al Hilwa, an industry analyst at research firm IDC, wrote up a great piece on GeekWire offering up ten changes for Microsoft’s next CEO. His first recommendation focused on shipping Office for iPad and Android tablets:

This is a decision that has to be made soon. The Office franchise is exposed to erosion as non-Windows mobile devices take productivity work away from Windows PCs and mobile devices. Microsoft has always thought of integration of applications and platforms as a sacred right and fought for it hard in the DOJ case, but it has to rethink its vision of the dominance of Windows in the mobile world and adjust to the reality that it will be at best one of several major players in future devices and will never have the control it did in the pre-touch era. Supporting non-Windows tablets full bore will maximize Microsoft’s paths of eventual success.

Apple today also announced two new iPhones and said that iOS 7 will ship on September 18. In addition to Keynote, Pages and Numbers, the company is offering iPhoto and iMovie up without charge. Including iWork, that’s $40 in apps Apple users can now use for free.

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  • Ryan Parrish

    Duh, they already do this on Windows Phone: you get mobile office for Windows Phone for free, and have since Windows Phone 7 came out, October 21, 2010. Also, Surface RT comes with Office for free too. So, I’d say Microsoft has answered before being asked.

    • guest

      Yes, but that is a platform (WP) that nobody cares about, nor is anyone likely to care anytime soon. The point is that if MS fails to respond to iWork free on iOS, they eventually cede these key productivity segments on iOS to apple.

      • Ryan Parrish

        If the point of Microsoft’s change in direction is to become a devices and services company, essentially what Apple has done well, why waste energy competing on someone else’s platform when you can spend your energy making yours better and winning share?

        • guest

          Because they’re going to fail. Guys it’s just math.

          They’re never going to be a devices company. They shouldn’t have bought Nokia, and they should just stay out of HW. If they focused on just being a service provider, and provide those services everywhere, they would have much more opportunity for success. Just to the math on what it takes to make HW (from where they are now, what it takes to acquire new customers for their devices, and then the LTV, and mobile device business is underwater for decades. There is no scenario where it makes sense.

          And before you bring up xbox, the only part of xbox that makes any money at all is the subscription biz of XBL, which is now hobbled by its ties to the HW. If they set it free they could increase the XBL revenues streams by 5x.

          • Ryan Parrish

            Ok, exactly how does Microsoft stand to make money from Office if they give it away on a platform they make no revenue from?

  • Joe McGrath

    “Those three are the iOS equivalent to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.”
    Just like the Canadian Football league is Canada’s equivalent of the CFL. Good call Iguado.
    Also, anyone can create Word, Excel or Powerpoint documents for free with a hotmail account, using the cloud based office that is free with skydrive.

    • guest

      “Also, anyone can create Word, Excel or Powerpoint documents for free”

      And yet they don’t. They use Google Docs. Why is that I wonder?

      • Joe McGrath

        That wasn’t my point. The point is that this article states that Microsoft charges for these, when they don’t.

        And people who use Google docs aren’t doing real work. There is a reason why it is not widely adopted at corporations; because the reporting given to key decision makers is derived from Excel and Access work that Google docs is laughably bad at. For what most people use Google docs for, notepad could replace it.

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