Will Apple’s free iWork for iOS impact Microsoft?

Sections: Features, iDevice Apps, iPad, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch, Opinions and Editorials

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Apple introduced the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c during a media event earlier this week, but those weren’t the only big announcements of the afternoon. The Cupertino company also announced that it is making its iWork suite—which includes Pages, Numbers, and Keynotes—absolutely free for its new iOS device users. The free iWork offer also includes other applications such as iPhoto and iMovie, which are already standard on the Mac. Now that all new iOS devices will be offering iWork for free, one can’t help but ask, “Will this impact Microsoft?”

Microsoft’s ad campaigns have been touting the Surface tablet’s ability to run Microsoft Office applications. However, now that Apple is including the free iWork productivity suite that is available via iCloud and syncs with a user’s smartphone, tablet, and Mac to iOS, there is no doubt Microsoft will feel threatened. Surely, they would have known by now that Apple had something up its sleeve to defeat the Surface tablet and its Microsoft Office compatibility. I believe this will not make Apple any better than it already is in cloud based operations and in developing productivity software, though it will give customers a big reason to consider an iOS device.

I know several people that held off on buying the iPad because they didn’t want to pay for each iWork app on top of what they already paid for the device. Now that it is free, I’m sure Apple’s iOS devices will seem much more appealing to a lot of different users, especially business users and students.

Microsoft will definitely have to rethink some of their ad campaigns and mount a strike back at Apple. This is good news for consumers, who will be benefiting from the two companies competing with each other and introducing new products and services (many of them at little or no cost).

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