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Of all the things Apple announced yesterday, few seemed so immune to criticism as the Cupertino giant's decision to make iWork free for all existing Mac and iOS users. However, Frank Shaw, Microsoft's corporate vice president of communications, thought much differently, as AppleInsider reports. In an official Microsoft blog post, Shaw derided the new iWork software, Apple's decision to make it free, and especially the idea of the iPad as a competitor to Microsoft's own Surface tablet.
Maybe he was angered by Tim Cook's quips about the competition being "confused" in his opening remarks yesterday, but Shaw's remarks were noticeably hostile. "Seems like the RDF (Reality Distortion Field) typically generated by an Apple event has extended beyond Cupertino," Shaw wrote, while insinuating that the Surface offers all the same entertainment features of the iPad.
Source: Cult of Mac
"But helping people be productive on a tablet is a little trickier," Shaw said, somewhat echoing outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's words about the iPhone back in 2007. "The good news is that Microsoft understands how people work better than anyone else on the planet."
Making iWork free, Shaw argued, meant little since the "struggling, lightweight productivity apps" never attained the same traction as Microsoft's Office suite. (He was noticeably silent on Apple's similar decision for Mac OS X Mavericks.) Shaw also argued that the iPad's perceived focus on content consumption robs it of precision input and simple multitasking.
Shaw then included a list of his comparisons between the two devices. "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."
In some ways, Shaw's words represent a more hostile take on the same marketing language Microsoft's been using throughout this year to win over Surface adopters. So far, it hasn't worked. Indeed, the first Surface only brought in $853 million for Microsoft, substantially lower than the $900 million writedown Microsoft took for the Surface RT. Ouch.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.