iWork Vs. Microsoft Office:Mac 2011 – Let the Games Begin

By Rahul Dowlath | Apple

Office for Mac 2011 will be releasing in just a few months’ time. It is a widely-anticipated upgrade to the industry-standard office suite for the Mac platform, and will be introducing, for the first time in this product, Outlook for Mac. This means that, finally, Apple computers can be taken “seriously” in the workplace, as they’re able to play nice with Microsoft Exchange servers.

But the real implication of this new Office version is certainly the fact that Apple’s iWork package – seen as a “competitor” of sorts to the Microsoft offering – is deeply threatened by Office 2011.

Let’s face it: Numbers vs. Excel: the clear winner in terms of power and performance is Excel. After all, it has had years to mature in the workplace, and is the trusted tool in a myriad number of offices to collect and sort large amounts of data. Numbers, on the other hand, is still an infant. Sure, it can make really pretty-looking documents, and I always enjoy using it to work on small data-related assignments for school, but I can never really see this tool being taken seriously in the workplace. For one, it doesn’t have an extensibility tool like Excel has (and will be re-introducing in Office 2011), in the form of Macros.

Microsoft iWork

More: Office 2011 Screenshot and Preview.

The one true contender in the wars between the productivity suites is certainly Keynote from Apple. It’s elegant, has stunning visual effects, and can let any die-hard Apple fanboy live out his fantasies of being Steve Jobs. But seriously, Keynote presentations are always a cut-above-the-rest when compared to PowerPoint counterparts. Intuitive features like controlling your show via an iPhone or iPod touch, great templates and captivating builds really help in accentuating a speech. I know first-hand, as I used this setup to present a 5-minute speech for English class last year, to great acclaim.

Apple really needs to shake-up its act concerning its iWork package. Over a year ago, iWork.com Beta was released, and it still only allows users to view documents, not create them, whereas Microsoft’s Office Live will be offering users the ability to actually edit files, taking on Google Docs head-on.

The way Apple can really succeed against Microsoft here is by designing apps that aren’t bloated and cluttered like Microsoft’s. Then, they need to take cross-platform file compatibility seriously; they can’t keep bluffing themselves that everybody only uses Macs. Because, surprise surprise, in the real world, PCs and Macs have to put their differences aside and try to work together.

So, I say, let the games begin. iWork or Office – pick your side.

 

 

About the Author

I'm a young writer from South Africa, chronicling the changing tides in the ever-flowing river of technology. Focusing mainly on Apple-related technologies, I enjoy sharing my opinion and giving a few tips and tricks here and there on the latest and greatest from 1 Infinite Loop. I'm an avid blogger, and an even more avid reader.

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(15) comments

PK March 26, 2011

Are you for real? How is Office for Mac bloated? Are you talking about the ribbon, which can be hidden. Are you talking about having to many features, which a lot are required in a corporate environment or people who use excel, word and power point for a living? How about true cross platform experience?

Number can’t be used for anything but really simple spread sheet work, pages lacks and keynotes is good but no better then power point 2011. iWorks, is a long ways away from from competing against Office for mac. iWorks, is nothing more than a good home use consumer based software, not a corporate alternative by any stretch of the imagination.

Outlook, is a good step forward for exchange user…Mail, ical and address book just doesn’t cut it for exchange users.

Google Doc’s is a bad joke.

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Jazz January 14, 2011

As a longtime MAC PB user, who just purchased 4th? PB, OMG, I am NOT happy at all with iWorks!! I wish that I had used someones computer that has the latest version of Word, as well as REALLY testing iWorks in the Apple store–by taking my own CD with older Word files, and TEST THEM ALL: PowerPiont, Excel, and Word docs. I am furious with the format bars, but was told the newer Word is the same or worse. I don’t believe it. And if that were true, why would they change something that made so much sense and that I could actually see and read. Well, I have more to say, but…… so many fonts NOT available with iWorks…. Charcoal, Lucida Handwriting, Nadianne,San Francisco…..to name a few. Fonts! Yes, there are two many, but SOMEBODY PLEASE maintain a common lot!! I can barely see the format bars. I just wish I could use my oler version of Office for MAC (2002 purchase). I was very satisfied with how it looks and how it works–on PC or MAC.

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Deepak Gupta November 30, 2010

Is there somewhere to test out iWorks ahead of time? I might consider buying a MacBook Air and like to be cautious since I have always been PC-based.

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    Chris Gunn December 27, 2010

    Just came across this site a few minutes ago and I’m considering iWorks for my notebook, despite being an office user for many years. I bought the MacBook Pro at the beginning of 2009 and got Office 2008, recently upgraded to Office 2011. Only time the Mac has crashed has been during another upgrade to Office. The new one had a patch waiting for me (day of release in Australia) that was almost as large as the original suite of programmes.
    When my desktop dies (Office 2007 installed), it will be replaced by a Mac. Price difference in Australia used to be enormous, not so now. Go to an Apple store and ask them to let you play for a couple of hours. Office 2011 is not as functional as Microsoft would have you believe but it is better than 2008.

    Reply
    Jazz January 14, 2011

    As a longtime MAC PB user, who just purchased 4th? PB, OMG, I am NOT happy at all with iWorks!! I would definitely use someone computer that has the latest version of Word, as well as REALLY testing iWorks in the Apple store. Take your CD with older Word files, and TEST THEM ALL: PowerPiont, Excel, and Word docs. I am furious with the format bars, but was told the newer Word it the same or worse. I don’t believe it. And if that were true, why would they change something that made so much sense and that I could actually see and read. Well, I have more to say, but…….just really compare and examine the actual files and the formating, the fonts…. I had so many fonts NOT available with iWorks…. Charcoal, Lucida Handwriting, Nadianne,San Francisco…..to name a few. Fonts! Yes, there are two many, but SOMEBODY PLEASE maintain a common lot!!

    Reply
Charles Morais October 25, 2010

Hi,

I have used Pages and Numbers, still to use Keynote. I have found something that i like, that was upsetting and irritating when working with WORD.
Each time i added a picture suddenly the document would scroll itself to the first page by itself and picture formatting with WORD is always a headache because it always fails to keep itself like i want it to be. In Pages i can simply add the picture, re-size it, send it to the background and move it around the document page as i want. Hassle free!

Further use will let me know more about its full functionality. Also, Numbers is very practical and easy to use, specially for less complex scenarios.

Oh well, i have wrote enough.
Cheers people.

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Rahul Dowlath October 23, 2010

Each to their own. I’m a big Apple fan, and I use iWork almost daily to get through assignments, and the quality of documents produced with it are exceptional — people have often asked me how I achieve such designs, and it’s all thanks to the intuitiveness and features of the iWork suite.

I just thought that Apple should at least take into consideration what the boys up in Redmond are busy with; at the end of the day, it’ll mean a better overall product for us consumers. I understand that these products are aligned at different markets, but their concept is fundamentally the same: easing the workflow of the office/home office/student.

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Tadd Peake October 23, 2010

It seems you’re missing what iWork is aimed at. Excel vs. Numbers, for instance. Of course there is no comparison for features. Excel is far better for serious spreadsheet geeks. Numbers is better than great for the rest of us. It produces great results with a short learning curve. Excel produces better results with a long learning curve.

It depends on what you need, different tools for different needs.

The Apple “Works” line, starting with Claris Works, was meant to blow Microsoft “Works” out of the water, which it did so neatly that Microsoft Works has virtually disappeared. While MS Works never competed with Office, iWork is a viable Office replacement for all but the most demanding of applications.

Sorry. Late to the thread. I found it jonesing for news about iWork 2010. No love.

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Becks October 14, 2010

How the f can you compare office 2011 to iwork 09?

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Filip Golubovic October 12, 2010

Hey Rahul, you’re from SA?
Wasn’t expecting that after having read the article, good post.
After purchasing iWork 09 in a attempt to go fully ‘mac’ i’ll have to admit that it is inferior after just trying out Office 2011 for Mac…Quite disappointing actually….
Seems the Apple community in SA is growing, you from JHB?

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pcorlatan September 28, 2010

I have never been able to get used to iWork and therefore am more than happy with Office:Mac. I’m using 2008 now and honestly don’t think I’ll upgrade unless there are features that I have to have.

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    Jazz January 14, 2011

    DON’T!!! You will regret, as I do, if you switch. KEEP Office:Mac!!
    And I’m told I can not trade back iWorks, after 12 hrs of use, because…”opened software can not be returned”.

    Reply
JimN September 14, 2010

As much as I hate Microsoft products, the fact that iWork will apparently never become a mainstay in Corporate America, will force me to switch to Office 2011 when it comes out if for nothing more, the ability to work seamlessly with my Windows counterparts without having to go through huge duplication of effort between Pages and MS Word or Keynote and PowerPoint. Not to mention the fact that iCal is horrible with scheduling on Exchange.

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Swapnil August 22, 2010

Honestly, Ill go with office.

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