Free iWork offer for iOS and Mac users blasted by Microsoft

Software giant rubbishes iWork price cut, claiming it's not a "significant move".

iWork apps running iOS devices

Microsoft has accused arch-rival Apple of playing catch-up in the productivity space, after the Cupertino giant announced plans to give away its iWork software for free.

Apple confirmed on Tuesday night, during the launch event for its new iPad models, that its productivity software suite iWork will now be included for free with every Mac and iOS device.

When I see Apple drop the price of their struggling, lightweight productivity apps, I don't see a shot across our bow, I see an attempt to play catch up.

While the news is sure to have been welcomed by Apple device users, Microsoft has hit out at its rival over the move, because it already gives Surface users access to free copies of Office.

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"Apple announced yesterday that they were dropping their fees on their iWork' suite of apps. Now, since iWork has never gotten much traction, and was already priced like an afterthought, it's hardly a surprising or significant move," wrote Frank Shaw, corporate vice president of communications at Microsoft, in a blog post.

"And it doesn't change the fact that it's much harder to get work done on a device that lacks precision input and desktop for true side-by-side multi-tasking."

He then went on to rubbish suggestions that giving iWork away for free should give Microsoft cause for concern, having already trumpeted the productivity and price benefits of the Surface.

For instance, Shaw highlighted the fact the Surface and Surface 2 are cheaper to buy than the iPad 2 and iPad Air, respectively, and also provide users with access to more storage, both on-premise and in the cloud.

"When I see Apple drop the price of their struggling, lightweight productivity apps, I don't see a shot across our bow, I see an attempt to play catch up," Shaw continued.

"I think they, like others, are waking up to the fact we've built a better solution for people everywhere, who are getting things done from anywhere, and who don't have hard lines between their personal and professional lives."

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