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Apple's Rumored Office Suite 863

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-much-else-happening-today dept.
Several anonymous readers noted that the mac rumor mill is churning already with news for the upcoming MacWorld. The current rumor is a new office suite to replace the incredibly dated AppleWorks and incredibly bloated and slow MS Office.
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Apple's Rumored Office Suite

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  • appleworks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Neophytus (642863) * on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:18PM (#11246171)
    Dated? Maybe! Useful for simple word processing? Absolutely.

    I cann't fault it's ability to make a simple hand typed document without bloat, and for that I will continue to use it.
  • by mOoZik (698544) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:19PM (#11246175) Homepage
    It's about time for a replacement, but I hope the changes made - if the rumor is indeed true - are solid, needed ones rather than an artsy, candied gloss over the previous offering.

  • by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:19PM (#11246180) Homepage
    The office suite is the lynchpin of practically every single consumer computer setup, with the possible exception of dedicated gaming machines. Apple has been repeatedly demonstrating that they want to give people a computer that "Just Works". The integration between Apple applications and the system is simply amazing.

    Who wouldn't welcome a slick, well-integrated, back-to-basics, consumer-grade office suite to come out of Apple?

    • by sangreal66 (740295) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:27PM (#11246271)
      The integration between Apple applications and the system is simply amazing.

      It is amazing when its Apple but evil when its Microsoft?
      • sangreal66 [slashdot.org] wrote:
        The integration between Apple applications and the system is simply amazing.
        It is amazing when its Apple but evil when its Microsoft?

        No. When Apple does it, it works. When Microsoft does it, it satisfies the feature list.
        • by iBod (534920) on Monday January 03, 2005 @03:08PM (#11246776)
          Oh come on now!

          You can't say MS's office integration doesn't work, or that it merely ticks a box on some notional feature list.

          The level integration and interoperability of the Office suite is something that most other software vendors aspire to, but few (if any) have achieved.

          It's not an easy thing to acomplish. Which is why MS Office is as popular on the Mac platform as it is on Wintel.
          • by dutky (20510) on Monday January 03, 2005 @03:34PM (#11247087) Homepage Journal
            iBod [slashdot.org] wrote:
            You can't say MS's office integration doesn't work, or that it merely ticks a box on some notional feature list.

            That's odd, I thought I just did.
            The level integration and interoperability of the Office suite is something that most other software vendors aspire to, but few (if any) have achieved.

            I'm not really sure what you mean here. What do you allege Microsoft Office interoperates with? I haven't noticed that it operates very well with other vendors software, or that it even operates very well with different versions of itself. As for integration, it seems to be a middling effort, at best. The total integration, between both the office suite elements and between the suite and the OS, seems to be stuck at the level achieved by other vendors back around 1995.
            It's not an easy thing to acomplish. Which is why MS Office is as popular on the Mac platform as it is on Wintel.

            Gosh, and I thought that illegal bundling arrangements and abuse of monopoly power might have had something to do with it. I realize that I hold and unpopular opinion, and that all right-thinking computer users recognize Microsoft for the innovative and benevolent capitalist they are, but I guess I just like being an iconoclast and a parriah.
      • by goates (412876) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:48PM (#11246512)
        Yes, because Apple manages to keep the programs separate from each other and the system while still having them work well together. If you want to use a different browser oe email program, go for it. It is pretty easy to remove the ones you don't want.

        On the other hand, removing Outlook Express seems to cripple MSN Messenger, Outlook and who knows what else.
      • by gamgee5273 (410326) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:53PM (#11246573) Homepage Journal
        No one said it's evil when it's MS. What happens to be the issue with MS and its app development is that one hand never seems to take into account what the other is doing. Thus, the Word team doesn't talk to the Excel team until it's time to bring the apps together (and I understand Access has multiple teams that cause more than a fair share of problems), which is when they start thinking about ways to integrate the apps.

        I'm not saying that Apple is going to do it right, but if they focus on the office suite as one product, not individual products, then I can easily see a better app/system integration than MS has been able to pull off.

        I'm doubtful due to two things: FileMaker and Keynote. Clearly, half of the suite is already there, under Apple's full control, and ready to roll. But will we still see a slow office suite, like MS Office, or will Apple actually pull Keynote and Filemaker in to the point where they are parts of one product, not seperate products bundled together.

      • by Drakino (10965) <d_slashdot.miniinfo@net> on Monday January 03, 2005 @03:03PM (#11246707) Journal
        It is amazing when its Apple but evil when its Microsoft?

        Yep. Because when Apple does it, the end user sees a benefit. When Microsoft does it, their market share increases. There was no logical reason to integrate the entire browser into the OS like it was in Windows 9x. The proper and better way is to embed an API, and put a browser out that works off that, like how OS X (Safari) and 2000/XP do it. Remember how in 98 IE crashes could make the taskbar disappear?

        The integration between the iLife apps is a great example of good integration. On the Windows side, Movie Maker ignores Windows Media Player to find music, and the photo stuff in the OS is horrible and can't be turned into a movie slideshow easially.
      • by The Infamous Grimace (525297) <emailpsc@gmail.com> on Monday January 03, 2005 @03:38PM (#11247135) Homepage

        It is amazing when its Apple but evil when its Microsoft?

        It's a question of scale. Apple doesn't truly integrate its apps; rather, it creates separate apps that work well together and can easily trade info back and forth, yet no single app is required at all. You could replace every Apple app on your OS X system, and the core OS would still operate fine. Even the Finder. [macosxhints.com]
        With MS, the apps are portrayed as being necessary to the operation of the OS.

        (tig)
      • by sg3000 (87992) * <.sg_public. .at. .mac.com.> on Monday January 03, 2005 @05:37PM (#11248243)
        >> The integration between Apple applications and the system
        >> is simply amazing.

        >it is amazing when its Apple but evil when its Microsoft?

        Integration isn't inherently bad. It's can be good or bad depending on how it's done.

        There's a big difference between the way Apple does it and the way Microsoft does it. Often times, Apple does it to make the consumer's life easier and to provide a benefit. Microsoft often does it to bundle applications together so that you only get the benefits if you use all their stuff.

        Case in point: Apple versus Microsoft for personal information management (PIM).

        In this corner, we have Apple!
        email: Apple Mail
        address book: AddressBook
        calendar: iCal

        In the other corner, we have Microsoft.
        email: Entourage
        address book: Entourage
        calendar: Entourage

        Apple uses open standards to store their data. They use an open mbox standard to store messages in Apple Mail. They use vcard to store addresses. They use vcal store calendar stuff.

        Microsoft allows you to export messages, but they're Entourage formatted documents, which can only be opened in Entourage. You can't easily move addresses out of Entourage. For example, in AddressBook, you can drag a group of names out, open the file in a text editor, make changes, save it, and drag the vcard back into AddressBook where it will update the changes. I can drag that vcard to any application and do whatever I want with it.

        On top of that, any application can access the AddressBook's database in order to use contacts. That's cool.

        On the other hand, we have Microsoft's integration. I upgraded to Office 2004, and I would like to use Entourage for email (we're using Outlook for mail at work), but I want to use AddressBook for my contacts (because of its support for Bluetooth phones). Microsoft has tightly integrated their own technologies so I can't switch easily.

        Maybe Apple would do the same if the situation were reversed, but the courts (prior to the Bush administration) already convicted Microsoft of abusing its monopoly and illegally bundling applications for the purpose of locking out competition. Clearly Microsoft has a history of illegally bundling in order to control a market.
    • The office suite is the lynchpin of practically every single consumer computer setup

      How do you figure?

      That may have been the case five years ago, but not now -- the most important applications that runs on a consumer PC today are the web browser and the email client.
    • by rseuhs (322520) on Monday January 03, 2005 @03:20PM (#11246909)
      The OASIS file-format, which is going to be used (natively) in OpenOffice2 (and backported to 1.1) and KOffice is being standardized by ISO.

      If Apple also comes on board, this would help a lot in creating a true office standard-format (for the first time in computing history, until now we just have fluctuating quasi-standards set by whatever version of whatever office suite happens to be in the most widest use) benefit everybody except Microsoft.

      I will be able to read OASIS-documents in 20 years, but I have my doubts about MSOffice documents...

  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:19PM (#11246183)
    The interesting thing is, they already have a simple Word replacement - TextEdit. It case read and write Word files. The only thing it's really missing is table support, which is supposed to be coming in Tiger. With that it can completely replace Word for me.

    So I wonder if a full-blown word processor would be a souped-up TextEdit, or base off something else - just like they used KHTML instead of Mozilla as a base for Safari.
  • by mgs1000 (583340) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:20PM (#11246188) Journal
    ...to replaced the incredibly dated Apple Works and incredibly expensive,bloated and slow MS Office.
  • Bloatedly slow? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kaleco (801384) <greig.marshall2@nOSPAm.btinternet.com> on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:20PM (#11246192)
    I think the submitter has an axe to grind. I have been quite impressed with Word on OSX, and indeed the rest of the available Office suite. I would prefer to use OpenOffice, but I feel it has a little longer to mature on OSX.
    • He forgot "unstable" (Score:5, Interesting)

      by alispguru (72689) <bane&gst,com> on Monday January 03, 2005 @03:07PM (#11246762) Journal
      Word for OS X isn't slow until you use it to open big complex documents (the ones that TextEdit won't open correctly because they have lots of tables, footnotes, images, a table of contents, etc.). Documents like that barely scroll on my ancient and revered dual 450 MHz G4.

      And when they do scroll, they cause Word to crash, about once a day. Makes me feel like I'm running Windows 98 again, except I don't have to reboot afterwards.
  • The name is free (Score:5, Interesting)

    by browse (557685) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:22PM (#11246210)
    I noticed a piece of Mac shareware just released a new version today. The reason? They are dropping their old "iWork" name for a new one. Veddy interestink.

    (Note, the piece of shareware is now titled "iBiz" [versiontracker.com].)
  • why not do... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i.r.id10t (595143) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:22PM (#11246213)
    ... a better port of OpenOffice? Last I checked (admittedly about a year) there was a working port, but it required installing X11 and a few other "non-Macish" actions before it would work. Could they be better off just "fixing" it ?
    • Re:why not do... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ford Prefect (8777) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:33PM (#11246351) Homepage
      Probably already posted, but there's NeoOffice/J [planamesa.com], which does a much better job of integrating into Mac OS X. Ignore the Windows-style widgets in the user interface - properly important things like styled copy-and-paste, printing, system fonts and so on work brilliantly, unlike with the X11-based port.

      Also, it's very much in active development, and keeps on improving. They've been working on the low-level stuff first, getting that to work nicely, and they're now starting on making it much more Mac-like. Aqua menus are just one recent addition... :-)
      • Re:why not do... (Score:3, Informative)

        by johnalex (147270)
        There's a patch that give NeoOffice the Aqua menus, but when I downloaded the latest beta [neooffice.org], I found they have already included Aqua-style menus. The scrollbars are still un-Maclike, though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:22PM (#11246218)
    Oh no, here come the proles. The tasteless rabble. The masses who see nothing past the price tag. Of course you can't blame them if their trust funds aren't large enough to provide them with life's very finest--they wouldn't appreciate it anyways--but surely Apple should know better than to serve the poor peasants la crème de la vie on the discount rack at Sears.

    There was a time, not long ago, when you could tell everything that mattered about a person by his or her choice of operating system. You would notice a man at the local bistro with his titanium PowerBook and a deep garnet Merlot, and you instinctively knew: here is a man with a certain flair, a je ne sais quoi that makes his company worth your while. You'd wonder if the dark-clad woman striding down the street was your type; then you'd notice tucked under her arm a Duo 2300c, so retro and so delicously delicate, and you'd be smitten, simply devastated. You'd go for coffee along Bedford and the two of you would talk about the next East Village gallery opening, or the latest collection from Philippe Starck, or how Frank Lloyd Wright had ruined American architecture.

    And it wasn't just about being able to identify like-minded individuals. As a Mac user yourself, you belonged to an exclusive club of discriminating individuals and creative geniuses. Artists like Picasso. Activists like Teresa Heinz. Revolutionaries like Václav Havel. Writers like Dave Eggers. Actresses like Chloë Sevigny. I remember at a cocktail party in SoHo once--it must have been in the mid-'90s--Susan Sontag, Haruki Murakami and I spent hours debating the merits of Mac OS 8's new "Platinum" theme. Those were fine times, indeed.

    But ever since the introduction of the mass-produced iMac and iBook, it's been getting harder to distinguish the aesthetically conscious literati from the unwashed masses. It started with the yuppies, and now it's moving on to state-school students and former Dell buyers. On Bedford Avenue, L Café is gone, replaced by a Baby Gap. Soon it will be smelly Linux enthusiasts (ugh!) popping their pimples over translucent keyboards and lickable widgets.

    We Mac users were willing to forgive Apple the iPod's popularity, but this... if this rumor is true, then this is going too far. Mon Dieu! Apple, why do you want to sell to these poor peasants? These people don't appreciate beauty and elegance. They don't understand it. They probably even voted for Bush--all four times.

    Mr. Jobs, please establish eligibility requirements for the purchase of a new Mac. A good start would be to disqualify anyone who listens to Ashanti or anything they play on K-Rock. You could also disqualify people who think digital watches are cool, as well as all objectivists. In America, don't even bother selling to the lower Midwest. Don't accept applications postmarked from trailer parks. Ban the entire Hilton family.

    One way or another, something must be done to preserve the Macintosh community. Anguished but unified, we cry out with one voice. Dam the river, close the gates, pull up the portcullis, keep out the tasteless proles. Please, Mr. Jobs, don't wait until it's too late.
  • Makes Sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cyngus (753668) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:23PM (#11246225)
    This rumor seems to make a lot of sense. If Apple were building a new office suite from the ground up it would take a while to do and would explain why AppleWorks say there and played dead for years. Most of the AppleWorks team has probably been working on writing the new office suite and a few people left working on AppleWorks updates and fixes. Also I can see this suite taking a while as Apple would want it to work very intuitively, something that Office frequently fails at and AppleWorks rarely shines at. There are so many formatting options and other tools that to build a really good word processor a complete re-think needs to be done on how the interface is organized. Right now its a nearly endless array of menus and sub-menus. Let's hope Apple does a good job of cleaning up the mess.
    • Re:Makes Sense (Score:5, Interesting)

      by WillAdams (45638) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:30PM (#11246303) Homepage
      Agreed.

      Hopefully Apple will take a look at projects like LyX ( http://www.lyx.org ), the ``What You See Is What You Mean'' document processor.

      For those who're wondering why Microsoft Office or Open Office aren't ideal --- contrast them with TextEdit.app which:

      - is a Cocoa application
      - supports all Mac OS X input methods,
      - fonts (incl. AAT fonts like Zapfino)
      - Unicode
      - Services

      That last is one of the under-appreciated advantages of Mac OS X. In _any_ Cocoa application (or Carbon app written to support Services) I can:

      - Convert case (ALL CAPS to Initial Caps &c.)
      - have autocompletion from a user-defined list
      - complete a Citation (using Bibdesk)
      - typeset a TeX equation and get an in-place .pdf
      - sort
      - &c.

      William
  • by danielrm26 (567852) * on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:24PM (#11246239) Homepage
    People need to realize that making a successful Office competitor doesn't equate to making it less "bloated and slow", or adding any sort of all-important feature set.

    The only way any product in this space is going to go places is if it works just like Office, acts just like Office, feels just like Office, etc. Office is the standard, and for 99% of people that use it, it's flawless. Any deviation from this standard suite, even if it's an improvement, is nothing but a nuisance to the average user.

    A common user seeing one single glitch (glitch defined as something different from how it works in Office) will run (not walk) to their standard MS Office icons.

    How do I know this is true? Simple. There are tons of people who are actually into the OSS movement, love Slashdot, run Linux servers, run OS X, etc. that *still* run MS Office when they can run OpenOffice instead? Why is that? It's because even the most open-minded of us are creatures of habit. And if *these* people are resistant, imagine how the masses are.
    • The only way any product in this space is going to go places is if it works just like Office, acts just like Office, feels just like Office, etc. Office is the standard, and for 99% of people that use it, it's flawless. Any deviation from this standard suite, even if it's an improvement, is nothing but a nuisance to the average user.

      I disagree. You are correct in one sense: anybody who already uses Microsoft Office (whether at work or at home) for document creation will be more comfortable sticking with

      • by JudasBlue (409332) on Monday January 03, 2005 @03:05PM (#11246735)
        Do you work? I am not trying to be a troll, but I find this difficult to understand. I have to deal with documents from my co-workers all the time. I have to generate documents to my co-workers all the time. By your term "casual user" I am reading "does work that doesn't involve touching a computer", which in the world I know is a definite minority of people.

        Is an office suite the number one thing I use on my laptop? No, it isn't. But it surely is an important component. And I am not actually an office worker per se, I am a mostly-contract coder. But I still have to generate and deal with a significant number of documents in an Office-compatible format for dealing with others. And I can't really imagine many jobs that use a computer at all that aren't the same way.
    • for 99% of people that use it, it's flawless

      100% of prison inmates live in prison. The people who don't like Office, aren't using it. Simple.

      There are tons of people who are actually into the OSS movement, love Slashdot, run Linux servers, run OS X, etc. that *still* run MS Office when they can run OpenOffice instead?

      I don't suppose this could be because OpenOffice isn't quite as good as Office? Nah... can't risk putting a dent in your precious OSS.

      I would use MS Office over OpenOffice on OS X becau
  • Great Move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Richard5mith (209559) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:25PM (#11246248) Homepage
    It's not a new office suite, it's an application called Pages that will be bundled in with Keynote to make a new suite of applications called iWork (to complement iLife). There's no word of a spreadsheet application for example.

    If the rumour is true (and Think Secret have been very accurate over the past couple of years) then bundling all this software along with the $500 Mac is a great move for them. 1.25Ghz G4 might not sound like much, but it's faster than the last generation iMac I have, and it's already fast enough for the majority of computer users (those who surf, do email, write some letters and take pictures from their digital cameras). Combined with all the software these users are likely to need, it's a great price.
  • by maynard (3337) <j,maynard,gelinas&gmail,com> on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:27PM (#11246270) Journal
    ...But Office v.X for the Mac is actually quite nice. I've yet to experience document incompatability problems with MS Office for Windows. For simple documents like research papers and personal writing it does the job reasonably well. Now I haven't written a large thesis with piles of footnotes, or a large book with a huge integrated outline... so it could blow for serious work and I wouldn't know. But the fact is that I need to submit my work in MS word format and it does the job.

    Apple may come out with a quality office suite. But if MS Word/Windows users run into even minor incompatability problems with its output, it will fail. I assume the real reason Apple is doing this is because MS may stop supporting MS Office for the Mac. Which would be a real shame. I'm not saying the government should force them to continue supporting the product, but I strongly doubt it's an unprofitable product line. I would certainly buy the next release. Shouldn't shareholders have some say in this? --M
    • by gjh (231652) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:57PM (#11246623)
      Powerpoint compatibility is diabolical, because it's native tables and graphics are rubbish, so it constantly embeds foreign application documents on the Windows side that cannot be displayed on the Mac. In the other direction, God forbid you actually paste a screenshot in, because it will be a compressed TIFF, and when that gets back to Powerpoint for Windows it will not only fail to display it, but will actively hard-replace it with a graphic of a broken red X.

      Office v.X on the Mac cannot do html round-tripping. So for anyone who prefers to store files as html like I do (for easier style sheet editing - die wysiwig die - and for post processing and export), you are screwed. The html format is not interoperable between the two either, information is lost here as well.
  • by dioscaido (541037) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:27PM (#11246272)
    I sure hope their market share increases, so we can start suing them for monopolistic practices! :)
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:27PM (#11246275)
    I just upgraded from Office 98 to Office 2004. What a complete waste of money. Aside from OS X code and antialiased fonts, the new version is less stable, slower, crankier, and festooned even more Microsoft User Interface Atrocities than ever. Six years and 3 versions later, Office has failed to fix most (any?) of the annoyances from the 1998 version. I guess near-100% market share means the company does not have to do anything to charge money for its double-speak "upgrades".

    Sorry for the rant.
  • Word compatible (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Johnny Mnemonic (176043) <mdinsmore AT gmail DOT com> on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:28PM (#11246285) Homepage Journal

    If this iWorks isn't 100%--and I mean 100%--compatible with Office, forget it. And is Apple making the right strategic move, here? One of the reasons that folks even contemplate moving from Windows to OS X, instead of, say, Linux, is that you can buy Microsoft Office for OS X.

    If MS feels threatened by iWorks, they'll just kill Office for OS X. And then Apple has lost one of their best marketing reasons to go Mac instead of Linux.

    Not that Keynote really caused any problems--but iWord is a different story. Maybe this is just so Apple can have a "professional grade" office suite to put on the their pro line, and if you need Office compatibility (like 95% of the world) you buy Office for the Mac? But it would save that other 5% $500.

    I guess I don't see the wisdom of this.
    • Re:Word compatible (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cyngus (753668) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:46PM (#11246495)
      Office isn't 100% compatible with Office. By this I mean that its not uncommon for different versions of office to have trouble writing to or reading from older formats.
    • Re:Word compatible (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bronz (429622)

      I think this is a catch-22. If Microsoft feels threated by an OSX office suite then killing Microsoft Office for OSX would only drive people to use it the alternative more. This would be a poor business move until the development costs for OSX become financially discouraging in relation to sales. Microsoft, after all, is in business of selling software to people who will pay for it.
    • Re:Word compatible (Score:3, Insightful)

      by l0ungeb0y (442022)
      I'm not so sure I agree with your FUD.

      While it's true that MS cited Safari as the reason to kill off IE for the Mac, keep in mind that Mac IE was a freeware application, hence -- no profits, so why compete with an apple version that has more a more current codebase?

      MS on the otherhand makes a tidy chunk of change with their Office X series product for the Mac, also, appleworks has been available for free from Apple for years... so why pull out now rather than just compete?

      Also, MS bought up Connectix, th
    • Not that Keynote really caused any problems--but iWord is a different story.

      They already have iWord, only it's called TextEdit, and it's fully compatible with 98% of Word docs. Most of the rest will be compatible when tables are added in Tiger.

      If the name iWorks is correct, it means that this suite won't be aimed at the pro market - that would be PowerWorks. Everything from Apple that starts with "i" has been targeted at the home user. So you almost have it, though your numbers are reversed: iWorks for
    • by alispguru (72689) <bane&gst,com> on Monday January 03, 2005 @03:16PM (#11246860) Journal

      If MS feels threatened by iWorks, they'll just kill Office for OS X.

      Office for OS X is profitable for MS, so killing it could only be seen as an obvious anti-competitive move by a convicted monopolist.

      If they did that, the US Justice Department would be all over them in a heartbeat...

      Oh, sorry. Never mind.
  • Some Notes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blackmonday (607916) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:29PM (#11246298) Homepage
    This rumor circulates before every MacWorld. Think it can happen? Stebe had Microsoft people demo the new Microsoft Office at a very recent MacWorld, during the keynote. It seemed Apple was trying hard to keep Microsoft happy - Apple desperately needs continued Office development to declare themselves a viable alternative to Windows desktops. No Office compatability, no dice.

    Apple's walking a tightrope with Microsoft.

  • by macz (797860) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:30PM (#11246304)
    Too Bad.

    Now if the interface is an absolute paradigm shift that is an order of magnitude more efficient than the mah jhong tiles that define the top of applications in GUI's today AND it runs on Linux?

    Then watch out.

    Otherwise, people will put up with Office because it is what their company buys, and they don't want to learn 2 word processors/spreadsheet/groupware applications. IE: They will not want to use one application for 99% of what they do every day, and the other one for the Holiday Christmas letter.

  • by bhadreshl (841411) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:34PM (#11246361)
    I would like to see what new features this includes when compared to MS Office or OpenOffice.

    Hopefully this will create more competition between these office suites and bring about new features to Office market.

    Hopefully Apple will try to use some open standards
  • by mogrify (828588) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:41PM (#11246441) Homepage
    Apple's new word processing software had been rumored to be called Document, but sources say it appears that name has been abandoned, possibly due to the confusion a user might encounter when being told "this document is a Document document."

    This brings to mind MS's annoying habit of calling things by generic names (Movie Maker, SQL Server, Word, Internet Explorer, Media Player, etc.). I wish they'd knock it off... it can really screw up a Google search, both for MS and non-MS products. They should stick with names like Excel and Powerpoint, and Apple should not pick up this habit. Call it iWriter or something. Hell, why not OOWriter :)
  • by Omega1045 (584264) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:45PM (#11246488)
    incredibly bloated and slow MS Office

    I don't know what you are talking about with that comment. My system, 3.6 GHz Pentium 4 with 3 GB RAM, runs MS Office just fine. I believe that is just above the current hardware requirements of MS Office.

  • Excel (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kaleco (801384) <greig.marshall2@nOSPAm.btinternet.com> on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:47PM (#11246506)
    I'm lead to believe that writing a program with the full scope of Excel is absolutely not trivial, and matching it would not be as simple as deciding that you wish to compete. Could anyone shed any light on this?
  • Oh-oh-oh! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:48PM (#11246518) Homepage Journal
    Apple could do everyone (including Microsoft) a favor by concentrating their effort solely on components that read/write/render MS Office and Mac Works file formats in OpenOffice.org, and distributing OO.o with every Mac. Macs could become the preferred authoring platforms for every medium, extending their audio/video dominance into the office, for consumption by the vast masses downstream running Windows and Linux.
  • by pbooktebo (699003) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:53PM (#11246566)
    I'd be happy if they kept TextEdit, but created an app along these lines:
    Simple Interface
    Compatible file formats (Text Edit does to this)
    A slightly more robust UI (default-on Fonts window, etc)
    Support for tables and graphics.

    I already use TextEdit for 50% or more of my writing (basically all but academic papers), and if they could keep the simplicity while making it a bit more similar to most people's experience with Word (keep the 20% of features that end up in 99% of the documents), I'd use it for 100% of my documents.

    I've also tried the X11 OpenOffice, and a native port to OSX would be nice. that said, having the Windows-centric keystrokes blows.

    C'mon, Apple, you can do it!
  • by ravenspear (756059) on Monday January 03, 2005 @02:53PM (#11246570)
    There have been a continuing series of rumors that Apple is developing an Office suite with features on par with MS Office, and I think that is quite likely true.

    However, I really don't see Apple releasing such a product at the current time, when they really need MS to continue development on OS X Office to attract potential switchers.

    I think it is more likely being developed as a contingency plan in case anything happens with MS to cause them to terminate development of OS X Office or sour their relationship with Apple.

    We saw this already with the browser situation. Apple promoted IE heavily over Netscape only while their agreement with MS required it. Then when development on OS X Explorer started to languish badly and it was clear that it was no longer a priority for MS, Apple released Safari. It is quite likely that development on it began long before then.
  • by micron (164661) on Monday January 03, 2005 @03:03PM (#11246699)
    I know this does not please a lot of the Open Office fans out there, and this is not an attempt at starting a flame war.

    I use Microsoft Office at work on the PC, and I know that many others do as well. Having Microsoft Office available for the Mac was the single most important reason that I chose a Mac as a viable computer for home use.

    If Apple puts Microsoft in a position where they are competing, Microsoft may well do what they did in the Safari situation and stop developing the product.

    No matter how much better an Apple office suite may be, I would see that as being detrimental to the market growth that is inspired by having a document compatible office suite at home.

    If Joe Six-pack uses Office at work, he will easily understand that having Office for the Mac as a compatible solution.

    Any other solution at home would bring up compatibility questions by default.
  • by Trilobyte (19074) on Monday January 03, 2005 @03:13PM (#11246826) Homepage
    Awhile ago, Apple re-hired much of the team from Gobe [macrumors.com], creators of the amazing app Productive [gobe.com] for BeOS. Productive was the most tightly-integrated, easy to use, and fast office suite I've ever had the joy to use.

    The team that created Productive was also the team behind the original ClarisWorks on the Mac, which too was an amazing feat of integration in a small footprint. Then a different coding team took over, it became AppleWorks, and began to suck royally.

    If the team behind Productive is the team behind this rumored office suite, it is going to be one sweet Suite! HA HA HA HA. Seriously, though, they are masters of the art.
  • by payndz (589033) on Monday January 03, 2005 @03:19PM (#11246897)
    In accordance with the Apple philosophy that Mac hardware and software 'just works', Steve Jobs has announced that iWorks' equivalent of Clippy will actually be relevant, helpful and useful.
  • by sjonke (457707) on Monday January 03, 2005 @03:34PM (#11247085) Journal
    I really doubt that iWork will be a Microsoft Office class of program(s) - it's unlikely it would have professional features such as change tracking, for example. If it were professional it would not have the "i" moniker. And that's super - I need a word processor, etc, to recommend to my Mom, and for myself for that matter. AppleWorks is an embarrassing recommendation, at best. iWork is desperately needed.
  • Won't matter. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sootman (158191) on Monday January 03, 2005 @04:03PM (#11247399) Homepage Journal
    Keynote can make a dent in PowerPoint because presentation files are traded relatively rarely. For spreadsheets and (for want of a better term) Word documents, interchange is essential. Perception is reality, and if someone can't read a Word doc because you made it with something other than MS Word, it is your fault. If it's because of screwups between Office XP, 2004, 2001, 2000, or '97, both parties can safely blame MS. Otherwise, the 'nonconformist' takes the blame. Everyone here should know by now that no one wants to hear how they shouldn't be using Word documentns [gnu.org]. Users want it simple and to just work. 100% Word compatibility is impossible--at best, you're spending all your resources chasing a moving target. At worst, you're doing a bad job and no one will use your product.

    And remember kids, for every mom and dad you get to start using Open Office, there are a thousand companies with a thousand employees each who will continue to buy MS Office. Overthrowing the market leader is possible [joelonsoftware.com] but it gets more and more difficult every year. There are orders of magnitude more Excel users today than there were Lotus 1-2-3 users.

    Personally, I think Adobe really missed the boat. They should have made a word processor based on PDF. The full version of Acrobat can edit text, so they should have made something--even as simple as MS WordPad--where PDF was the native format. Since everyone and their brother can read PDFs (and they hold their formatting even better than Word docs) they could have distributed a $50-$100 PDF editor--nothing more than Acrobat Reader and Wordpad--that would have ate MS's lunch. Think about it--anyone with a free tool that they already have can read your documents on any platform, and anyone with an inexpensive editor can make and save changes in the native format. Could've been great.
  • by Sigh Phi (324315) on Monday January 03, 2005 @07:21PM (#11249351)

    Here's how Apple could be successful even without MS Office

    If the rumors about a robust Apple office suite are true, and I'm pretending I'm Steve Jobs, I'm guessing Apple will continue to work in and around the OS community as IBM has done (and Apple has already done so far).

    Apple has learned quite a bit about the open source community by now, after their experiences with Darwin/Mac OS X and KHTML/Safari. The use of open standards is prevalent throughout the bundled applications (Mail -> mbox; Address Book -> vcard; iCal -> icalendar, etc.). Apple should continue this trend with their office suite.

    Make the interface irresistible. They have already shown how to do it with ClarisWorks (I never used AppleWorks, but CW 4 was a thing of integrated beauty). They have shown the ability to put great power in simple packages. iTunes. Garage Band. iPhoto. Personally, I have never liked Word's interface (even on the Mac), but there's not a lot of choice. Bring on a contender with a fresh face, and Word's 20-year-old baggage (elements from 1984 are still there -- where's the fscking Font menu!?) will suddenly look very ugly.

    Read Word documents reasonably well. Write them perfectly. All translation leaves something to be desired. I don't believe that it is necessary for a Word contender to be 100% feature compatible with Word. It absolutely needs to get styles, sections, margins, tables, footnotes, endnotes, and graphics right, though. A spreadsheet program needs to duplicate the function set of Excel (though not necessarily the syntax; q.v.) It needs to be 100% right for the features that 80% of the people use. Word won not because of its interface, but because people are locked into its format. Break the format and you break the biggest barrier to alternate office contenders. Perhaps this will require work with Open Office developers. That substep should happen no matter what, if only for the following point.

    Make the format an open standard. Let anyone write an app to read or write Apple Office documents. This is the corollary to the point above. Don't give people reasons to fear switching to or from your app. Give them the ability to change their mind. That's a feature; people will buy it.

    Don't imitate Office Seriously. Do something new. Give people a jump start on new ideas and possibilities. Make everything wiki-like. Docs on the network should be sharable. Build a Subversion repository into every document or home folder.Extend it to every OS X server. Build on the embeddable parts idea from OpenDoc (and semi-executed in CW). Instead of a spreadsheet program, build a full-featured spreadsheet on top of a robust, professional RAD environment with an open API. Let regular people be developers again (whatever happened to HyperCard?).

    Buy Omni Group. Or take notes. Or just give them money to continue developing fantastic software. OmniWeb, OmniOutliner, and OmniGraffle are all head-of-class programs. Graffle could easily be part of an Office Pro suite. Especially if you can build and take snapshots of SQL tables like Visio.

    IBM is building its business on enterprise open source software like Linux. Apple should continue the progress they have made in the direction of doing the same for personal computing apps.

I find you lack of faith in the forth dithturbing. - Darse ("Darth") Vader

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