Apple sees chance to compete with Office on the Web

by Gregg Keizer @ computerworld.com

Almost as an afterthought, Apple on Monday announced it was working on browser-based versions of its iWork productivity applications, a move one analyst said challenged Microsoft’s Office behemoth.

For a few minutes during Monday’s keynote of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Roger Rosner, who heads iWork development, spun through a quick demonstration of iWork for iCloud, a second attempt by Apple to move its Pages word processor, Numbers spreadsheet and Keynote presentation maker into the Internet age.

That first attempt, dubbed iWork.com, ended miserably last July, more than three years after its launch, when Apple pulled the plug. iWork.com was intended to complement the locally installed suite by the same name, but offered no Web-based document creation or editing, and instead made do with document viewing, downloading and commenting.

iWork for iCloud, on the other hand, is to be a full-featured trio of applications that run in a browser on either OS X or Windows, and allow document creation and editing on all of a user’s devices. They are, essentially, Pages, Numbers and Keynote ported to the Web.

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