Cloud Computing: Apple vs. Microsoft

Both Apple and Microsoft rolled out the beginnings of a cloud computing strategy on Tuesday. Apple introduced a beta of its iWork.
Written by David Morgenstern, Contributor

Both Apple and Microsoft rolled out the beginnings of a cloud computing strategy on Tuesday. Apple introduced a beta of its iWork.com document sharing service and Microsoft's Mac Business Unit unveiled Document Collaboration Companion for Mac Beta.

At the Macworld Expo keynote, Phil Shiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, announced the beta of iWork.com as a trailer of its iWork '09 introduction. The service will let iWork '09 users post documents to the online site as well as send notifications users and workgroups.

According to Shiller, the program converts the iWork document into a number of cross-platform formats for sharing files with Windows colleagues, including PDF and MS Word.

In a browser, the iWork.com document supports multiple notes along with related discussion threads as well as separate, document-wide discussions.

Analysis: While some folks want more cloud strategy, this implementation is clean, user-friendly and looks do-able for Apple. With all the problems with Mobile.Me, this service looks like a winner.

Meanwhile, stealing a bit of Apple's spotlight on the cloud, Microsoft took aim at Office for Mac users will soon have "simplified and efficient collaboration" with connections to Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies and Microsoft Office Live Workspace. Due later this year, will be the result: Microsoft Document Collaboration Companion for Mac Beta.

Document Collaboration Companion provides Office for Mac users new ways to work with both Office for Windows and Office for Mac colleagues through a Cocoa-based application that provides easier downloading/uploading capabilities to SharePoint Products and Technologies and Office Live Workspaces. Delivering these improvements can help Office for Mac users tap into the future of productivity as software plus services become an essential combination across platforms.

Features of Document Collaboration Companion will include simplified ways to download and upload documents, document check-out/in, offline document caching, and SharePoint Workspace, Document Library, and Office Live Workspace access and browsing. Document Collaboration Companion will be released in a private beta in February and a final releaser later this year.

In addition, Microsoft said the Mac BU will move the development of Entourage from WebDAV to Exchange Web Services "for better compatibility, performance and reliability."

These infrastructure changes provide more agility in development moving forward and delivers support for syncing Tasks, Notes and Categories for customers on Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 or later. Entourage EWS will launch a public beta this month.

Analysis: Mac users in Microsoft shops will gain a little more respect.

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