This was expected, but it hasn't taken a long time coming. A day after Apple announced that its new operating system , OS X Mavericks, as well as its office suite iWork -and iLife - would be free from now on , rival Microsoft has retorted by saying that the announcement was "not a big deal".
In a post filed on Microsoft's TechNet blog Frank Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Communications at Microsoft, said both Surface tablets had Office for free. "… Making Apple's decision to build the price of their less popular and less powerful iWork into their tablets is not a very big deal."
In a very cynical note, Shaw, who filed the post from Abu Dhabi, where the Nokia World has just concluded, added: "Seems like the RDF (Reality Distortion Field) typically generated by an Apple event has extended beyond Cupertino."
"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 that surprising or significant a move. And it doesn't change the fact that it's much harder to get work done on a device that lacks precision input and a desktop for true side-by-side multitasking," he added in a bid to show that the Surface tablets were superior to the iPad as far as productivity is concerned.
The post does not say much on what Redmond thought about the OS going free, but Shaw went on to highlight that the Surface and Surface 2 "are less expensive than the iPad 2 and iPad Air respectively, and yet offer more storage, both onboard and in the cloud". However, the fact is that Microsoft's tablets are far from popular and not even available in countries like India.
Perched in its position of software superiority Microsoft can afford to play hardball. "So, 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," added Shaw in his post.
Now, to see if Microsoft can afford to maintain the hardline for long.