CRN is reporting that Apple and VMware, which makes virtualization software for cloud computing, are working on a cloud-based iWork suite from Apple. With this cloud-hosted iWork suite for the iPad, Apple wants to go straight against the upcoming Microsoft Office version for the iPad and in a broad sense against the upcoming Microsoft Office 2013 that will be tailored for Microsoft's Surface tablets and the touch interfaces of other tablets.
Reportedly the cloud-based iWork App for iPad will combine VMware View virtual desktop software with cloud-hosted versions of the iWork suite, which inludes Pages, Numbers and Keynote. The iWork suite will run on Apple's data center infrastructure.
VMware's Horizon Application Manager, a cloud computing application manager, will also be used for an enterprise app store by Apple.
Apple and VMware are also working together on Horizon Mobile for iOS, which is part of the Horizon Suite VMware showed off at VMworld 2012. The Horizon Suite is slated for beta release by the end of the year. Horizon Mobile creates a partition between the personal and business apps and data on a device to solve IT concerns with the bring your own device (BYOD) trend.
Apple is already big in cloud computing with the iCloud, but the iCloud is a consumer-focused storage service. With Windows RT, the ARM version of Windows 8, and the Microsoft Surface tablets with Microsoft Office 2013 included, being lauded for actually being the first tablets that are also great for productivity applications for businesses, Apple and its iPad products run danger of being labeled as shiny and expensive toys by business users. As the bring your own device (BYOD) trend is gaining traction in IT, Apple runs danger of fading into oblivion in the business world. Apple is trying to respond to that threat by repurposing the iWork suite to the cloud and away from consumers to business people. Therefore they are building a separate infrastructure for iWork than for iCloud.
A source told CRN that Apple wants Pages to be seen as a replacement for Microsoft Word, Numbers as a replacement for Excel and Keynote as a replacement for PowerPoint.
That Microsoft and cloud computing is not a love affair yet is evidenced by the licensing spat over Windows and OnLive Desktop that they've had with OnLive. It's interesting to note that OnLive Desktop for the iPad was already approved by Apple a long time ago, but we are still waiting for the OnLive gaming app for iPad to be approved by Apple. The OnLive Desktop App for iPad streams Windows with Microsoft Office software that includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint to iPad users.
Many people in the business world are dissatisfied with the high pricing of Microsoft Office becuase of their monopoly, some fully featured laptops already cost less than an Office license, which is absurd. This is where Apple is seeing their chance and wants to challenge Microsoft's Office cash cow, and sell many more iPads to business people along the way. Of course Microsoft has already started their foray into cloud computing with the Office 365 service, so in the usual Microsoft manner they are working on monopolizing the cloud by leveraging their Office monopoly in the business world.