Apple office software seems likely

IGG Software has dropped the name "iWork" from its product lineup. Is Apple about to pick it up?

A small Macintosh software developer has renamed an application it had been calling iWork, lending credence to rumors that Apple plans to introduce office software of the same name.

IGG Software, which has marketed a time-billing application as iWork, has changed the program's name to iBiz. The change, which is reflected on the company's Web site, follows reports on rumor sites that Apple plans to offer its own suite of word processing and presentation software.

Enthusiast site ThinkSecret reported last week that a product from Apple called iWork would include an updated version of Apple's presentation software, Keynote, and a new word processing program, which the site says will be called Pages. The site predicted Apple would unveil the product at next week's Macworld Expo in San Francisco.


Photo: Ina Fried
At a conference in June, Apple
showcased a Mini Cooper with an
iPod adapter--and displayed posters
that knocked Microsoft.

Such a program would be an interesting move for Apple, which has for years kept its office software ambitions limited, counting instead on Microsoft to produce a Mac version of Microsoft Office.

Having a version of Microsoft Office for the Mac has been a key selling point for Apple as it tries to convince people who use Windows-based machines at work to have a Mac at home. In fact, Apple's Web site as reason No. 8 of 10 to switch to a Mac.

Apple's relationship with Microsoft--at least publicly--has run hot and cold. At times the companies have moved closer, though in recent months Apple has taken a number of shots at its rival, ranging from its Switch campaign , which targeted Windows users, to posters at last year's developer conference that suggested that Microsoft's Longhorn version of Windows would be a copycat of Apple's Tiger release this year.

For the time being, Microsoft appears to be sticking by its Macintosh products, and the company says it is already working on a new version of Office for the Mac.

"Our relationship with Apple remains productive and strong," said Scott Erickson, group product manager for Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit, in a statement to CNET News.com. "Ninety-two percent of Mac users tell us they need native file compatibility between Mac and Windows--we deliver that with Office for Mac. We're committed to delivering this critical level of compatibility to customers and are well under way on the next versions of Office and Virtual PC for Mac."

Apple representatives were not immediately available for comment.

IGG Software representative Ian Gillespie said in an e-mail that the name change to iBiz "better reflects the direction in which we see our product going, toward business management and not just time-billing."

Several Macintosh enthusiast sites spotted the iBiz name change, including MacDailyNews and MacMinute.

The productivity arena, which includes word processing, database and spreadsheet software, is not new to Apple. Apple has offered a separate program, known as AppleWorks, that offers basic capabilities in all of those areas. However, updates have been sparse in recent years, and the software appears primarily targeted at the education and consumer markets. The company tiptoed more into the high-end arena

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About the author

    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.

     

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