In a move that I’ll bet surprised absolutely nobody, Apple has e-mailed users of its iWork.com service — a cloud-based collaborative complement to its iWork productivity apps — to alert them that it’s doing away with the offering as of July 31st.
iWork.com lets you share, view and comment on documents created in Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Apple launched it as a free public beta way back at Macworld Expo in January of 2009, and a free public beta is what it stayed.
I was in the audience for that launch, and even though I like office suites and interesting new office-suite features, I don’t remember being wowed by iWork.com. It felt like a somewhat half-hearted response to Web-based collaboration suites such as Google Docs, from a company whose strengths — at least back in early 2009 — didn’t involve Web-based apps and team-oriented tools.
In recent months, I’ve used iWork.com to shuttle documents between the OS X and iOS versions of iWork — a feature that I was startled to find wasn’t a built-in capability of iCloud. With OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, due this summer, it will be. And it should be a lot more seamless than iWork.com, which involved old-school manual uploading of files.
So Apple’s advice to iWork.com users — download all your stuff, then start using iCloud — makes sense. It is true that iWork.com has some features that iCloud does not, at least in its current incarnation. But I imagine the number of users who will be irate about it going away is small.
Or at least when I asked on Twitter, I mostly got comments like this: