Technologizer Headed for Retirement

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Apple's Phil Schiller demos at Macworld Expo 2009

In a move that I’ll bet surprised absolutely nobody, Apple has e-mailed users of its 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. 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 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 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, which involved old-school manual uploading of files.

So Apple’s advice to users — download all your stuff, then start using iCloud — makes sense. It is true that 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: