Microsoft’s Frank Shaw Criticizes New iPads, iWork Price Cut

Frank Shaw, the Corporate VP of Communications at Microsoft, is known for his candid opinions, especially when it comes to competitors.

This week, following Apple’s announcement of its latest offerings, Shaw was quick to critique the enthusiasm surrounding Apple’s updates.

At the event, Apple CEO Tim Cook made some pointed remarks about Microsoft’s approach to its Surface devices, which function as both tablets and laptops.

“Our competitors are confused. They’ve jumped from netbooks to trying to turn PCs into tablets and vice versa.

It’s hard to predict their next move, but we remain focused,” Cook said.

Cook’s comments were visually underscored by an image of a pretzel-shaped road sign, suggesting that Microsoft’s direction is muddled.

However, Shaw disagrees with Cook’s assessment.

“Since introducing the Surface tablets, we’ve emphasized their dual capability as both productivity workhorses and entertainment devices. We believe they offer the best of both worlds at an unbeatable value,” Shaw explained.

“We envisioned a single device that could offer the entertainment features of a tablet along with the productivity functions of a PC, eliminating the need to carry multiple devices.”

Shaw’s comments also included a playful dig at the popular game Angry Birds, highlighting the personal nature of the rivalry.

Shaw continued to defend the Surface’s productivity prowess, challenging the notion that iPads are superior for professional tasks.

While iPads lack a dedicated Microsoft Office suite, Shaw argues that Microsoft’s expertise in productivity software gives it a unique edge in the tablet market.

“Microsoft’s deep understanding of productivity needs, drawn from decades of Windows and Office development, informs the features we include in our tablets,” Shaw stated, citing Microsoft Office, integrated keyboards, and multitasking capabilities as key advantages.

Despite these features, Surface sales have been underwhelming, leading to price reductions.

Shaw also critiqued Apple’s recent decision to make its iWork suite free:

“Apple’s announcement to waive the iWork fee is hardly a game-changer.

iWork has struggled to gain traction, and making it free doesn’t address its limitations compared to full-fledged productivity tools like Microsoft Office,” Shaw argued.

“Here are the facts: Surface devices are more affordable than their iPad counterparts, offer more storage options, and come with full versions of Office. They also support true multitasking with their ability to display multiple apps on screen simultaneously.”

Shaw suggests that while Apple is attempting to enhance its productivity offerings, it still lags behind Microsoft’s established capabilities.

John Gruber of Daring Fireball summarizes the situation succinctly:

“Any increase in iWork’s user base is a bonus for Apple, but any decrease in reliance on Microsoft Office could pose significant challenges for Microsoft.”

Shaw maintains that while there is demand for productivity software, the market’s needs are broader than just traditional applications like Word and Excel, which many may find uninspiring.


Thomas is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing insightful news and updates about Apple products to readers. With a deep understanding of the Apple ecosystem, Thomas covers everything from the latest iPhone and iPad releases to MacBook innovations and Apple Watch features. His clear and engaging writing style helps readers stay informed about the tech world. Thomas’s expertise and enthusiasm for Apple products make him a valuable contributor to the TUAW team.