Review: Microsoft Office Online vs. Apple iWork for iCloud vs. Google Drive


Among the three suites, only Apple's iWork for iCloud feels like it was designed, from the ground up, as a cohesive package. The result is that all the iWork for iCloud apps behave similarly -- learn to do something in Pages, and you know how to do it in Sheets and Keynote. Apple's suite is also much more finger-friendly than the other two. If you're limited to working without a mouse, there's no question that iWork for iCloud is the way to go.

The iWork for iCloud suite is still officially in "beta," which adds a note of uncertainty to this review. We don't know, at this point, if AppleApple will one day charge companies (or individuals) to use the final, shipping version. For now, though, it's free as a breeze. Apple used to sell iOS and OS X versions of the iWork apps, but as of September 2013, they're free for anyone who buys a new Apple computer. Alles zu Apple auf

My biggest disappointment with iWork for iCloud File handling. Unlike the other two suites, iWork for iCloud doesn't have a hook into Windows Explorer. Using a file on your computer inside iWork for iCloud requires that you first upload the file into one of the iCloud bins by clicking and dragging it into a browser tab. Worse, the bins only hold files of the same type. You can't mix a word processor document with a spreadsheet in the same tab, much less the same folder.

I finally figured out how to create folders inside iCloud: You have to drag one file on top of another inside the tab. No, you can't simply drag a file from your desktop (or Windows Explorer) onto another file and create a folder. It's a rigidly two-step process.

Google Drive (Docs, Sheets, and Slides) has a feature set and interface that remind me of Office 2003. Don't get me wrong -- Office 2003 is a great product. The Google apps are free for personal use, and they come with 15GB of free Google storage. Corporate and organizational clients get socked with a $50-per-user-per-year price tag, but that brings along a bunch of management software, (very) roughly analogous to Office 365 for Business (see my review). Google Apps for Education and Google Apps for Nonprofits are free.

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