Many of those livid at what they called the "dumbing down" of iWork on the Mac said that they would instead turn to Microsoft Office, the suite written by Apple's rival. Office for Mac 2011 starts at $140 for the Home & Student edition, or $100 annually for a subscription to Office 365 Home Premium.
Apple last week revamped iWork to make the productivity suite file- and feature-compatible for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, as well as for its Web-based apps, iWork for iCloud.
"Apple has conceded the productivity suite to Microsoft. It's a shame. ... I really felt like [iWork] had a shot at being a contender for productivity," said Agent Keel on one of the threads.
Those users quickly figured out a workaround, however, that relied on the old version of iWork's applications, which were retained after an upgrade. The previous versions can be found in the iWork '09 folder in the Applications folder on a Mac. Once opened in the new versions of iWork, however, documents will not open in the 2009 edition.
Only those more willing to ponder the future than to complain about the past were sanguine about the changes.
"The bottom line as I see it: You need to have clear priorities, and Apple's highest priority here was clearly cross-platform parity for iPhone, iPad, Web, and Mac," wrote John Gruber Saturday on his popular blog Daring Fireball. "But iOS is Apple's primary platform, and it's better for iOS to have the entire iWork suite at parity than the previous situation, where the iOS versions of the apps supported only a subset of what the Mac versions did."
Gruber's correct: iOS is Apple's primary platform. In the quarter that ended June 30, iPhone and iPad revenue accounted for 69 percent of the total, or about five times that of the Mac.
The iWork backlash wasn't the first aimed at Apple after a major software upgrade. Two years ago, when Apple shipped Final Cut Pro X absent some features and tools, customers revolted, kick-starting a petition and generating parody videos, including one from the video crew who worked on Conan O'Brien's late-night television talk show and another that relied on the overused scene from the movie "Downfall" (Der Untergang).
Although some disappointed Final Cut Pro X customers reportedly received refunds from Apple, that option will be off the table for iWork, since, as many pointed out, the upgrade is free.
Apple also updated the beta of iWork for iCloud to allow collaborative document editing. iWork for iCloud is free, but requires Apple's Safari, Google's Chrome, or Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com. Read more about applications in Computerworld's Applications Topic Center.