If they had a passion to have a true collaboration cloud product like they do for devices, then this could have been very special. But they don't seem to, so, those of us looking for file sharing, commenting, sharing across platforms (like many small businesses) will have to look elsewhere.
I think that if this truth that has finally sunk into the executive offices at Apple - that they cannot excel at everything, and they're actually bad at some things - it will be better for consumers and let Apple focus on what it does best. If they've learned their lesson they'll send Ping off to pasture next.
I don't think it's anything as dramatic as that. iWork was a stopgap solution while they built iCloud (and in fact was probably a great testbed for them) and while they also needed a way to share documents online.
I think you're being too kind, Jeff. The iWork.com product manager I talked at launch was clueless about how people really collaborate, and iCloud offers no collaboration features at all. I can't see any connection between the two that would imply iWork.com was a testbed of any sort. Not to mention the fact that essentially no one used it.
With the next version of iWork, I would love if Apple added a feature to allow iWork integrate with MS Office 365. This is still the best business cloud sharing / collaboration tool for SMB's
I don't get why Apple killed webdav and simple webservices for their apps on their servers. AS much as I like new products and services - trying to use beta products has the risk that there will be no final product. This applies to all beta products in the wild. But iCloud is a so-so experience now for users of snow leopard and lion (those with both) and idisk provided easy share services like dropbox (and well before dropbox) so I just don't get it.
iCloud doesn't do any of that because that is no longer Apple's strategy and iWork type sharing just got blown off the map by Steve Jobs for a grander vision and a bigger step for Apple (focus for the next few years to support all device sales). I think that it is entirely possible that iWork the software got blown away front eh desk top at the same time: its just not part of their strategy going forward, hence no new version. It doesn't fit the vision for selling more devices which is Apple's raison d'être.. still iWork.com was useful and I used it a fair bie
"It offered no innovation beyond what was possible with services like Google Docs and Dropbox"
That's really not true… iCloud will offer no innovation beyond what Dropbox offers, but iWork.com allowed a certain amount of collaboration. Looking beyond what Google Docs offered, iWork had something really important - a proper client. Google Docs seems fine for small, simple documents, but is not appropriate for large documents or those requiring anything but the most basic formatting.
iWork.com had loads of potential had Apple seen it through. I used it a handful of times for sharing meeting minutes with follow board members, and they in turn used it to comment on and revise my original documents. Had Pages integrated those comments (allowing me to accept them) into the original rather than leaving them orphaned on the web, we would have seem something very cool. But they didn't - instead they released a promising 0.9 product and never fullfilled its potential.
Well, precisely. Collaboration isn't about the client, it's about the interaction, and that's why having Pages to create documents wasn't enough when every other feature of iWork.com was poorly integrated. If comments had appeared directly within Pages, that would have been innovative, besting Google Docs with a real word processor. And Apple could have done that, but they had no imagination and a weak implementation of what they could imagine.