Often times I get an email or call from one of my customers who want advice on a complete Mac set up. Sometimes they are switching from PC, or upgrading from an antique system. So I send them to the Apple store with this list; computer, printer (usually has a $100 rebate), iPhone, external hard drive, Apple Care and Microsoft Office 2011, Home and Student edition. Although I usually don't buy software from Apple since it's cheaper elsewhere, coming home with everything in one trip is appealing to many.
But alas, what they often come home with is everything on the list with one change; instead of Office, they have iWork; Apple's answer to Microsoft's Office suite. It seems, they relate, that the nice sales person explained that Office is not an Apple product, and iWork works much better and does the same thing. As we used to say back home,
"Now lookie here, Apple!"
YES, I think iWork is fun and good for lots of people and things. Keynote is much easier than Powerpoint, and just fine if you are in a MacCentric work or play place. But, face it. Most of the word processing world belongs to Microsoft. And most of the time that I suggest Office, it's for a good reason. Sometimes these customers are amateur or professional writers that hope to get some work published, or have to share files with PC users, or just want a fuller, more powerful word processor or spreadsheet. And now, with Office 2011 coming closer to the Windows version of Word etc, for many users, it's a no brainer.
I have been using Office 2011 since it came out, and I must say, it's a pleasure. The media browser works just as well as it does in Pages, so if I want to drag and drop a photo in one of my documents, it's very easy. And, the "ribbon" is finally in the Mac version, making PC users who switch more comfortable.
Also, Excel has Visual Basic version 6.5, the same as the PC version. Powerpoint still feels bloated and clumsy to me, I prefer to use iWork's Keynote for slide presentation. And although Outlook, the replacement for Entourage;the earlier Microsoft mail client for Mac; has full support for Exchange, and has nice search capabilities; it is still too buggy for me. So I use:
WORD PROCESSOR: Microsoft Word 2011
SPREADSHEET: Excel 2011
SLIDE PRESENTATIONS: Apple Keynote
MAIL CLIENT: Apple Mail
One thing I will say also about Office 2011. I have written to Microsoft support about the buggy behavior of Outlook ( I was reviewing Outlook for a client), and have usually gotten immediate and committed service professionals to stick with me on the issues. My experience with Office, is that usually by the 3rd of 4th service update, many of the bugs are worked out.