Apple’s Free Online iWork Productivity Suite Now Open To Windows Users

Well, what do we have here? It's yet another productivity suite that's found its way to the cloud, and more importantly in this case, it's also found its way to Windows users. We're talking about Apple's iWork software -- a pre-release cloud version is now accessible to Windows users, which could set the stage for an eventual showdown with Office.

On the surface, this is an expansion of Apple's iCloud service that launched in 2011. Using iCloud, Apple device owners can backup and access various content from different locations and across multiple devices, such as their Mac, iPad, and iPhone.

iWork on a laptop

By bringing iWork to the cloud, Apple is offering that same convenience to productivity tools -- specifically, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. But it's not just for Mac and iOS users, Windows PC owners can join the iWork party as well, provided they have or open up an Apple ID.

"Now we’ve brought that productivity to the web — on Mac and PC. The apps make it incredibly easy to work together with people everywhere. And since it’s all powered by iCloud, your documents are always up to date on each of your devices," Apple says.

Digging beneath the surface, this move is the latest in what's building up to be a rivalry in the online productivity space. Microsoft recently made available new versions of its Office apps for iOS, bringing more functionality to the fray for free, and now Apple is responding with its iWork play.