Microsoft Office 2011 Shows Why The Mac App Store Needs Betas And Demos

Microsoft has followed a solid business strategy by releasing trial versions of its Office 2011 for Mac suite in which users are able to try the software for 30 days before they commit to purchasing.  The launch of the trial version comes only 4 months after the release of the Mac version of Office 2011 and, unfortunately for Apple, provides just one more reason why users will likely end up dropping cash on Microsoft Office rather than Apple’s iWork suite.

Despite the fact that iWork is a superior product in many ways, the fact that a new version hasn’t be released since 2009 is causing a bit of grumbling among users.  Microsoft’s strategy for getting Mac users to commit to their product by releasing Office 2011 in advance of a new version of iWork, and now offering a free trial will have placed a dent in the future sales of iWork ’11.  While it should be noted that Apple does also offer a 30 day trial of iWork ’09 on its website, it is unclear if they will do the same when iWork ’11 launches on the Mac App Store.

Apple has already said that they will not allow demo or beta versions of software on the mac App Store and that developers should instead host incomplete software on their own websites.  To be fair, developers can and have gotten around this predicament by releasing full features and ‘lite’ versions of their applications, which meets the App Store terms and conditions.

Using iWork ’11 as an example, it will be interesting to see if Apple will allow 30 day trials of the software in the same way that it did with iWork ’09. These trial versions would obviously conflict with the T & C of the Mac App Store so Apple would likely host them on their own site. Doesn’t this create a paradoxical situation for the Mac App Store with users having to go elsewhere to find software?

This is something that could be rectified by Apple by including a separate section of the App Store devoted to demos, betas and trial versions. The Mac App Store is still very young and implementing this feature at an early stage would encourage both sales, and development of new applications, pushing Mac computing forward.

Try It. You Might Like it 

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  • jbelkin

    Unless things ahve changed in the past 6 months, you get a demo version with every mac you buy (30 days I believe) … and while it would be nice to offer demo or lite versions, the finances make more sense – EVERYBODy would offer a demo version and it defeats two things a) After spemding all the moeny on the storefront, what does Apple make if the demo directs you to buy “offlne” from the mac store and B) this forces developers to create full running apps and not just a shiny demo with a lot of grayed out features. The reviews you read are real reviews and not – works great IN A LIMITED CAPACITY … I have downloaded graphics apps taht slap a logo across the file – it was so large it was pointless. They might as well have told me how their app worked over the phone … and people who want a demo can navigate to the website where they might offer one … so on the surface, it makes sense but in reality because developers are either forthright or stingy or stupid, this solves all those issues – here is the app, here are the reviews – here’s the price – do you want it?

  • Cashxx

    I disagree….I don’t want the App Store full of crapware! If you want a demo visit the manufacturers website!

  • Mark

    While I agree that the Mac App Store needs to offer trials / demos, I disagree with your premise that this gives Microsoft Office an edge over Apple iWork.

    If I had been smart enough to try the 2011 Office demo instead of just purchase the damn thing, I would have known to stick with my existing version of Word. At least I know how to get around the existing bugs. Word 2011 is a complete and total turd. As a professional copyeditor / translator, my productivity since upgrading to 2011 is now in the toilet. The Office 2011 developers couldn’t even keep Find & Replace working from one version to another!

    One thing Apple does need to do, and soon, is drop iWork ’11. Need my Keynote fix… ;)

    • Lily

      haha – love the description of Word.

      Agreed on iWork. It needs to drop soon.