re: Apple's Free iWork Pressures Microsoft Office
Lots of good points. I think iWork makes it more likely that Microsoft will release the iPad for free or at a competitive price, but Microsoft might still require an Office 365 subscription, or charge a desktop-style price. Office gives Microsoft a lot of leverage, and the company's leadership might still feel confident about their position. If Windows 8.1 tablets sell well, that confidence might be valid.
On that point, I actually think the new Windows tablets will surprise some people. Windows 8.1 is no revelation, but it's easier to use, and all of the core apps are improved. Intel's new chips are also much better, and device prices are coming down. I can see why Microsoft hasn't folded on Office for iPad just yet.
But if Apple manages to sell a ton of iPads this holiday season, Microsoft will continue to face pressure, even if Windows tablets sell decently. If Apple sells a ton of iPads and Windows tablets don't see a strong uptick, that pressure will grow exponentially, as Shane indicated.
But even then, you might have a point. I think Forrester's David Johnson is right when he says consumers will use what's available; if users are accustomed to iWork by the time Microsoft gets around to releasing Office for the iPad, a lot of would-be customers will be past the point of caring. Even so, it's easy to overestimate iWork's appeal.
As you point out, alternative such as OpenOffice have been around for a while, and people are still clamoring for Office on the iPad. I raised a similar point in the article when I asked why iWork hasn't already silenced demand for an iPad-optimized version for Office, given that Apple's apps have been both cheap and available for a long time. Apple has promised new versions, and browser-based versions open up a lot of possibility, but until people actually start using and loving iWork in greater numbers, everything is speculative.
Most businesses will also keep using Office for the foreseeable future; the Windows cash cow might be in some jeopardy, but Microsoft has grown Office 365 revenue at a fantastic rate. As you point out, many enterprise tablets are PC compliments, not replacements. Businesses that fit this use model will probably stick Office on iPads no matter how well iWork is received, just because Office will fit better into existing workflows, and support easier round-tripping between PCs, corporate repositories, etc. In this scenario, Microsoft will have conceded some consumer business to Apple by waiting so long-- but it will still have retained the billions it reaps from businesses. And given the post-PC landscape, maybe Microsoft is okay with that.
But as I alluded in the article, I don't think Apple is trying to topple Office; that's as close to an impossible task as you'll find, unless you're talking about a decade-spanning campaign. Rather, I think Apple is trying to fragment the productivity landscape. When PCs were at the their peak, Microsoft got used to Office dominating everything: consumer, business, everything. Microsoft would like Office to be the productivity standard for mobile and hybrid devices as well, at least within the enterprise, and with free iWork apps, Apple is trying to limit Microsoft's progress. As for PCs, I don't think Apple believes iWork for iCloud will replace Office on Windows machines; but the cloud-based version makes it a lot easier to pair an iPad as a companion device to a Windows machine.