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Apple\'s iWork the No. 1 competitor to Microsoft Office?

According to market researcher NPD, Apple\'s iWork has suddenly emerged as the primary competitor to Microsoft Office, taking the No. 2 spot in office suite retail sales during the 2005 calendar year.

The firm said Apple grabbed a 2.7 percent unit share at retail, while Corel took only 1.6 percent share with its WordPerfect Office suite, reports CNet Meanwhile, Microsoft maintained its dominance with nearly 95 percent of unit sales.

\"Apple\'s share is particularly impressive considering that iWork runs only on Macs, which account for a small fraction of computers, said NPD analyst Chris Swenson. \"Apple\'s success for iWork has been pretty surprising.\"

Looking specifically at the Mac platform, iWork reportedly accounted for 17.4 percent office suite sales, compared to about 82 percent for Microsoft.

\"Apple\'s iWork didn\'t overtake Microsoft Office, but I think taking almost a fifth of the Mac Office Suite market away from an entrenched competitor such as Microsoft is quite an accomplishment,\" Swenson said.

Apple introduced iWork just over a year ago at the 2005 Macworld Expo conference in San Francisco. Earlier this month the company updated the software with major enhancements to its Pages 2 and Keynote 3 component applications.