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Apple job post hints at office web apps

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An Apple job listing may indicate that the company is building new web-based versions of its iWork office applications.

"The iWork team is seeking an energetic and highly motivated software engineer to build the front and/or back end of scalable web applications," reads the listing, spotted by Appleinsider. "The person will be part of the core engineering team responsible for the design and development of the software system."

Apple has long offered an iWork.com service that lets you share iWork documents with others, but the applications themselves have remained on local devices, and according to Apple's public announcements, the company's imminent iCloud service – meant to replace iWork.com as well as the MobileMe suite of online tools – will merely provide a means of synchronizing documents and other data across various local applications, including iWork's component apps: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.

But the job listing seems to hint that Apple will expand iCloud so that it also offers browser-based applications, moving Steve Jobs and company into the realm of office suites such as Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365. The listing seeks engineers with strong JavaScript skills as well as knowledge of browser technologies such as SVG and HTML.

It should be noted, however, that Apple's relationship to the web is uneasy at best. The company has a vested interest in local applications, taking a 30 per cent cut from all software sold through its App Stores, and it continues to bar third-party browsing engines from both the iPhone and the iPad. True browser-based versions of the iWorks applications would mark a significant shift in philosophy. iCloud is an internet technology, but far from a web technology. ®

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