Before going into Office/Pages etc, a tip:
Next time your crit partner uses the Word comments feature to make comments on your work, ask her to save out the Word file as RTF instead of .doc or .docx. All she has to do is use Word’s “Save As…” feature and choose “Rich Text Format” instead of the default option. (You could send her your files in this format, too, as Word opens them quite happily.) That way, when you import the .rtf file she has sent you into Scrivener, all of the comments will be imported as Scrivener annotations. Scrivener can read them from RTF files because it is an open format, but not from .doc files (which recently was made open, but is much more difficult). RTF supports pretty much everything you would need in a basic word processing document and can be opened by any version of Word.
As for Office/Pages/etc… Well, I have half-written a blog post on why to avoid Pages. The crux is this: Yes, Pages is beautiful and very nice to use. I own it myself. However… In their infinite wisdom, Apple decided to add full support for only three file formats: the .pages format and .doc and .docx. If you import or export using the Word formats in Pages, you get full support for images and footnotes etc (I’m not sure about comments). Which is fantastic if all you want to do is avoid using Word but still have to pass documents along to colleagues in Word format.
The trouble arises if you want to use Pages as part of a workflow with other programs instead of as a one-stop replacement for Word. For instance, I doubt you will find another single program out there that supports the .pages format. Apple have published the specs on their website, but it’s a one-off format very peculiar to Pages and may change at any time (as they say themselves). Moreover, Apple provides developers with importers/exporters to many other formats - RTF, RTFD, .doc, .docx, .odt etc - but none for Pages. So it is very difficult for programs that don’t have teams of developers at hand to provide an importer/exporter for Pages. Then there is the .doc and .docx formats… Both are proprietary. Both are now open formats, true. And Apple provides .doc and .docx importers/exporters to developers. However, the standard .doc and .docx importers/exporters that are made available to developers don’t support images, footnotes or comments - Apple have added this support to Pages only. The same limitations apply to RTF - but RTF is an open format and comparatively easy to modify, so I have been able to hack into Apple’s RTF importer/exporter to add support for images, footnotes, comments and headers/footers. It’s not really possible to do the same with the .doc format, as it is a binary format and thus much, much more difficult than modifying a plain text format such as RTF. .docx is XML-based but it is zipped up. I recently looked into hacking into the .docx exporter to see if I could add such features to that, but it is waaay more difficult. (For instance, once you unzip the contents of a .docx file and then rezip it on a Mac, Word no longer recognises it as a valid file.)
All of which means that pretty much the only programs that can create documents which Pages will open with images and footnotes intact are… Pages and Word. Apple could easily have fixed this by improving Pages’ RTF support. Had they added support for footnotes, comments and images to the Pages RTF importer/exporter - something that would probably have taken their coders less than a day, and these are features that have been part of the RTF format for over a decade - then Pages would have been able to integrate with just about any other word processor out there, on Windows or the Mac. Instead, this means that Pages is only useful to users who wish to replace Word and who use Word exclusively to generate all stages of their documents. (Grr… Why didn’t Apple add better support for .odt, Open Office, as well as Word?)
I own Office 2008. And I like Word 2008 much better than previous versions. It runs fine on an Intel Mac.
But if you really want to avoid Word and still be able to open comments, footnotes and suchlike, I would recommend Nisus Writer Pro. The next update is going to be awesome. It still doesn’t support track changes as far as I know, but it is much superior to Pages in my opinion.
All the best,