June 10, 2005 5:40 AM PDT

Microsoft offers beta of Adobe rival

Microsoft has released a test version of a new professional graphics tool code-named Acrylic.

The software is based on Expression, the graphics application Microsoft acquired with its 2003 purchase of Hong Kong company Creature House, the software giant said on its Web site.

Microsoft describes the software--currently available as a 77MB free download--as bringing together pixel-based painting and vector graphics features. These capabilities will put the product squarely in the market currently dominated by software maker Adobe Systems with its pixel-focused Photoshop and vector-driven Illustrator products.

Acrylic appears to support opening and exporting to Photoshop and Illustrator file formats, as well as other standard graphics formats. In addition, the application appears to be able to export to Adobe's Portable Document Format, or PDF.

However, Microsoft noted Acrylic would not currently save pixel-type data to formats other than its native XPR file type.

Although a Macintosh version of Expression was available before the Microsoft purchase, the software giant said the test version of Acryclic cannot be used with the Apple Computer platform.

The test software, or beta, also has a limited life; it will expire Oct. 1.

Microsoft has recommended relatively high system specifications for Acrylic, saying consumers should preferably run the software on an Intel Pentium 4 machine, with Windows XP Service Pack 2, 512MB of memory, 500MB of disk space and a pressure-sensitive graphics tablet supporting the WinTab interface.

The company listed some known issues with the beta software, saying performance was slow. "Optimization work is currently in progress, and drastically improved performance will be delivered in the final release," according to Microsoft.

Although the software has only been available for a short time, some testers have already complained via Acrylic's public forums about what they see as the poor quality of the release.

"This preview just shows me an unpolished, poorly laid out graphics editor that acts more like a glorified (Microsoft) Paint, rather than any type of competition to Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro," wrote one user.

A Microsoft representative was not available to comment on Acrylic's final release date or a retail price.

The Acrylic beta comes shortly after Microsoft announced Metro, a format meant to compete with Adobe's PDF.

Renai LeMay of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.

57 comments

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Microsoft milestone
I'v heard, Bill Gates, Microsoft's chief software architect, called federation a milestone in the company's ongoing security efforts.

The beta, which is slated to ship in the next week and is already being tried by a group of 3,000 testers, includes an identity technology called Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS). ADFS is one of the final pieces of Microsoft's identity management platform and it represents the company's first implementation of the WS-Federation protocol. Microsoft has positioned WS-Federation, which the company developed with IBM, as the linchpin for integrating security infrastructures between companies.

A new document format code-named Metro was introduced, which is expected to rival Adobe's PDF format.


Brian,
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.my-mortgage-loans.co.uk/mortgage-loans/Microsoft-News.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.my-mortgage-loans.co.uk/mortgage-loans/Microsoft-News.html</a>
Posted by ip_fresh (59 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Adobe; Microsoft has you in their crosshairs!
It looks like Microsoft is stepping into Adobe's territory now.
Though Microsoft will say that their not competing head on, expect
just the opposite. Microsoft is an ever expanding company that
needs to make shareholders happy while growing the company so
they don't stagnate and become some sort of relic. My advice to
Adobe is; don't put all your Creative eggs on one (Windows) basket.
Posted by JuggerNaut (860 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Simple frustration
MS offers a beta of Acrylic, a new graphics program. But to get it,
you need to use Passport, an arcane and abandoned idea (except
by MS). Passport was a failure form the start when MS thought that
they could become your bank account (or so the theory went). In
any event, no Passport, no Acrylic. Makes me wonder if Acrylic is as
bad as Passport..... But since I don't have a Passport, and won't
have a Passport, I'll never know. And I have been looking for
replacements for Adobe products.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Adobe vs. Microsoft
Microsoft is doing exactly what Apple did. Compete with it's partners. Unlike Apple, Microsoft can afford to do it and probably with a lesser product.

Adobe should be aware and careful. If they think they are top dog and nobody will take them down then they are in for a butt kicking. It's not good enough anymore to be the best at what you do. Companies like Microsoft will undercut their competition even if it is at a lost. Then after they proliferate their software and lock users in they will jack up their prices (I know that sounds like every company.)

I think that Microsoft is working itself into hurting it's own business. It probably wont happen anytime soon, but at some point companies like Adobe are going to start singing about other OS's like Linux over Windows just because Microsofts has hurt their market.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
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Interesting...
I think it is interesting that it now requires so much computer. The original Expression program version 3 was the last done by Creature House was very fast and didn't require major hardware.

I guess Microsoft has managed to kill another fine program. Which is probably why I dumped Expression after Microsoft bought it.

Microsoft has a lot to learn if it intends to take on Adobe. So far from what I have seen they just create bloated, slow, buggy kids software. Not software that professional designers and artists want to use.

Robert
Posted by (336 comments )
Reply Link Flag
cnet is microsoft's whore
is there ANY microsoft rumor-ware, promise-ware or beta-ware
you won't promote? good golly miss molly, to compare this
software to illustrator or photoshop is not "tech news first", it's
simply bad reporting.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Acrylic Download Link
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://download.microsoft.com/download/1/e/7/1e7ca4ef-46f0-4acd-abb6-d3d8618d6c3c/AcrylicBeta.zip" target="_newWindow">http://download.microsoft.com/download/1/e/7/1e7ca4ef-46f0-4acd-abb6-d3d8618d6c3c/AcrylicBeta.zip</a>

this is the actual download link in order to obtain microsoft's acrylic beta demo. Hopefully this will save others the annoyance of searching all over microsoft's site to find it. Good luck!
Posted by eviltoaster (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS "expresses" their REAL ID & agenda
It is painfully obvious that Citizen Gates is out to be the Darth Vader of creativity computing.

MS has attempted for years to topple Adobe &#38; Apple in the arenas of professional press publication, ColorSync, Acrobat &#38; digital photo / video processing.

Citizen Gates even went to the great lengths of buying millions of photographic rights, building a huge digital photo database &#38; opening Corbis as his own company outside of MS, so he could control &#38; make billions of royalties from professional photographers &#38; publishing houses.

MS has lamely attempted to put out "prosumer" PhotoPC software for years without success to the point that they have to give it away with "Discount Dells".

Citizen Gates has also attempted to alter &#38; undermine native Java / Flash coding with "Windows-compatible" versions of their own "interpretations" of Java/Flash in order to derail &#38; dillute NON-MS coding on the Internet.

Gates has recently be very public about developing an Adobe Acrobat PDF killer-app within ShorthornOS in 2006/07/08/??.

MS doesnot have a built-in / included "Apple iLife Suite" equivilant (not even close) with MSXP.

This is such a slimy attempt to kill Photoshop/iPhoto/RAW file protocols within the entire digital creative industry in order to have world dominance in the realm of digital media all being "managed" through MSOS.

DOJ are splineless drones bowing down to the one they serve. All Hail Darth Gates!
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Acrylic is a joke
Acrylic beta preview has got to be a Microsoft prank. The user iterface is an exact replica of Corel Painter, but with all of the natural media tools removed. It has nothing that provides any competition to Natural Media apps (Corel Painter), photo editors (Adobe Photoshop), or illustration apps (Adobe Illustrator; Corel Draw). It looks like a proof-of-concept interface with almost no functionality--like you might see in a pre-alpha build you would show to a project manager.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Do you really think it will be worth anything at all?
With Microsoft's record developing software that works half-way and has far below professional quality tools, how can anyone really expect anything that comes from Microsoft being competition for PhotoShop, or Paint Shop Pro.

Every time I see my wife fighting with Microsoft products trying to do some of the simplest tasks (like desktop publishing, for example), I shake my head and wonder.

Remember, these are the guys that gave the world "Microsoft Pictures and Fax." These are the guys that made "Picture-It."

I will never take them seriously regarding anything to do with publishing, music editing, photo image editing, or just about anything to do with productivity.

Mick
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Adobe is the 800 lb gorilla
Adobe is the 800 lb gorilla in this marketplace. Microsoft can expect an Intuit-style also ran status here, especially if it does not keep the Macintosh line of Creative going... you can't be taken seriously in the graphics business if you don't run parallel on the Mac - even PC designers look to this, as they know some of their service bureaus will want to take the job over to a Macintosh...
Posted by rbethell (44 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft offers beta of Adobe rival
The sad part of this story is the headlines. It appears that C/NET has taken the stance that anything Microsoft does in graphics is now labeled an "Adobe killer".
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft is a complete joke
Microsoft is a complete joke in thinking that their going to best
Adobe at the their own game. What is Bill Gates thinking?

Adobe will never be beaten by Microsoft because Bill Gates
thinks he can do everything when he can't do just one thing
right, like designing software that really works without being
easily open to every hacker embedding spyware and viruses.
Microsoft thinks they can do anything and everything better than
everybody else and that's a nice pipe dream that will be just
that, a pipe dream.
Adobe does what they do best and they stick to just that,
Graphics programs.
All of Microsoft's software are weak half baked programs that
aren't worth the hard drive space the code is written on.
I have been using and building PC computers for over 23 years
and know it inside and out.
I have spent 20% to 40% of that time diagnosing, repairing and
solving every known and unknown problem on PC's running
Microsoft software.
They never, ever get it right, and is why i tried the Mac G4
Powerbook Notebook system which just blew me away within the
first two hours of discovering it's incredible beauty and power
which took me by complete surprise.

Listen my fellow computer user's.
The people at Apple are the true Master's of Honest to God
computing power.
I cannot believe I waited this long to switch to the Apple family.
I run my own Video-Film Production Company and have begun
to switch my entire production system to Mac's.
There is a major difference when people concentrate on just one
thing as opposed to those that are the jacks of all trade's and
master's of nothing.
Everything about the Mac's power is awesome and it's beauty is
something I never thought I would ever say about a computer
and it's incredible OS, Tiger which is at least a 100 years a head
of Microsoft technology.
And another thing is that I have nothing but FUN!
Yes, fun using a computer for my business.
I've never said that about any Microsoft product at any time in
almost 24 years.
The people at apple Rock and Adobe Rock's.
Point being that Apple works on Apple products only for apple
hardware and software.
As does Adobe works only on Graphics and Digital Documents.
They will never be beaten by Microsoft when they don't know
where their going or coming from because their trying to go
everywhere at the same time

One last point.
When Apple or Adobe say they have a new product or an update
coming out on a particular day, it's there 95% of the time.
We all know about Bill Gates date's of ALWAYS BEING LATE.

Bill Gates...Beat Adobe?...................YEAH RIGHT.
What a real joker...

Nino...
Posted by Nino Nice (22 comments )
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