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.


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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.

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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
Adobe is arrogant
Adobe has made a number of their apps "Windows only". Thankfully they haven't done so with Photoshop, yet. But Microsoft will tie Acrylic to the OS, just like they have done with their other apps, and make it so other graphics programs miss some of the key features that one gets in Acrylic.

So if Adobe gets arrogant and thinks that they are invincible, then they will be in trouble because Microsoft is one company that knows how to play dirty and win.
Posted by (274 comments )
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
.net, bank account?
Your missing the point to the .net passport. Its not to be your "bank account" as you stated, but simply a unified login for Microsoft, MSN, and other sites. And its free anyway, so I don't know why you're so against getting one.
Posted by Bobman (114 comments )
Link Flag
Uhh. It's just a login system
Just like the one you used to log in to C|Net forums. It's free, easy, and if you're concerned about privacy, set one up with a free email account and a bogus name. And no, Passport does not require a bank account or any other crazy requirements.

Seriously, it's a non-issue.
Posted by (13 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah, it's just a log -in....
And I guess I shouldn't have any complaints about MS trying to
breathe life into a mostly dead concept. Okay, I concede. If I want
to try Acrylic, I'll get a passport .
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
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 )
Reply Link Flag
Agreed, but...
I agree with what you say, but I'll remind you that Adobe is a master at this behavior. Just look at the whole Adobe/Macromedia issues before they bought Macromedia: lawsuits, name-calling and embittered developers on both sides. Now that Adobe owns Macromedia, they've virtually locked-up the media publishing/vector graphics/image editor/web development industries. Not to mention that Adobe has a horrible track record with products/companies that they acquire. Macromedia has a very loyal following for many products that overlap/compete with Adobe products. There is much concern in the graphics/multimedia industry as to what Adobe will do with programs such as Fireworks and Freehand.

Oh yeah, and they love charging a bundle for their products. Maybe it will take a company like Microsoft to keep Adobe honest and competitive.
Posted by (13 comments )
Link Flag
Get a clue...
Graphics folks - myself included - make their purchases on
QUALITY. Price is one of the last considerations to be made, as
well-written software can pay for itself in a contract or two.
Having once tried Front Page, I highly doubt MS' ability to deliver
anything remotely capable of living up to my expectations/
needs. To compete on OS X, companies need to get on board
with Cocoa and now CoreImage. Your comment about Apple not
being able to "afford" to take on Adobe is a joke. Final Cut has
KILLED Premiere on the Mac. Period. For a preview of what
similar fate may be met by After Effects and/or Photoshop, take
a look at Apple's Motion and the technology in CoreImage
Funhouse. While your at it, play around with Quartz Composer.
Point is, Apple's tech provides some very low hanging fruit that
either itself or some new kid on the block can take advantage of.
Adobe, with its strong brand, would be wise to adapt it - and
soon. The question is will they?
Posted by (54 comments )
Link Flag
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.

Apple did not choose to openly defy Adobe.

Apple asked Adobe to join with them and make a consumer level
video editing application. Adobe refused, so Apple went on its
own to make iMove which became Final Cut Pro.

If Adobe had worked with Apple Final Cut Pro would probably
have never existed.
Posted by (21 comments )
Link Flag
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.

Posted by (336 comments )
Reply Link Flag
um, it's a beta
&gt;I guess Microsoft has managed to kill another fine program.

A) MS hired the same folks that created the original Expression,
B) It's a beta.

Have you actually used it, or are you just another typical CNET troll?
Posted by (127 comments )
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
Are you just an IDIOT????
CNET is CONSTANTLY badmouthing almost anything that MS does.

Did you actually READ THIS STORY? The ONE quote that they choose from the Acrylic forum is about how it's a bloated sloppy mess, even though it's a FREAKING BETA release.

This story isn't a promotion, it's a hack job that is typical of CNET's anti-MS bias.
Posted by (127 comments )
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
How can one buy this. I download this about 4 months ago. I went back to the east coast. I fogotten about this. I try to dowload this again, but comes up with expires.
Posted by rskippy (3 comments )
Link Flag
How can one buy this. I download this about 4 months ago. I went back to the east coast. I fogotten about this. I try to dowload this again, but comes up with expires.
Posted by rskippy (3 comments )
Link Flag
How can one buy this. I download this about 4 months ago. I went back to the east coast. I fogotten about this. I try to dowload this again, but comes up with expires.
Posted by rskippy (3 comments )
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
This man...
... is really ticked. Ol' Bill will do almost anything to keep MS
solvent, but he should do just that. After all, it's hs 50 billion
dollars at risk.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
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
Now that I've tried it...
... I have to admit that I'm not impessed by the visual impact of
the program - it does seem like it is more from the mid 90's.
Tool menus are not easily used, and making changes takes far
too many steps. And while layer control seems acceptable in
general, I must admit that Adobe does it so much better in
Illustrator. And as much as I get frustrated with Adobe's "go pro
or blow" attitude, I can't trash Illustrator just yet.

If this is MS's beta version, I think that the program designers
need to go back to pre-Alpha and come up with a new and far
more intuitive visual design, and much more user friendly tool

As Acrylic now stands, I wouldn't use it if it was free. Corel is an
option I may need to check out. Adobe is much too much
bloatware to use (unless maybe you'rr a professional who is paid
to wade though the unending complexities).
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
I concur...
Just download it and try it out yourself. It's a
fantastic stretch of the imagination to think
it's meant to compete with any Adobe or Corel
product. An improvement over MS Paint, it may be
(though it uses up a phenomenal amount of system
resources for what it does).

Perhaps Adobe's got problems coming up with a
decent UI for their applications, but it's still
better than Acrylic, takes less system resources
to run, and has magnitudes more functionality.
Posted by Gleeplewinky (289 comments )
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.

Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Yes. Remember Netscape? Lotus 1-2-3?
MS is going back to old, abeit slightly altered for DOJ consumption, behavior. Just recently Cnet had an article about MS supporting RAW formats at the OS level. Now we see a new Photoshop-like application being given away for free (with an expiration date).

Word of this app will spread, and people will download it. Many will start using it. And if MS is true to form, they will come out with an improved version that is way below the price of Photoshop, and they will announce new cool features for a future release, things which Photoshop doesn't have, then the race is on.

It's a lot like Netscape, Lotus and other stories that we've seen before.
Posted by (274 comments )
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
Adobe may outweight the average gorilla,
but it lacks seriou smarts inthe software design department. But
then, so does MS. Neither one can figure out that the most
efficient software design mode develops a simple, clean cut,
easy-to-run core app, and then provides the user with all sorts
of power add-ons which seamlessly can be integrated into the
core app, or can be unintegrated as the user's needs change.
Instead, both Adobe and MS generate monster apps, with every
possible function built in, whch take a six month's learning
curve to get past even the basics.

As long as that mentality persists, their software will be second
class quality to 99% of the users. Adobe says they don't give a
damn for the consumer, they deal with the pros only. At least MS
seems to provide the illusion (?) that the consumers do count.
But Office seems to say otherwise, and Acrylic --- well, Acrylic
just doesn't seem to say anything.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
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...

Posted by Nino Nice (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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