March 27, 2006 11:27 AM PST

Microsoft's Adobe rivals due after Vista

Microsoft will step up its assault on Adobe Systems' customer base with the release early next year of its Expression line of design and development software.

The three-product Expression suite, aimed at graphics designers and illustrators, will be available early next year--about 60 to 90 days after Windows Vista ships, said Forest Key, director of product management for Microsoft Expression designer tools.

Key also said the first version, or community technology preview, of Expression Web Designer will be available in June. That product is for building Web sites with JavaScript and other Web technologies.

Adobe has long supplied its programs, such as Illustrator and Photoshop, to designers and graphic artists. Through its acquisition of Macromedia, Adobe gained Web-authoring software, notably the Flash product line.

Microsoft, however, is investing in a wide range of graphics and user interface-oriented products, including its Expression products.

Last week at the Mix '06 Web developer conference, the company further detailed Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere, a cross-browser, multidevice user interface tool set, which some people have dubbed an Adobe Flash killer.

"We are extremely focused on the user experience...broadly in every class of application," Key said. "We are saying that the user experience matters in ways that dramatically add value to the business."

An important part of Microsoft's front-end strategy is easing communication between designers and software developers. Its Visual Studio development tool and Expression products will be able to "read" a new layout language called XAML, Microsoft said.

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14 comments

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I'm no fan of Adobe....
... But MS just may have delusions of grandeur in trying to compete
with Adobe's products in the professional world.

On the other hand, since Adobe doesn't give a damn about the
non-professional user. maybe MS can come up with something
useful to most of us.

It would be nice to have.....
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Kill Flash? I got a bridge for sale...
First, MS can barely get Powerpoint to work, nevermind a real
graphics package. Second, the only way they have a chance to
bump off Flash is by deliberately making Vista incompatible. And
besides doing it to WordPerfect when it was the number one word
processor, and AOL when it was the number one ISP, and Netscape
when it was the number one browser, when else have they actually
done that? Of course, this might explain the delay in the release of
Vista...
Posted by qprize (237 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS? Pro Graphics? please.
I don't love Adobe, or Macromedia. The only program I truly love
working in is Photoshop. It just works. Flash MX 2004 is buggy,
but it does work. To think that MS will give a go at this Industry
is kinda silly. I equate this Microsoft mission with their goal to
over take Google. Microsoft simply isn't the company to do it. It
isn't in their name, performance, history, or future. (I hope I am
right.) My personal opinion is that they are simply to big and out
of touch with reality outside of a Microsoft world. Furthermore
think they would have the urge to over complicate things while
also making their software compatible with their software suite
which is overly complex and somewhat dysfunctional.

MS isn't known for being in touch with there users and that is a
big part of making pro software. Macromedia and Google I view
as simple corporations with one or at least targeted goals,
Adobe a little less so but still there. Microsoft just wants every
thing and simply having that and a bunch of R/D ain't gonna do
it...
Posted by Fritzw (10 comments )
Link Flag
Kill Dreamweaver?
When FrontPage was introduced it was supposed to compete with Dreamweaver but it's not in the same league. And they haven't made any substantial improvements in years.
Posted by Grand_Master_G (7 comments )
Link Flag
I serious doubt much will come of this
Photoshop and Illustrator are firmly entrenched in their target markets. There are tons of third party and user created plug-ins, brush, and scripts etc for both. Microsoft is going to have a hard time making a dent in this market.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree
Agree 100%, Photoshop is like the image-editing equivalent of Google for websearch. It's a quality product, MS will have to spend a lot of money to make any impact at all.
______________________________
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Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
Link Flag
Any Bet That Only Microsoft's Expression will Work on Vista?
And for some inexplicable reason, Adobe and other software won't work that well?

Gee.......
Posted by kamwmail-cnet1 (292 comments )
Reply Link Flag
At least Adobe comes out on time....
Let's look at this. M$ can't get Windows out in 5 years. But we are supposed to believe that within 60-90 days after Vista's release. Please..... I have yet to see Macromedia/Adobe miss a release date.
Posted by gnotellaluvr (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Rival to Adobe?
How in the world can Microsoft challenge Adobe? Microsoft's
graphics software will only embolden "wannabe" designers to fill
the world with awful looking graphics such as stuff created by
Frontpage, PowerPower, Publisher and even Word. Everybody
knows that all the worst looking stuff come from Microsoft
software. When you visit a horrible website and check the
source, you find none other than "Created using Frontpage."

They have ZERO chance of luring any professional away from
outstanding Abobe/Macromedia software. When I accept
resumes for graphic/web design freelancers or hire people to
work in our organization, if Microsoft software is prominently
listed, the applicant's resume goes in the round file. Note to
aspiring professionals: Steer clear of all Microsoft graphics/web
design software, even if you get it for free.

MS needs to concentrate on getting Vista and XBox out. Leave
the graphics to Abode and Apple.
Posted by Bryan777 (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Give me a Break
I've been using Dreamweaver and Fireworks for a while.. I refuse to do anything in frontpage I would rather code HTML, XHTML etc.. by hand then use that program.. It add in too much junk to the code that is not needed and it doesn't do some of the things I would like especially in working with graphic as Dreamweaver and Fireworks work good together in that department...

I'll keep using my Macromedia programs..
Posted by swilson2000 (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Graphics? Java?
So, this MS software will create java for websites?

What flavor of Java. Will it work with anything but IE?

Why would anyone in their right mind use Microsoft products
when there's something out there that's better?

Just ask Mac users.

Be very afraid...
Posted by ewelch (767 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Remember MIC and PhotoStory 2000?
I wouldn't worry about replacing my Photoshop or even Fireworks applications. A number of years ago Microsoft developed Microsoft Image Composer - a great vector/bitmap application, that was replaced by PhotoDraw2000 that was a pretty good application that was replaced by ??? In each case an above average application was rolled out, only to vanish within 2 or 3 years. Anybody remember when Visio was last updated? I really doubt MS's commitment to any desktop applications beyond the MS Office Suite.
Posted by rezlab (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Unfortunately they will get the Adobe interface.
Adobe plans on discontinuing freehand and giving Fireworks/Dreamweaver a more Adobe like interface. It really pisses me off because I used Macromedia apps because they were more productive and I preffered their interface. Adobe really does need a rival like Macromedia was. Unfortunately Microsoft doesn't really the creative design sense to pull it off.
Posted by Akiba (220 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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