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March 13, 2006

Microsoft pauses Expression Graphic Designer (Acrylic) development

Posted by David Hunter at 12:08 PM ET.

Renai LeMay at ZDNet Australia:

Microsoft has temporarily halted development work on some aspects of its upcoming professional graphics application as it tries to bring companion tools and its next-generation Windows Vista operating system to market.

The application — called Expression Graphic Designer — was first released in test form in June last year, and is based on Expression, the tool Microsoft acquired with its 2003 purchase of Hong Kong company Creature House. But despite being widely seen as a rival for Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator products, Microsoft does not see the product as a stand-alone offering.

“At the moment, there’s no great reason for us to release it as a stand-alone product,” the company’s senior product manager for the for the Europe, Middle East and African professional designer markets, Wayne Smith, said last week during a trip down under.

In an interview with ZDNet Australia, Smith explained that Microsoft was taking so long to bring Graphic Designer to market because the company had put “a lot” of the development work for the application “on pause”, until sibling products and Vista could be finalised.

There are more details by following the link, but apparently the Microsoft view is that Graphic Designer is merely an accompaniment to Expression Web Designer (“Quartz”) and Interactive Designer(“Sparkle”) (so much for the “Photoshop Killer” description) and since they are all based on the WinFX technologies coming with Vista, there was no reason to keep pushing since Acrylic was so far ahead.

Frankly, I find this rather odd. All of these products are supposed to ship in some proximity to the Vista launch at the end of the year and the idea that any of the product teams has time to spare is certainly a novelty. Finally, while the March Community Technology Previews of Acrylic and Sparkle were just released, there has never been a CTP for Expression Web Designer (“Quartz”) which is supposed to be one of the replacements for FrontPage with Office 2007. Maybe the Acrylic team is over there helping out?

Filed under Adobe, Beta and CTP, Coopetition, Expression Blend, Expression Design, Expression Studio, Expression Web, Microsoft, Technologies, Tools, WinFX, XAML

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2 Responses to “Microsoft pauses Expression Graphic Designer (Acrylic) development”

  1. Microsoft woos Web developers at first Mix conference -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Today marks the start of Microsoft’s Mix Conference (Mix06) in Las Vegas featuring a keynote by Bill Gates (web cast – 9AM Pacific). The focus is on Web developers to whom Microsoft will pitch its various Web development initiatives including the Atlas framework for building AJAX applications and it is expected that a “layout complete” beta version of Internet Explorer 7 will be distributed to the attendees, but won’t be made publicly available. Despite earlier hints, the attendees apparently won’t get a look at Microsoft’s Expression Web Designer (aka Quartz) which has been noticeably AWOL lately. [...]

  2. Microsoft sets a date for Expression tools, unveils WPF/E -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] When last we heard, Microsoft had paused development on Expression Graphic Designer (Acrylic) and Expression Web Designer (Quartz) was AWOL. Now, Martin LaMonica reports at CNET that Microsoft says that these two plus their sibling Expression Interactive Designer(”Sparkle”) will be available 60-90 days after Vista. That’s probably the soonest since they depend on the Windows Presentation Foundation (Avalon) display technologies which will finally be solidified with Vista. Microsoft also promises a CTP of Quartz in June. [...]

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