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?