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Old 09-15-2005, 07:31 PM   #1
ktinkel
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Default Microsoft going after Adobe?

Well, we have often heard rumors that this was in the cards. But is this the big threat?

In a nutshell
: Microsoft has announced plans to release Expression Studio, including vector graphics software and web development tools. It also includes a purported “Flash killer” dubbed Sparkle. These programs are based on acquisition a couple of years ago of the Chinese (Hong Kong) company Creature House, and more are expected.

Is this a big threat for Adobe? Hard to imagine. For one thing, Adobe has an entrenched position that will be hard to attack. For another, Microsoft has never got programs right in the first (second, third?) release. We could all be old and withered before the new MS software becomes a serious contender in the professional graphics world.

But there is a lot of chatter, so we should at least read up on it, right? Here are a few of the articles on this topic:

Microsoft Monitor Weblog
eWeek (on Sparkle)
eWeek (on Expression Studio)
PhotoshopNews.com (sort of a review)
By Designers for Designers (another review)

   
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Last edited by annc; 09-16-2005 at 12:52 AM. Reason: Fixed a typo.
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Old 09-16-2005, 05:55 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
Well, we have often heard rumors that this was in the cards. But is this the big threat?

In a nutshell: Microsoft has announced plans to release Expression Studio, including vector graphics software and web development tools.
I've used Expression, and I'm not that fond of it. Compared with CorelDraw or Illustrator, it's more diffiicult to use and is not very intuitive. JMHO. It's based on brush type strokes. Microsoft got a good product, but I don't think this is quite ready to go up against Adobe or Corel for that matter.

   
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Old 09-17-2005, 05:07 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Susie
I… not very intuitive.
That explains why MS wanted it! <g>

I suppose they could have changed it considerably by now, but reading about it, it seemed closer to Painter than Photoshop. But I have never seen it, so don’t know anything useful about it.

You are now our resident expert!

   
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Old 09-17-2005, 06:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susie
I've used Expression, and I'm not that fond of it. Compared with CorelDraw or Illustrator, it's more diffiicult to use and is not very intuitive. JMHO. It's based on brush type strokes. Microsoft got a good product, but I don't think this is quite ready to go up against Adobe or Corel for that matter.
Wouldn't you say in some ways it's more intutive, at least more than Illustrator? Instead of trying to get strokes right in a dialog box that can't control everything anyway, you can fiddle with them in Expression until they're just what you want.

It's half painting/half vector, and neither is the half you expect to use in AI or Painter<G>, but it's reasonably easy to create vector art with. I personally don't see it as any threat to AI or Painter, but I wouldn't mind seeing AI's art brushes work more like Expressions.

   
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Old 09-17-2005, 06:42 AM   #5
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One unique angle I picked up from reading this is Microsoft is going to sell these like they sell programmer's tools. Which means they are not going head to head with Adobe. And let's say it becomes the practice for software writers to begin understanding how to use these tools, so they can build their interfaces, which are based on MS C++ or MS Visual Basic. And then web designers, so they can take advantage of MS's new whatever that looks spiffy running on Windows. These tools will then dominate development.

The other thing is, Microsoft is very tenacious. They don't care of a product is a flop. They keep developing it. Like Windows, which didn't begin selling until Version 3.
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Old 09-17-2005, 07:42 AM   #6
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… Microsoft is very tenacious. They don't care of a product is a flop. They keep developing it.
Too right — in fact, there seems to be their official modus operandi. Think how long it took them to get Word right. (Of course, then they didn’t stop!)

   
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Old 09-17-2005, 07:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cristen Gillespie
It's half painting/half vector, and neither is the half you expect to use in AI or Painter<G>, but it's reasonably easy to create vector art with.
How does it compare to Canvas, if anyone knows? That too is a combination vector/bitmap program (with layout thrown in for good mesaure).

   
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Old 09-17-2005, 08:24 AM   #8
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KT:

Think how long it took them to get Word right

Hoity-toity! It was right in the days of DOS Word, and was the first application that enabled Windows 3 to take off. It's one of the few WP to be consistently style-based right from the start. The accretions are mostly the result of the sales side saying, 'Hey, WordPerfect can . . .'.

   
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Old 09-17-2005, 09:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
How does it compare to Canvas, if anyone knows? That too is a combination vector/bitmap program (with layout thrown in for good mesaure).
I can imagine getting real work done in Canvas or RealDrawPro (another program that combines methods). But not Expression. It always struck me as a very innovative program that went beyond what others have done in bringing texture to vectors, but not done well enough (yet) to use in place of other methods. Except, maybe, for experimentation. For example, creating art or animation with Expression's unique look.

OTOH, Microsoft just bought themselves some very unique technology. So what remains is to see how they bring it along.
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Old 09-17-2005, 09:44 AM   #10
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I just remember something. Microsoft already tried a bitmap/vector program, and discontinued it after version 2. Anyone remember PhotoDraw? It was consumer level, which is where Microsoft usually markets well. So maybe graphics does not come as easily to them. But they are clearly not giving up.
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