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Microsoft Kills Expression Suite — And Makes It Free, For Now 89

Posted by timothy
from the free-for-now-ware dept.
mikejuk writes "Microsoft has announced that the Expression suite of design tools is no more. It has been removed from sale immediately and it has been placed on a maintenance only status until it reaches its end of life. Expression was Microsoft's offering for designers and competed directly with Adobe products. You can now download the components of Expression — Design 4, Web 4 and Encoder 4 — for free but you can't buy them. Of course, knowing that you are using 'doomed' products, even for free, takes some of the icing off the cake. The central component of the suite the UI designer Blend is to be integrated with Visual Studio 2012 probably along with Update 2. It looks as if Microsoft is giving up on trying to get designers to use its tools."
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Microsoft Kills Expression Suite — And Makes It Free, For Now

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  • Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @06:55AM (#42368117)

    They should just open source it

  • Viva la Blend (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @06:57AM (#42368121)

    It's a shame.

    But Blend is the secret-ish weapon. However anyone who's used Blend extensively for WP and Win8 dev on large projects, while it has it's short comings, it rocks. We're seeing our WP and Win8 projects delivered considerably cheaper than our other platforms, prototype designs built as apps, not on paper, allowing us to prototype during the design phase.

  • Did n't even know (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PCK (4192) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @06:57AM (#42368123) Homepage

    that Microsoft even had a design suite. I guess that shows how successful it was.

  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @07:12AM (#42368169)
    Indeed. Please tell me all tools of which you are aware. All tools not on your list will be unsuccessful. Your lack of knowledge will determine the fate of untold hundreds of tools!
  • Badly named suite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xoc-S (645831) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @07:28AM (#42368213)
    This was a failure in marketing, not technology. When this came out, it took me a while to differentiate the products because of the first word in the name being the same. I finally figured out to just drop the word "Expression" and concentrate on the second word. I think it was a huge mistake trying to use the term to group a disparate set of products. They should have called them Microsoft Design, Microsoft Blend, etc. and then packaged them as "Microsoft Designer Suite". Blend is actually pretty cool.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @08:18AM (#42368357)

    Not only that, but it was also very easy to add effects like a gradient which when used in the application could use huge amounts of cpu time whenever an update required a refresh. Then you have to recreate the effect using a pixel shader in Visual Studio in order to get your performance back.

    We also had various cases where the project could not be opened in Blend and worked with unless the current project settings were exactly right and the code behind it was perfect as well. That made handing off the project to let a non-programming designer fancify the UI a pain sometimes tracking down why Blend didn't like it after edits by a developer.

  • by calyphus (646665) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @09:12AM (#42368507) Journal
    The original Expression app that MS bought years ago was a great start on a different style of drawing/painting app. The vectored brush shapes were innovative. MS bought it, gave it away for awhile, and that was the last I heard of it. MS really doesn't have any credibility with designers.
  • Re:Viva la Blend (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eirenarch (1099517) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:09AM (#42368775)

    I like the Blend products' features but I never understood why they were not part of Visual Studio. I've always been frustrated having to switch between the two environments. I consider merging Blend with VS a great step forward.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:06AM (#42369055) Homepage

    Names or brands mean very little in the eventual success and adoption of a product. What matters more is performance, quality and reputation.

    My turn to call bullshit. Good branding can't make a terrible product into a highly successful one, but terrible branding and marketing can keep a good product from being recognized as such. If you make a great tool but nobody knows about it, it won't sell. If people are aware of it, but they can't figure out what the product is supposed to be, they won't buy it. If people don't believe that the tool works well, they often won't give it a chance.

    And Microsoft's marketing isn't great. They tend to go through periods where they reuse the same name for disparate products and services. How many different things have been labelled ".Net" over the years? How many different products have had the "Live" moniker applied to them? There have been a couple very different products called "Surface". And look how inconsistent their product names are: 3, 95, 4, 98, 2000, XP, Vista, 7. And Windows 7 isn't even version 7, it's officially v6.1!

    Now I briefly used the Expression Suite a few years ago, and I can't tell you what any of these products are. Blend? No clue. Is that the one that was trying to be like Photoshop? And what market were they going after? Business? Consumer? Design? I have no idea. I thought it had been discontinued years ago, since I haven't heard anything about it.

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