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Microsoft Pauses Work on 'Photoshop Killer' 212

daria42 writes "According to this article, Microsoft has paused development work on some parts of the pro graphics application it first released in beta back in June 2005. The problem? It appears the software giant doesn't see the application as a stand-alone product, but more of a companion piece to its Expression product line. Plus Vista needs to be released first."
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Microsoft Pauses Work on 'Photoshop Killer'

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <> on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:41AM (#14906737) Journal
    Ok, so I'm a little tired of headlines like these:
    Microsoft Pauses Work on 'Photoshop Killer'
    Sony's Revolution Killer? []
    And the list goes on.

    So where does that leave the readers? I'm pretty sick and tired of hearing the word 'killer' used to describe a new product that aims to (hopefully) usurp the leading product in the market. That's it! Let's start using the word 'usurper' over and over to describe a product. It's hip, it generates hype, run with it!

    I'm fine with having my intelligence insulted when I read the comments. Hell, I'd even be fine with having low brow advertising on /.'s frontpage. What I'm not fine with is the editors being stupid enough to use clichés such as "killer" over and over and over again. Is this the 80's? Do we find one word and use it to describe everything? Did Roblimo just turn into Jeff Spicoli? Is anyone really naïve enough to think that an application will come along and "kill" Photoshop? For christ's sake, I use the Gimp 2.0 and I personally like it better than photoshop. On top of that, it's free. I alerted my band member to this application when he was making posters for a show. Now, he didn't pay for his version of photoshop but he still laughed when I suggested the Gimp 2.0 because he was too ignorant to try something new. I think you'll find this in a lot of graphical artists that if they have something that works (i.e. Macs, Photoshop, Intuos, etc.), they will stick with it until they die regardless of anything else that comes out. It's because that consumer base has a fatalistic attitude that different means worse.
  • by od05 ( 915556 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:49AM (#14906793)
    Creative Suite is cross platform, it doesn't make sense for Microsoft to want to take down Adobe. iLife takes customers away from Windows, it makes more sense for them to be making Final Cut and iPhoto killers instead of trying to make another Illustrator & Dreamweaver. Most professional Graphic Designers are still going to use Illustrator instead of Expression anyways...
  • Rudderless Ship? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blcamp ( 211756 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:54AM (#14906820) Homepage
    Seems like the Good Ship Redmond is adrift. They are preoccupied by too many projects going on, such as putting the wraps on Vista and Longhorn Server, "Orcas" (successor to Visual Studio 2005, aka "Whidbey"), Office 12... then they still have to deal with antitrust fights all around the world.

    I notice too, that they haven't bought anyone out recently. They probably should, because they certainly haven't had much luck with any new product development. UMPC (or, "Newton XP") is going to be DOA.

    Instead of "Developers! Developers! Developers!", Balmer needs to be jumping around screaming "Ideas! Ideas! Ideas! Ideas! Ideas! Ideas!"
  • Editorial slant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:55AM (#14906825)
    Did Microsoft ever say this was going to be a "Photoshop killer" or is that just editorial? This kind of editorial doesn't help at all, in fact it muddies the waters if it is not meant to be a product that competes with Photoshop. Editors are supposed to clarify things.
  • by Rahga ( 13479 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:59AM (#14906848) Journal
    "If Microsoft think that the scope of the application is too small to be considered a completely separate package, it's not going to be the "Photoshop Killer" that they want it to be."

    It's not what about what 'can be done', but what would make them the most product. This approach is:

    1) Publish 4 as a bundle, which is just as cheap to mass produce as 1 standalone would be.
    2) Sell the bundle of 4 at the cost of 3.
    4) Profit! The customer thinks they are getting a good deal, though they probably won't regularly use more than 1 of the 4 products.
  • by zlogic ( 892404 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:59AM (#14906856)
    Well I've used GIMP for webmastering and I found that the following features don't exist in Gimp but exist in Photoshop:
    - layer styles, including shadows. In Photoshop, you can add a shadow and change it any way you like in something like 5 mouse clicks. The shadow will change if the object changes. Now, Gimp doesn't have any stuff for making shadows at all. So, to make a shadow, you have to duplicate the layer, fill the duplicate with black (or any other color), and blur it. And of course if you draw something on the original layer, you'll have to delete the shadow and draw a new one.
    - save for web
    - photoshop has more filters, and many can be actually useful
    - shadows/highlight (first appeared in Photoshop CS)
    If you are doing simple photo editing (brightness/contrast, color levels, resize), Gimp or Krita or Gwenview or even ACDSee will suit you well. If you have never used Photoshop, you'll also have no difficulties in using Gimp.
    However when you switch from Photoshop to Gimp you'll be lacking lots of these small-but-useful features that make a 30 second task in Photoshop something like 10 minutes Googling when using Gimp.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:02AM (#14906871)
    I notice too, that they haven't bought anyone out recently.

    They bought Onfolio five days ago.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:05AM (#14906892)
    My guess in the whole deal is that they've been working on it, saw that it can't hold a candle to Photoshop and to the fact that Adobe pretty much sets the standard for DTP in Windows, so the whole deal will be revamped as an additional goodie in the Office suite.

    That way, some kinda graphics program is already on your machine when you have Office (and what office doesn't?), it's another thing that you can hand to marketing in an attempt to make OpenOffice look worse, and in a generation or two, they might start to create some "professional" or "enterprize" standalone version when they hit Adobe's market hard enough, when people got used to their "standard".

    MS isn't in a hurry. Taking over a market someone else claimed takes time, and time is what they have plenty of.
  • by MyDixieWrecked ( 548719 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:15AM (#14906964) Homepage Journal
    I'm amazed. Only microsoft could buy a program that I used to run on my 120mhz Powermac in like 1997 that would have performance issues described by "Microsoft has recommended relatively high system specifications for Acrylic, saying consumers should preferably run the software on an Intel Pentium 4 machine, with Windows XP Service Pack 2, 512MB of memory..."

    Expression was neat at the time, but the stylus illustrator plugin improved on it and illustrator 9 or 10 blew it out of the water.

    Also, I really see this "Photoshop Killer" being Paint Shop Pro on steroids. I honestly can't see microsoft competing in the pro market at all. The only competing they do is when we get the do-it-yourselfers sending us M$ Publisher files or Powerpoint files that are to be used for output; which results in us needing to rebuild their files from the elements, if possible. or just do a complete re-create.

    all I can say is 'ugh.'
  • Re:I tried it.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:17AM (#14906985)
    Not to mention the fact that the world isn't even ASKING for a Photoshop replacement

    Indeed. In fact, if they bundled Paint.NET [] in with Windows, then this would be perfectly adequate for the vast majority of people. It is that good.

    I'm not sure how well Paint.NET stacks up in terms of features against the GIMP. My own personal experience was that it was easier to use, the UI was logical and I was productive with it in a matter of minutes - whereas GIMP just had me getting frustrated and going nowhere quickly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:22AM (#14907025)
    Maybe they should spend less time worrying about Expressions and more time finishing Vista. I'm sure the new OS will have a better imaging program than Photoshop, a better search program than Spotlight, a better music manager than iTunes, and a better widget program than Konfabulator. They are overlooking one minor detail...most people prefer products that exist over those that don't.
  • by nysus ( 162232 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:24AM (#14907045)
    When I think MicroSoft, I don't think creativity. It seems MS fails to understand the concept of branding. You can't have two different personality traits, one creative and hip, the other nerdy and utilitarian, and sell products under the same banner. It's just doesn't work in the mind of consumers.
  • Re:Editorial slant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gutnor ( 872759 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:31AM (#14907099)
    It seems the product do not even aim at being a photoshop-like application. Maybe this has changed since the beta, but the main purpose was vectorial graphism.

    Microsoft is not even talking on its website about anything that could position it against Photoshop.
    Just see by yourself aphic_designer/gd_features.aspx [] tml []

    When you tried to 'kill' another product, you generally start to match its features, in this case, both feature list have almost nothing in common.

    For me that doesn't make more sense that saying Adobe Illustrator is a Photoshop killer.

    BTW, this has already been discussed: 1 []
  • expression (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:34AM (#14907125)
    Expression, formerly of creature house, was bought by microsoft a few years ago, company included. It is one of the most innovative packages around. I tracked the tragectory of this technology ever since its first debut at siggraph. Combining deep math and artist sensibility it married vector and bitmaped graphics in truly amazing ways. The key metaphor is that of a brush. Any image can become a brush-stroke, which can make new images which can become further brush strokes. It is extremely intuitive, especially to artists.

    My biggest worry is that microsoft might suck the soul out of this truly innovative product. It is light-years ahead of any painting program (Which is why MS had to buy it, because to allow it to be independent might mean that its own paint programs might have been out compete, however unlikely, snce it did not have a major distributer around the time it was bought out by MS.) especially if it is used in the right context.

    calling it photoshop-killer or positioning it against photoshop is not really the right strategy. Photoshop's core metaphor is that of a photo, so photoshop is especially deft at after effects applied to a photo or the compositing of existing photos. (I'm sure there are people who break the metaphor and create masterpiece digital paintings from photoshop, but nonetheless, original graphics is not photoshop's main domain.) Expression gives you canvas, paint, and a magical brush.

    Time will tell what will happen to this product, here's hoping that it doesn't die at microsoft's hands.
  • by nysus ( 162232 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:40AM (#14907191)
    MS's fortunes were built on two products, Office and Windows. That doesn't translate to success with other software.

    You can't make Oldsmobiles and then expect to put out the #1 selling sports car in the field as well. GM is just not identified with slick sports cars. Yeah, they have one (the Pontiac Grand Prix), but it's certainly not a top seller.
  • Why Why Why Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jacks smirking reven ( 909048 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @11:18AM (#14907560)
    I myself am usually a pretty good defender of Microsoft as i find Windows to do everything i need with a bit of tweaking, but this is what bothers me most about them..... They seem to be trying to be all things to all people and losing focus on their prime objectives. As we hear about Microsofts AV software, Graphics software, Google threats, etc etc we hear about features that keep getting sliced out of Vista to the point that its beginning to sound like XP SP3. IMHO they need to focus on a solid, secure OS core that will run this type of software in a stable, usable environment and let companies like Adobe and Macromedia (oops, one in the same now!) worry about specialized programs like this.
  • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 ( 521389 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @11:24AM (#14907601)
    And you really think that Microsoft is going to be the one to bring UI improvments to Photoshop? It's not exactly their strong suit.
  • by Watcher ( 15643 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @12:28PM (#14908229)

    GM is just not identified with slick sports cars. Yeah, they have one (the Pontiac Grand Prix), but it's certainly not a top seller.

    Yeah, that Japanese made Corvette sure is putting GM to shame! Um...wait a minute...

  • by moochfish ( 822730 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @01:54PM (#14909040)
    "Don't know what it is? Just Google it." (

    "Old and useless? Ebay that shit." (

    "Wanna know more about me? Facebook me." (

    "Blog it." (

    "Sneeze? Use a kleenex."

    "Red eye? Photoshop it." (Photoshop)

    It's not very easy to unseat the champion when its name is synonymous to the activity it is dominating in.
  • Re:Yeah, Great... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bassman59 ( 519820 ) <> on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:11PM (#14909199) Homepage
    Yeah, great. Photoshop is already famous for it's amazingly high cost and the fact that it has somehow gotten itself to be the only one that the average joe knows about so they won't use alternatives. I mean, Paint Shop Pro (formerly Jasc, now Corel) costs about half the price and, as nearly as I've been able to tell in all the time I've been using both, has all the features of Photoshop, only PSP runs more smoothly. Then there's the GIMP, which is also quite capable and definitely quite free."

    Yeah, yeah, great. Try using the Gimp for, say, color separations and pre-press stuff. Try using Paint Shop Pro for that.

    PhotoShop was always more than cropping pictures and optimizing them for the web! It was designed to prepare images for print production. If you don't need those features, then maybe something else will work. If you DO need those features, then PhotoShop is the standard tool, and as usual, the cost of that tool is in the noise compared with the revenue one derives from using it.

  • by podperson ( 592944 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @02:14PM (#14909225) Homepage
    You are aware that in Photoshop you can change shadow parameters and have an interactive preview... That a layer style can consist of any number of layered components (shadows, highlights, overlays, etc.) which can be flipped on and off, have their opacity changed, etc. all with live previews. That you can copy the style from one layer to another. That you can encapsulate it in the UI where it will preview itself with an icon.

    Oh, and this is all scriptable in Photshop, both visually (via recording your actions) and programmatically (via JavaScript).

    Yeah, it might be a little less convenient to do this in aptly named GIMP.

    The GIMP is so laughably pathetic compared to Photoshop that only someone who hasn't actually done anything significant with either would compare the two.
  • by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:27PM (#14910903)
    The tool "Microsoft Acrylic Graphic Designer" or "Microsoft Expression Graphic Designer" was NEVER meant to be even in competition with Adobe, especially Photoshop.

    Do the idiots writing this stuff or posting reference to this crap even use Photoshop in their life, let alone the MS product?

    As a developer, it was VERY CLEAR from MS to us DEVELOPERS that Acrylic was a new XAML based drawing application FOR MAKING WINDOWS WPF/WinFX APPLICATION AND WEBSITES.


    The features it offers are not even comparable to Photoshop, the closest product on the market that would be 'comparable', would be Deneba Canvas, but Acrylic Designer has NO WHERE NEAR the features set or even tries to.

    It is made to make Graphics in XAML format to be put into the "Interactive Designer" or dropped directly in a WPF/Vista/WinFX application, as they are in XAML format.

    Why XAML? Because the elements are common objects and not just lines, and can be accessed and programmed to react or move as the application requests, not to be a new 'picture' format or even a SVG killer. I can take a freaking XAML ID/NAME tag and have the line move, reshape, float around, respond to a user clicking it, and all in a 3D Space.

    And XAML itself can also define 'behaviors' for the elements in the file format. Not something a normal standard like SVG even tries to do. When SVG is for designing Windows applicaions and can define not only visual elements but also can do object collision and movement, then we will talk.

    I get so tired of the "SVG Killer, Flash Killer, Photoshop Killer, Acrobat Killer, blah, blah, blah..."

    (And Flash is the closest to reality with expression and XAML, as some people have went on to write little application that are Flash based, although it is not powerful enough to write full scale Windows applications, and here is where the difference lies, not to mention the level of programming difference, the full 3D workspace and design environemnt Microsoft has created.)

    Flash will live on doing what it does, but it won't be used to make Windows Applications... Geesh.

    MS Expression are tools and technologies for DEVELOPING applications in the new 'Presenation Layer' concept of Windows Vista and WinFX runtime components for XP.

    If you don't believe me, actually go use these applications in a 'development' environment (they are free downloads even) and see how they are 'designed' to be the new generation of 'development' tools, adding in elements for 'graphic designers' that are programmible. Your first clue would be to notice that code that lays behind the drawing, and all the items of the drawing have the cute little Object properties that looks more like somthing from Visual Stuido/Visual Basic. And trust me, this is not somthing you find in Photoshop.

    If you use Acrylic and think it could ever be a Photoshop killer, then you are smoking something the rest of us are not. It is not even the same type of drawing tool - anyone know Vector/Bitmap differences? Anyone?

    Please save our sanity and stop the crap about every thing Mirosoft is doing as being a 'Killer' of some other companies products. Especially development design tools killing Photoshop, jeeez.

    Even the new Tablet PC from MS were iPod Killers, how far can you go with this? What next, "The new clock in Windows Vista is a Killer of your home grandfather clock."

    If you are posting a link to an article, it should at least be something you 'get' or understand, or you should not be allowed to write the pretext for the link. PERIOD.

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?