Microsoft vs Adobe (the new ‘Expression’ suite)

Microsoft Expression Web LogoIt looks like Microsoft have officially settled on the name for their new suite of creative web applications, called ‘Expression‘, and they seem to have Adobe in their sights.

One of the products (Expression Web) went on sale on on 4th December, but at the moment it’s only available to pre-order for $269.10, or if you’re lucky enough to have Frontpage, then you can upgrade for $89.96 (the best $89.96 you’ll ever spend if you ask me!).

The suite contains four products:

Expression Web is already shipping, and according to the website “is a professional design tool to create modern, standards-based sites which deliver superior quality on the Webis a professional design tool to create modern, standards-based sites which deliver superior quality on the Web“. I’m not entirely sure if this is a direct replacement of Frontpage but it claims to have “A sophisticated CSS rendering engine” which would be a welcome step towards a standards based design application, it will be interesting to see how IE6 handles the standards based code.

Microsoft Expression Web Interface

Expression Blend, according to the website, “is the professional design tool to create engaging web-connected experiences“. Sound familiar? Although the site talks a lot about designing user interfaces, so it could be a prototyping application for designing web-interfaces before they’re implemented, rather than developing rich media applications, similar to how designers use Adobe Fireworks to layout a website.

Microsoft Expression Blend Interface

Expression Design is Microsoft’s new vector illustration tool. It’s a brave move considering the dominance of products like Adobe Illustrator (in the web market at least).

Microsoft Expression Design Interface

Expression Media is a digital asset management tool and an enhancement to their existing iView MediaPro package (which they acquired earlier this year). It promises to offer ‘effortless organization’, workflow integration, image and video editing, and presentation capabilities, from within a single application. It seems like a direct competitor to Adobe Bridge. According to the website (and the screenshots) this is/will be Mac compatible.

Microsoft Expression Media Interface

My initial thoughts on the Expression Suite are obvious, why compete against the likes of Adobe? After some thought I realised there are a lot of people developing ASP.NET applications using Visual Studio, and the Expression Suite will fill the obvious design void for those users.