Microsoft Discontinues Expression Suite Development, Expression Design 4 and Web 4 Made Available For Free

Microsoft today announced that they are ceasing the development of Expression Suite.

Expression Studio Ultimate included the following programs,

  • Expression Web, HTML editor and web design program
  • Expression Design, vector graphics editor
  • Expression Encoder Pro, Video editing tool for authoring VC-1 and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC contents
  • Expression Blend, graphical user interface builder for XAML or HTML applications
  • SuperPreview, complementary web design program for testing compatibility and performance
  •  SketchFlow, complementary user interface tool that facilitate workflow design

Microsoft will no longer develop any of these products and Expression brand will be discontinued. Here is the announcement from Microsoft.

  • Blend will be fully integrated with Visual Studio 2012. Blend for Visual Studio 2012 provides a rich design-centric environment for building Windows Store apps and Windows Phone apps. In addition to that, WPF, Silverlight and SketchFlow support is available today as a preview and will be released in Visual Studio 2012 Update 2.
  • Blend will continue to ship as a standalone tool with Visual Studio 2012, as part of a consolidated designer/developer offering. Blend for Visual Studio 2012 provides a rich design-centric environment for building Windows Store apps and Windows Phone apps. In addition to that, WPF, Silverlight and SketchFlow support is available today as a preview and will be released in Visual Studio 2012 Update 2.
  • Expression Studio 4 Ultimate and Expression Studio 4 Web Professional are no longer available for sale. For customers who previously purchased these products, all components within Ultimate and Web Professional will be supported through their support lifecycle.
  • Expression Design 4 and Expression Web 4 are now available for download at no charge.  Technical support will not be available for these free versions.
  • Expression Encoder 4 Pro will be available for purchase through 2013. Expression Encoder 4 remains available for download at no charge.

I think its time for Microsoft to buy Adobe for their designer and developer tools. Adobe’s market capital is around $18 billion with $4 billion yearly revenue. I think Adobe will bring more value to Microsoft than Skype did.

Update: Microsoft reached out to us to clarify their statement about Expression Blend’s future. I’ve updated the post above with their statement.

Source: Microsoft

  • David

    Not a good news. I really liked Expression Web and Blend. I know Blend is kind of part of Windows Phone SDK and Visual Studio now but Expression Web….

  • Naga Harish Movva

    I like Expression Encoder very much

  • guesttt999

    Have people noticed how Microsoft is either axing, re-branding and consolidating their products recently?

    a. Bing Finance quietly merged into MSN

    b. Expression partially merged into Visual Studio

    c. Live Mesh axed, Skype is the real deal

    d. Bing maps (instead of two separate versions: Silverlight and HTML)

    e. Windows Live Messenger to Skype

    f. Hotmail to

    g. Windows CE gives way to Windows kernel in the Windows Phone for better development strategy, security and advanced features for the phone

    and more…

    • grs_dev

      A lot of those products had no business existing in the first place. They were clearly the result of a left hand right hand not talking sort of thing…
      I think they need to do a better job consolidating. If I consolidate and lose features by adopting the new product, then it’s simply going to slow down future adoption. My faith in switching to the new product has been shaker, for now at least. My biggest complaint is from Live Messenger to Skype. It just seems to premature and while it makes sense strategically, it makes very little sense based on the current execution.

      • EShy

        Microsoft always had this problem. Every technology will have something else that’s similar and developers will never know which one is the right one to use. It happens on every level and it looks like they are now trying to fix that.

        • grs_dev

          I am not sure I follow. The entire expression suite was not a different or an alternate technology. It simply tried to cater to a different audience. It’s essentially the same IDE visual studio built on top of but with a different skin.
          Maybe you can clarify what you mean

  • EShy

    No, buying Adobe won’t be better for Microsoft than buying Skype.

    The strategy in buying Skype had to do with the end users, in Adobe’s case it will have to do with the development platform.

    There’s no reason for Microsoft to offer design tools like photoshop or flash. Blend is a different story (it complements the app and web dev stories for XAML and HTML). They’re stopping work on the other tools because they never wanted to invest enough resources in them to bring it up to par with Photoshop.

    The Skype strategy is about the social integration Microsoft wants in all their consumer facing products. It’s the #1 voip software. That’s already a big market and will get a lot bigger as the smartphone/tablet market grows. The photoshop/after effects markets will never grow that much

    • grs_dev

      The 2 are so not even remotely related value and strategy wise. I am not sure why Pradeep felt compelled to throw that in. Maybe he owns shares of one or both and is trying to start some rumor.

    • Rikkirik Contrera

      I do not find it such a bad idea. MS is in essence a software company and Adobe has no compettitors in this area, just like Windows software does not have any real competition (yet). It might give MS domination in a field where there is no competition and broaden it’s business and consumer offerings. If MS can also push Adobe products into the touch centric era, it would be a killer. Skype on the other hand has great potential and that”s where Pradeep is wrong. Skype’s potential lies in the ability to become the world biggest and most competitive wireless or VOIP carrier if MS can mobilize or utilize the strenght of Skype. This will give an added impulse in the sale of other MS products like smartphones, tablet’s and PC’s making Tellco’s almost obsolete. If the impact of Tellco’s (on telephone calls, bussiness calls and pricing of smart phones) can be broken throught Skype, the profitability of Skype (and other MS products) will skyrocket.
      This is possible if Skype’s products (videocalling, conferencing, phoning etc) become more competitive to Tellco’s and more common or mainstream, across devices (in smart phones, tablets, PC’s, TV’s) and customers (SMB, enterprise and at home).
      If MS can distribute it’s products (tablets, smartphones) throught it’s own or other channels, bypassing the tellco’s channels there won’t be no form of dependency on Tellco’s (for wired of wireless calls), ginving MS products a competitive edge above those of rivals.

      • grs_dev

        Adobe is a flash company not a PhotoShop company. The biggest value it possesses is its drm ip. Microsoft has a drm strategy. It’s called Silverlight. The authoring tools are just fluff.