Microsoft vs. Adobe
The new Expression Studio also features support for the .Net Framework 3.5, Smith said. Smith said the new release helps to close the gap between Microsoft, which is an upstart in the design tools space, and Adobe Systems, which has a large head start in the arena with a series of popular design tools.Moreover, Smith said he believes Microsoft has an overall better story than Adobe when it comes to designer and developer workflow. "Visual Studio 2008 is the latest and greatest in tooling, and we have Silverlight support with our add-in there," Smith said. "This continues on our theme of 'better together,'" he said referring to Microsoft's strategy of having its own products work efficiently together. "You can also see the designer as a role in the Visual Studio Team System developer scheme. We are adding more synergies between our designer tooling and our developer tooling." In addition, through contributions and products from its partner ecosystem, Smith said Microsoft could actually "pull ahead as an overall solution for developers and designers." Smith said the Expression Professional Subscription is like "an MSDN [Microsoft Developer Network] for designers." The subscription will be integrated into a Microsoft Expression community site that Microsoft recently launched. "It's all about bringing communities of developers together," Smith said.
"In order for us to close the gap, we need to show value in the tools," Smith said. "We need to go out and show that we're committed to this space, but also push the envelope. Our commitment is being demonstrated by releasing a new version 12 months after the last one. And this shows we're able to listen to the market and shift our corporate strategy where necessary and do what we think is right for our customers and our tools."