The Next Great Battle

If you thought the Adobe/Macromedia merger was huge, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Microsoft’s getting into the design biz.

On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a big deal. But it is. Microsoft is trying to position itself to take Adobe/Macromedia head-on with its new Microsoft Expression product offerings.

Microsoft Expression is going to come in three flavors: Graphic Designer, Interactive Designer and Web Designer. I see these product offerings as a direct assault against Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator (and GoLive) applications, and Macromedia’s Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Flash applications.

While I don’t really see these tools being adopted by most of today’s designers, I do see them being adopted by “average joes” who dabble in Web Design because they have FrontPage installed on their computer, or dabble in graphics because Paint Shop Pro is on their computers. I’m not trying to knock those sorts of people, because you’ve got to start somewhere. Heck, for the longest time I used Notepad to code HTML because it was all that I had available to me. I didn’t start using Dreamweaver until I started working at PowerServe. But what it does is distort people’s perception of what it takes to get this sort of work. Just because someone makes a tool that allows you todo the work, doesn’t mean you’re good at it.

I hope that Microsoft’s entrance into the field will light a fire under Adobe/Macromedia’s rear and will inspire continued innovation on their part (and for others as well!) because today’s tools can always be made better. But in the end, we all need to remember one thing:
Tools are nothing without great ideas.