Is Microsoft trying to capture photography market?

This week Thomas Hawk (my favorite “Flickr-famous” photographer) and me will join a bunch of others on Microsoft’s campus up in Redmond, Washington, to attend a pro photography summit that Microsoft is hosting.

Why is Microsoft hosting a bunch of professional photographers?

Is it to kick off Microsoft’s Pro Photo Tools, Photosynth ( which got me, in 2006, to say it was the demo of the year), or DeepZoom? Maybe. After all, these things are really cool and photographers should flock to them in droves.

Is it because the digital photography market has finally gotten big enough to get Microsoft interested? Maybe.

But I think Microsoft has something else up its sleeve.

It knows that if Silverlight is going to have a chance against Flash it will have to get designers to give up Photoshop, or at least use other tools alongside.

Why?

Because designers now are in control of the toolset that many companies will chose. What’s the most important tool to these designers? Photoshop.

So, along comes a Microsoft salesperson trying to get Silverlight and the Microsoft toolset in the door. Things go well with the developers, because .NET code is a lot nicer than Flash stuff. The management likes the pitch too, because they probably will get a break on something else they are already buying (Office/Sharepoint/Exchange are all very popular inside most corporations). But then the team gets to the designers and they say “give up Photoshop? Over our dead bodies.” And the deal ends and the team chooses Adobe’s Flash. Adobe’s salespeople then get a call and they come over and show off Acrobat.com, which is a hit against Microsoft Office and you can see how this goes.

So, I’ll be watching this week to see what’s really behind Microsoft’s moves into photography. Is it to do something really remarkable (which Photosynth and Deep Zoom are)? Or is it to switch designers from Adobe stuff?

What do you think?

70 thoughts on “Is Microsoft trying to capture photography market?

  1. Mmmm I can’t see Microssoft making any real impression in the photography market. Photoshop is already great, people who use it are familiar with it, and like many people have said most photo design users are Mac users. If Microsoft want to attract users to whatever new imaging software they bring out, they’d better package it on top of a decent OS first!

  2. Mmmm I can’t see Microssoft making any real impression in the photography market. Photoshop is already great, people who use it are familiar with it, and like many people have said most photo design users are Mac users. If Microsoft want to attract users to whatever new imaging software they bring out, they’d better package it on top of a decent OS first!

  3. Robert,

    Microsoft have been serious about for some years but have a huge mountain to climb.

    Apple and Adobe are a trusted brand for creatives. This is due to good quality products and largely to great marketing. How many Microsoft bumper stickers have you seen? Mac zealots passionately defend their products even when they don’t deserve it. Adobe has a monopoly with their Creative Suite for same reasons people love Apple. I hope Microsoft can make a small dent into Adobe’s software sales because competition is a good thing for everyone. But they have to earn it.

    – Robert.

  4. Robert,

    Microsoft have been serious about for some years but have a huge mountain to climb.

    Apple and Adobe are a trusted brand for creatives. This is due to good quality products and largely to great marketing. How many Microsoft bumper stickers have you seen? Mac zealots passionately defend their products even when they don’t deserve it. Adobe has a monopoly with their Creative Suite for same reasons people love Apple. I hope Microsoft can make a small dent into Adobe’s software sales because competition is a good thing for everyone. But they have to earn it.

    – Robert.

  5. “Agree with Andrew: Zoomorama is much easier to use than DeepZoom, with video integration, Text, and links And it all works in Flash, no pre-installation.

    No comparison is possible. Agreed. ”

    Hard to get too excited about the zoom CONCEPT, either, having enjoyed Google Earth over the years…

  6. “Agree with Andrew: Zoomorama is much easier to use than DeepZoom, with video integration, Text, and links And it all works in Flash, no pre-installation.

    No comparison is possible. Agreed. ”

    Hard to get too excited about the zoom CONCEPT, either, having enjoyed Google Earth over the years…

  7. Agree with Andrew: Zoomorama is much easier to use than DeepZoom, with video integration, Text, and links And it all works in Flash, no pre-installation.

    No comparison is possible. Agreed.

    Thanks Andrew for pointing it out.

  8. Agree with Andrew: Zoomorama is much easier to use than DeepZoom, with video integration, Text, and links And it all works in Flash, no pre-installation.

    No comparison is possible. Agreed.

    Thanks Andrew for pointing it out.

  9. Hawk writes lots of MSFT-fan boy stuff over at Seekingalpha.com (investing sit). He’s probably getting some cash from the “astroturfing” fund at Redmond.

    I agree with several posters above: if ANYONE is going to “take out” Adobe, it’s Apple. Consider: Final Cut Pro essentially killed Premier. Lightroom and Aperture compete head-to-head. Preview does 95% of what Adobe Reader does and it does it MUCH faster and MUCH better– Preview is about a week’s worth of coding removed from being an app that could destroy PDF for Adobe; largely, Preview just needs improvements in authoring capabilities. As for Photoshop– yea. Apple could take on PS as well, if they so chose. I’m not sure MSFT could even manage Photoshop’s device support or system-level color profiling.

  10. Hawk writes lots of MSFT-fan boy stuff over at Seekingalpha.com (investing sit). He’s probably getting some cash from the “astroturfing” fund at Redmond.

    I agree with several posters above: if ANYONE is going to “take out” Adobe, it’s Apple. Consider: Final Cut Pro essentially killed Premier. Lightroom and Aperture compete head-to-head. Preview does 95% of what Adobe Reader does and it does it MUCH faster and MUCH better– Preview is about a week’s worth of coding removed from being an app that could destroy PDF for Adobe; largely, Preview just needs improvements in authoring capabilities. As for Photoshop– yea. Apple could take on PS as well, if they so chose. I’m not sure MSFT could even manage Photoshop’s device support or system-level color profiling.

  11. Don’t forget, Microsoft bought iView a few years ago and incorporated it into their Expressions line of tools.

  12. Don’t forget, Microsoft bought iView a few years ago and incorporated it into their Expressions line of tools.

  13. In France a number of serious photographers are using Zoomorama to show their photos in full resolution online. Zoomorama has been selected by Red Herring Technology magazine as most innovative European company of the year 2008.

    The viewer is in Flash, unlike DeepZoom, and the authoring is very simple. Service is Free with 2Gb of storage. Go to http://www.zoomorama.com

    Mac version is expected in February 2009.

    See here for an example: http://www.zoomorama.com/castor/6ffae58aa303b8ba8e50046454a1ef79

    You have multiple choice of license, and making the picture downloadable or not. Still there are always issue with ScreenGrabs. So if you want to protect your picture 100% you need to include watermarkings.

    Enjoy

  14. In France a number of serious photographers are using Zoomorama to show their photos in full resolution online. Zoomorama has been selected by Red Herring Technology magazine as most innovative European company of the year 2008.

    The viewer is in Flash, unlike DeepZoom, and the authoring is very simple. Service is Free with 2Gb of storage. Go to http://www.zoomorama.com

    Mac version is expected in February 2009.

    See here for an example: http://www.zoomorama.com/castor/6ffae58aa303b8ba8e50046454a1ef79

    You have multiple choice of license, and making the picture downloadable or not. Still there are always issue with ScreenGrabs. So if you want to protect your picture 100% you need to include watermarkings.

    Enjoy

  15. Image Composer didn’t die, it just changed names…went to “Digital Image Pro” and had a few iterations there. MS seems to reboot this effort every few years…why can’t they just stick with a product and continue to improve it.

    Image Composer was great for business users, as was Digital Image Pro but they didn’t share file types. Last version of DIP was 2006 “Anniversary Edition” which supposedly worked better with Vista.

  16. Image Composer didn’t die, it just changed names…went to “Digital Image Pro” and had a few iterations there. MS seems to reboot this effort every few years…why can’t they just stick with a product and continue to improve it.

    Image Composer was great for business users, as was Digital Image Pro but they didn’t share file types. Last version of DIP was 2006 “Anniversary Edition” which supposedly worked better with Vista.

  17. why does silver light need you to give up Photoshop

    and if for some reson you cant use PS in the sliver light workflow WTF where they thinking – looks Bill should have delivered one of his famous ass kicking chewing outs to the silverlight team.

  18. why does silver light need you to give up Photoshop

    and if for some reson you cant use PS in the sliver light workflow WTF where they thinking – looks Bill should have delivered one of his famous ass kicking chewing outs to the silverlight team.

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