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.
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?