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Microsoft's Expression Could Lure Corporate Defections From Mac

Microsoft will have a tough time luring Mac-centric designers to its Expression product line but it will appeal to Web designers that collaborate with Visual Studio developers, partners say.

On Tuesday, the Redmond, Wash., software giant released the first Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer, formerly code-named Sparkle, and the fourth CTP of Expression Graphic Designer, code-named Acrylic.

The tools, formally named this week, are aimed at interactive Web site designers and graphics designers developing WinFX-based applications on Windows XP and Windows Vista, Microsoft said. Corporate pressure may also force migrations from the Mac, designers say.

The third member of the Expression family, Expression Web Designer, is aimed at Web designers and is still in beta testing. Sources expect the first CTP of Web Designer, formerly code-named Quartz, to be delivered at Microsoft's first show for designers, MIX 06, in Las Vegas in mid-March.

Leading Web design firm said Microsoft has a tough sell getting Web designers using Adobe and Macromedia Flash on Apple Computer's Macintosh to switch to less mature tools. But the software giant has a compelling argument for companies that have designers and developers collaborating on .Net projects.

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