Microsoft has decided to discontinue the Expression product family only five years after the first application included into the suite was officially released.The company announced the Expression brand in 2005, while Expression Studio, the first app wearing this new badge, was launched two years later.
The entire suite, however, will be phased out, with customers to receive mainstream support until 2015. Extended support will officially end in 2020, while both the Expression Design 4 and Expression Web 4 are now available as free downloads.
The reason behind this decision is fairly simple: Microsoft wants its users to move to Visual Studio 2012, so some of the features available in the Expression product family will also be integrated into this app.
“Microsoft is committed to providing best-in-class tools for building modern applications. In support of these industry trends Microsoft is consolidating our lead design and development offerings — Expression and Visual Studio — to offer all of our customers a unified solution that brings together the best of Web and modern development patterns,” the company says on the official Microsoft Expression web page.
In addition, Expression Encoder 4 Pro will still be available for purchase through 2013, the Redmond-based technology firm said, while Expression Encoder 4 will be released as a free download. Technical support, however, won’t be provided for any of the software solutions released with a freeware license.
Expression Blend will continue to be offered as a standalone solution designed to assist developers in their efforts to create Windows Store and Windows Phone apps.
“Blend will continue to ship as a standalone tool with Visual Studio 2012, as part of a consolidated designer/developer offering. Blend for Visual Studio 2012 provides a rich design-centric environment for building Windows Store apps and Windows Phone apps. In addition to that, WPF, Silverlight and SketchFlow support is available today as a preview and will be released in Visual Studio 2012 Update 2.,” Microsoft continued.