A random Weblog

C’mon Microsoft, don’t do a Dr Kevorkian on this application!

A few years ago, iViewMediaPro was the preferred choice for those handling large catalogs of media files – it proved especially handy for managing digital photo files. It was quick, stable, and easy enough to use.  There were numerous ways to find photos in a hurry, and ample options to customize things. This was in the “early days” of DAM (Digital Asset Management), and with it’s ability to handle over 100 different media types, iViewMediaPro proved a winner.

In fact the application was so good that Microsoft acquired iView in what appeared to be an astute move at the time.  They made some tweaks, re-badged it as Microsoft Expression Media 2, and life for Mac and PC users went on quite happily.

Well that was then and this is now.  MS have now abandoned the product – most likely due to low sales (it is a niche product after all). While it’s still possible to download a 30-day demo, you cannot buy a license key or full version off MS.  It is possible to find boxed product at online stores like Amazon, but for all intents and purposes the product has ceased to be.

I don’t mind that MS have had a change of heart – that’s their free choice – but in the absence of any word of a replacement from them, it seems criminal that they acquired iView and in subsequently abandoning it have stranded users like me from any future with the product. I wish they’d give the software code back to the original owners, or put it out as shareware or something.

Meantime, photo applications like Apple’s Aperture and Adobe’s Lightroom offer pretty good DAM functionality, but neither are close to what even the old iView could do – let alone the newer Expression Media.  Both Aperture and Lightroom are a great start, but they struggle when your library gets into the tens of thousands of images – something pro-photographers get to in short order.  Expression Media also had many other options and tools that these later offerings do not have (e.g. you can’t burn to DVD from within Aperture).

There is a Windows offering called IDImager but as a Mac user I’m hoping Adobe up the ante and make Lightroom 3 the industrial grade DAM product that Lightroom 2 is not.  Or maybe someone like PhotoMechanic or IDImager for Mac will come to my rescue?

UPDATE – May 2010

Good news all round.  Microsoft has sold Expression Media to Phase One.  Totally brilliant move on P1’s part as clearly Microsoft had put this in the too-hard basket, and P1 have a strong track record with software – witness Capture One as a class-leading application. Talk about a win!

Read the press release here


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[…] C’mon Microsoft, don’t do a Dr Kevorkian on this application! « A random Weblog. […]

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I can recommend Canto Single User software as a perfect replacement, it’s less “interface-sexy” but is a more powerful than Iview (RIP)..

Comment by David

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