Microsoft has quietly discontinued its Digital Image software. Here’s the announcement – apparently it appeared a few weeks ago.

I’m sad but not surprised. For years Digital Image Pro has been the easiest program to use for editing images and creating projects; I still use it regularly. It never got any headway in the market against Adobe Photoshop Elements, and the online photo-sharing services include simple editing tools that are sufficient for many people. Windows Vista includes Photo Gallery, which supports tagging and grouping photos along with simple editing. None of those options fully replace Digital Image Pro, but there’s enough overlap to kill the product.

It’s not the first time Microsoft has jumped into the market for image editing and then bailed out. If you have a long memory, you may recall the late, lamented Microsoft Photodraw, discontinued in 2001. When Photodraw disappeared, projects in the proprietary .MIX format were lost, unable to be opened ever again. Digital Image Pro uses a format for layered projects called “.PNG Plus.” I don’t know if it’s proprietary or standard. I’ll be pissy if we are once again left with a five-year collection of projects that will be lost to obsolescence.

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