Carl Camera

Expression vs CS3 Pricing

As someone who expressed recent interest in jumping into Flash development, the announcements and **demos at Mix07 have significantly altered my software purchasing outlook.

I cannot and will not comment on whether Silverlight is a Flash Killer but I can provide one data point and reasoning for my interest in Silverlight as well as my corresponding disinterest in Flash.

I'm not a big design shop, but I'm getting more and more requests from clients and potential clients about developing photo galleries and other miscellaneous requests for stuff-that-moves.

The logical step would be to move from Photoshop CS up to Creative Studio 3 Web Premium, that provides image and vector-based design, web editor, and Flash IDE. I could upgrade to Photoshop CS3, Illustrator CS3, Flash CS3, Dreamweaver CS3, and Fireworks CS3 bundled into a package called CS3 Web Premium for a mere $1560.

As an existing Adobe Photoshop CS owner, however, I am eligible for the CS3 Web Premium Upsell product at only $1370. Even at that upsell price, I would have to delay plans for new hardware.

Microsoft, on the other hand, is offering image and vector-based design, web editor, and Silverlight IDE. I can get the inaugural editions of Expression Web, Expression Design, Expression Blend, plus Visual Studio 2005 Standard for $560 in a package called Expression Studio. As an existing Expression Web owner, I am eligible for an upgrade price of $330. Hmm. Maybe I could afford that new notebook computer come Christmas.

This is quite a big decision because it means abandoning my Photoshop roots for a new design paradigm. Nevertheless, I'm faced with a purchase decision of $330 or $1370. Am I under the influence of the Microsoft Kool-Aid or is this a compelling design-development solution at a significantly lower price?

Note: All prices are prices as of 11 May 2007.