Microsoft retires Expression

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 21, 2012
Updated • Feb 15, 2014

Microsoft Expression was a collection of tools that enabled you to design interactive web applications. The collection consisted of Expression Blend, an interface design tool for creating graphical user interfaces for both web and desktop applications, the HTML editor and web design software Expression Web, the video editing software Expression Encoder and Expression Design, a graphic design tool.

Microsoft revealed today that it will retire Expression as a standalone product line. While that does not mean that the tools won't be available anymore, it does have consequences which I would like to discuss below. You are probably wondering why the company made the decision to retire Microsoft Expression. The homepage of the product highlights Microsoft's drive to provide its customer base with a unified solution. That unified solution will be Visual Studio, and that is where part of the Expression technology will be integrated into.

The following changes will be made:

  • Expression Blend will be fully integrated into Visual Studio 2012 and - likely but yet unannounced - future versions of Visual Studio. Blend for Visual Studio 2012 will provide designers and programmers with tools to create Windows apps and Windows Phone apps. Silverlight, WPF and SketchFlow support has been added in addition to that as  a preview  to Visual Studio 2012. The technologies will be integrated into the program with Update 2.
  • Expression Studio 4 Ultimate and Web Professional are not for sale anymore. Customers who purchased the products will receive support through the product lifecycle.
  • Expression Design 4 and Expression Web 4 are now available as a free download from Microsoft. Support is not available for these products and it no new versions will be developed and released by Microsoft. Customers who bought the product will receive support through the product's lifecycle.
  • Expression Encoded 4 Pro will remain available through 2013, and Expression Encoder 4 remains available as a free download.


  • Expression Web 4. Mainstream support ends 9/8/2015, Extended Support ends 9/8/2020
  • Expression Encoder 4: Mainstream support ends 9/8/2015, Extended Support ends 9/8/2020
  • Expression Design: Mainstream support ends 1/13/2015, Extended Support ends 1/13/2020

You can read more about the announcement here. Are you affected by the change? If so, what is your take on it?


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  1. Gregg DesElms said on December 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    So, then, am I right about this: Microsoft is taking the most potent of the Expression products and integrating them into Visual Studio so that they’ll still be part of its commercial, fee-based products; and said most potent of the Expression products, as standalone products, are not available at any price (because, after all, Microsoft wants us to purchase Visual Studio in order to get them). And so, then, the less-potent versions of the products, which were never that cool in the first place, are now free; but that’s kinda’ moot because while said less-potent versions have at least SOME utility, the truth is that unless one is using the most potent versions, then what’s the point.

    Do I have that about right?

    You know what would be really helpful is a summary of how this actually and realistically affects people.

    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  2. Totio Filipov said on December 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Well, at least we will still be able to use the tool. I was shocked when I read the title but I feel better now.

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