MS Paint Is Dead — Errr, Wait A Minute

So Microsoft announced that MS Paint was going to go the way of Outlook Express — i.e. die because they just aren’t interested in maintaining the old horse anymore, and it’s to the glue factory it will go.

Then, 24 hours later, after a storm of protest from longtime Paint users, Microsoft backtracked and said that Paint wasn’t going to disappear completely; it would just not be included in future releases of their operating software — it would have to be downloaded as a separate operation.

What bullshit is this? I’ve written before that Microsoft’s corporate strategy team, if they have one, should get a kick in the teeth for fucking over longtime customers just at the behest of Engineering who, despite Dilbert’s efforts, should never, ever be allowed to set policy. And product longevity is precisely what should be decided by Marketing, not by Engineering or Production, because the people most affected will be customers — and despite Dilbert, again, Engineering doesn’t understand customers.

I’ll spell it out for Microsoft (and I won’t need SpellCheck either): you guys are a bunch of fucking idiots.

There are millions of software users who don’t need sophisticated software to address their everyday needs. This is true whether it’s word processing (people who are only interested in writing letters, papers or novels), doing basic budget preparation (households and small businesses) correspondence (people writing simple letters or memos to a few people), and basic photo / picture editing (family photos, articles, blogs) . In other words, LetterPerfect 1.0, Lotus 1-2-3 v.3, Outlook Express… and Paint. In Microsoft parlance, it’s not the bloated juggernaut known as MS Office, it’s the MS Works crowd. And just to repeat the original thought: there are millions and millions of such people and I, one of the earliest Microsoft PC customers, am one of them.

I fucking hate Outlook, Office and (just to be fair) Adobe Photoshop. They’re all too much for my needs, and I’m sick of having to learn to go through a multi-step process just to be able to do something that used to be a one-click operation.

My only comfort is that I’m no longer young, and my time to have to deal with all this nonsense is shrinking. But it gives me no comfort whatsoever to think that Microsoft believes that this is the reason not to worry about me — that I and my kind are a shrinking market, which gives them the right to fuck us, and ignore us.


  1. Same logic as government regulation-making bureaucrats have – if I don’t create more bloatware, I’m out of a job. Besides, program (I hate “app”) pages and website pages cluttered with multilayered flashing, blinking, bleeping icons and ads with circular links are a thing of beauty, because “I” created them.

  2. I suspect that this was the plan all along. It’s just that the list of features to be deprecated in the Fall Creator’s Update came out first and engendered a much bigger reaction than anticipated when folks saw Paint on that list. It would not surprise me that the decision to move Paint over to the Windows Store (packaging it up using the Desktop App Converter aka Project Centennial) had already been made. And if not, the quick decision shows that MS is at least paying attention.

    There are a couple of other things to note: First, Paint 3D is taking it’s place and is perfectly capable of creating the same types of images. I’ve not used it yet, so I don’t know if it’s more difficult to use in this capacity but I’ve heard that it’s still relatively simple. Second, by moving the legacy Paint app to the store, any updates and bug fixes can be released independently of any updates to Windows itself. Not that it’s likely there will be any such updates or bug fixes, given that it’s over 30 years old and is probably bulletproof by now. But, you never know. Maybe they’ll even do what they did with Windows Live Writer and release the code as open source.

  3. > And product longevity is precisely what should be decided by Marketing

    Put the 6x down and back away *quickly*.

    I’ll agree that Engineering shouldn’t be in charge of product longevity because then it’s a fight between the OCD types who want to chase every last pixel into perfect position and the aspergers types who want to redesign it from scratch every three versions.

    But Marketing? Bunch of morally degenerate crapweasels, the lot of them. They have planning horizions that go out years, but only last until next week’s re-planning meeting, have minimal understanding of the underlying technologies and will attempt to refocus the organizations prime goals to better synergize something or other based on the color of the effluent from Wall Street Analysts. They care even less about the customer than the engineers they just want to upgrade to a 7 series BMW and a second mistress.

    Microsoft makes little to no money off of sales of Windows and the office suite to home users. They primarily want to keep home users because they want to *prevent* Apple or Linux (as if) from making any further inroads. They make the money off of corporate sales, and corporate users…have a limited need for Paint.

    Almost no one uses more than 20 or 25 percent of the features in your modern office suite, the problem is that everyone uses the same 15 percent, and then a radically different 5 or 10 percent. This means that if you built it *just* right 95% of office workers would be find with Lotus 1-2-3 with a modern interface, or with one of the “lite” suites.

    Outlook Express died because WebMail. Modern webmail interfaces are quite good, and can do everything that your old IMAP/POP client can do, except store your mail locally, which is probably a bad idea anyway.

  4. The market will respond. I fully expect someone will recognize the need and start producing a no-frills “K Car” computer and software suite. The way Macintosh was originally supposed to be, but without the hefty pricetag.

    1. The market did indeed respond. Every time that’s been tried, the company in question failed. A simple no-frills all-in-one for Grandma is not a new concept– it’s been done time and again. And failed, time and again.

      Google tried much the same with Android. And which platform is devoid of an app market and is only adopted when given away for free? Yeah, Android.

      The comment above about Microsoft giving exactly zero craps about the no-frills home user is exactly right. The only revenue stream they have left is corporate, so their focus is on slowing the mass exodus from their various platforms.

      Simple photo editing? That happens almost exclusively on phones these days. If you’re editing stuff on a desktop, you’re almost certainly a professional user, and hence want professional tools. If not, you’re doing it wrong. Buy an iPad and get on with life.

    2. If you include “free” software in “the Market”, it already has.


      Or you could consider those “community supported”. Note that I use “The GIMP”, which is free but NOT simple, and I use a Mac, so I just spent 10 seconds with Google.

      But you have to go *get* them.

      You want a simple email client?

      Again, free.

      Word processor/office suite:

  5. I’ll use Paint, but only for the most basic of operations. Cropping photos and/or re-sizing them. For anything more sophisticated I use (the “.net” is part of the program name, not a URL). It’s simpler than GIMP or Photoshop, but better than Paint for most operations. Free too, which is nice.

    I have Open Office on my computer, but I confess to never using it. Mostly just because I’m too lazy. It apparently does just about everything MSOffice does, and does it for free, but I’m used to MSOffice and haven’t bothered to learn the Open Office terminology. One of these days…

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