Tech Industry

Microsoft buys photo management tool maker

Software maker acquires iView Multimedia, whose software helps manage digital photos, electronic art.

Microsoft has acquired iView Multimedia, the founder of the British photo cataloging software company said on its Web site.

"With Microsoft's purchase of iView, we are in a position to enhance our industry-leading product, whilst strengthening our customer service and support," iView Multimedia founder Yan Calotychos said in an open letter to customers.

The information on iView's site did not include any terms of the deal. Microsoft said in a statement that it bought iView "because of its great product offerings that deliver unparalleled digital asset management and cataloging solutions for customers."

"It's too early to comment on how and when iView's products will be incorporated into our product line," Microsoft said.

The London-based company's software, iView Media and iView Media Pro, is used for managing digital photos and other electronic art.

NPD analyst Chris Swenson said the deal should help Microsoft broaden its new Expression line of graphics and Web design tools by giving it a tool that is popular among photographers and other graphic artists.

"Because digital photography and digital asset management is such a key aspect of Web design, I think it was a necessary strategic move that Microsoft had to make, given their investment in the Expression line," Swenson said in an e-mail interview.

Swenson said it should also help Microsoft compete better against Adobe Systems in the market for digital workflow software. Adobe is testing a product called Lightroom that can be used for managing photo jobs.

"Together with the solutions in the current Expression product line (Expression Web Designer, Expression Interactive Designer, and Expression Graphic Designer), I think Microsoft will have a very competitive suite of products to offer Web designers and other creative professionals going forward," Swenson said.

iView's Calotychos said the company's software will continue to be available for Macs and PCs.

"The product that was born on the Mac will remain on the Mac as well as on the Windows operating system," Calotychos said. "All iView products will continue to be sold on the iView Web site and through our partners and channel. Bottom line: You all can continue to use and buy iView products knowing that they will be fully supported as Microsoft evolves the products in the future on both the Windows and Mac platforms."

According to iView's Web site, Calotychos started the company in 1999 with his wife, Victoria.