Microsoft announces Designer, its AI rival app to Canva and Adobe – but why?

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Microsoft took the wraps off its image editing suite at its Surface event, called Designer. It’s mostly powered by DALL-E 2, an OpenAI technology that looks to try to take on Adobe and Canva, but Microsoft could be too late to the party with this.

There’s been an explosion in AI image generators in recent years, with Google’s text-to-art AI showcasing haunting images from a few phrases, but there’s not been a dedicated app that’s been taking advantage of this, which is where Microsoft Designer comes in.

You can currently join a waiting list where you can soon access a preview of the app, which will eventually be part of the Microsoft 365 suite of apps such as Office, and will also be accessible through Microsoft Edge and Bing.

However, with Canva’s app and Adobe expected to announce a bunch of improvements to its own suite of apps at MAX 2022, it could be best for Microsoft to roll out Designer as an open beta sooner rather than later.

An AI dilemma for Microsoft and its users

Microsoft Designer app search request

(Image credit: Microsoft)

We’ve all been in that situation where we’ve been trying to look for the right image for our school or work projects that best add to the context of what we’re trying to convey. However, sometimes we’d either look at alternatives or try to create our own images.

With OpenAI and Microsoft’s partnership for Designer, it could be seen as a solution by some, but to me, it’s a temporary one until you find the right image.

We’re still at a moment in time with AI where we’re not sure how best to prod the bear in how best it can serve us. Granted, it’s fun to see how a Pokemon AI generator can come up with a character from British soap opera Eastenders created as a Pokemon, but when it seeps into our professional lives, where does AI cross the line?

Microsoft loves to talk the talk when it counts, but when it comes to walking the walk, there’s more stumbles and trips to count, such as the TPM fiasco when Windows 11 launched, and Xbox One’s bizarre announcement in 2013 as a TV machine.

There’s always a chance that the AI focus on Designer could be pulled back due to the feedback it may receive when it’s being heavily tested, but from its initial announcement, the app looks modern and up to date, and something that makes sense to be a part of the Microsoft 365 package.

However, time will tell if AI becomes a helpful companion in Microsoft’s products, or a passing trend to the company where its competitors will use it for better methods and situations.

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