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ProBeat: I can’t imagine a world without Paint

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Paint, aka MS Paint, aka Microsoft Paint, is wonderful. It is incredibly simple to use, unlike all its competitors, rip-offs, and successors. Windows 10 may have a Snipping Tool, Paint 3D, and countless third-party options, but none of them are as straightforward to use as Paint.

On Sunday morning, a Microsoft document titled “Features that are removed or deprecated in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update” made the news. Paint was listed as “deprecated” in the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Before the day was out, headlines raged over Microsoft “killing” Paint, even though that was never the case (the first sentence of the document defines “deprecated” as “not in active development and might be removed in future releases”).

Still, there was no sunset date given (the Fall Creators Update should arrive sometime in September) nor any details as to Paint’s fate. Confusion ensued until Monday night, when Microsoft finally set the record straight: “MS Paint is here to stay, it will just have a new home soon, in the Windows Store where it will be available for free.” The document had also been updated to clarify the plan: “Microsoft Paint. Will be available through the Windows Store. Functionality integrated into Paint 3D.”

I can’t imagine a world without Microsoft’s Paint. I use Paint every day. Just like how I use Edge to download Chrome, I will use the Windows Store to download Paint.

I understand Microsoft’s desire to focus resources on Paint 3D and its solution to deprecate, but not remove, Paint. The thinking is obvious: “Instead of just killing the beloved app that has been around for 32 years, let’s make Windows Store its savior.”

Anyone who follows the Windows 10 team closely shouldn’t be surprised — the Windows Store is its big focus as of late. Microsoft is doing everything to bring apps over, from porting its own software like Office to convincing big names like Apple and Spotify that they should do the same.

Still, the backlash this week was fascinating. The public’s reaction was naturally nostalgic — most people who grew up with computers have likely used Paint at one point or another. And then of course, there are many who, like myself, still rely on Paint to be productive.

Microsoft handled the situation well, save for the more than 24 hours where it completely lost control of the narrative. Paint is still being deprecated, but hey, don’t worry! Paint will live on in the Windows Store.

This is a very tricky game for Microsoft to play. Forcing users to get apps from the Windows Store could backfire spectacularly. The app store could end up being a hated part of Windows 10, which is worse than its current status: the ignored part of Windows 10.

Microsoft wants to change how users download Windows apps. That means altering user behavior, which on a platform as old as Windows is no easy feat.

Just look how angry people got when they found out Paint was being “killed.”

ProBeat is a column in which Emil rants about whatever crosses him that week.

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