Microsoft unveiled three products for designing graphics and layout in software programs and Web pages to compete with Adobe Systems and...

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Microsoft unveiled three products for designing graphics and layout in software programs and Web pages to compete with Adobe Systems and Macromedia.

The products, branded Microsoft Expression, will be released beginning in 2006, Forest Key, group product manager in Microsoft’s developer-tools division, said yesterday.

The company has been stepping up competition with Adobe and in April announced a technology that will rival Adobe’s PDF file format for sharing digital documents. Microsoft is hoping to sell more software by appealing to graphic designers who will be able to translate their ideas directly into code rather than through software developers.

The Microsoft products allow designers to select the graphics features they want. The programs then provide the underlying code to display those graphics instead of requiring the developers to write the code themselves.

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Microsoft unveiled the products yesterday in a speech by Senior Vice President Eric Rudder at a conference for software developers in Los Angeles.