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The curious case of Microsoft Paint

27 July 2017

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

Earlier this week, Microsoft indicated that it was to retire its long serving MS Paint programme. First introduced in 1985, the splodgy digital art interface has had a good run, exasperating generations of schoolchildren with its rudimentary graphics and notoriously poor handling. After more than 30 years of fun and frustration, the tech giant’s decision to cease developing the programme seemed a reasonable course of action.

However, the house that Bill Gates built hadn’t reckoned on quite how passionately people felt about our their pixellated paint trails…



Indeed, so baleful was the public reaction to the news that within hours Microsoft was moved to clarify. ‘It’s been amazing to see so much love for our trusty old app’, the company said on a blog prompted by the ‘incredible outpouring of support and nostalgia’.

The company has confirmed that MS Paint will be granted a stay of execution. Though it will no longer be installed on computers by default, it will have a renaissance of sorts on the Windows Store, where connoisseurs of bad digital art can download it for free. Safe in the knowledge that the programme’s future is secure, we can all celebrate by, erm, continuing not to use it…

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.

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