Microsoft’s gallery had an aesthetic, to be sure, and it wasn’t high art. But these images, cheesy as they are, were also incredibly useful in their time. It wasn’t easy to quickly find images in the dial-up age, and an entire industry of CD-ROMs you could buy for $50+ tried to fill that niche. You could buy those, or you could stick with what you already had: Microsoft’s clip art.
As an artist I resent some people's assumption that original art from my abilities and imagination, which I have sacrificed a lot to develop, should somehow default to public property. If we require artists to participate in a money economy their art belongs to them. Copying images and not following the copyright owners permissions to the letter is stealing, outright. And deep pockets like Disney has taught individuals that the hard way.
This pretty seriously ticks me off. Why in the world would a company delete something that far ranging without at least sending an email to the customer or broadcasting it on every platform possible? I used clip art on a regular basis....making cards, mailing labels, chore charts, papers for my homeschool, etc. It would have been nice to be able to save off all those clip art graphics to my own drive before MS Office did one of their lovely updates and removed everything. Personally, I detest Bing and I'm not even remotely interested in getting involved with anything involving copyright law. Maybe it's time to make the journey to Open Office at last. Buh bye Microsoft!