Microsoft publishes Acrylic beta
Microsofts solution is based on Expression, this program was aquired by microsoft two years ago when they bought the company Creature House (Hong Kong). The first critiques are not all positive. The first beta-testers complain about bad quality, one of the testers sees the program more as an extended MS Paint instead of Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro. However, I really enjoyed "Creature House Expression 3" and I can't Microsoft has spoiled such a beautifull product.
Prices are not known yet. The beta is free to download (77MB) and works until october 1th. You'll have to run windows XP with Service Pack 2 in order to run it.