What's up with Adobe?

September 29, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I have a complex javascript program I have written to automate the presentation of my images.  I can't remember what version on Photoshop and Bridge I started the script - probably CS2.  Anyway, every time Adobe introduces an new version of CS something needs to be adjusted in my script.  Usually it is something easy to fix, like a new folder the program is expecting to find scripts.  No big deal, I expect this kind of stuff.  But then along comes CS6 and guess what - Bridge support for the Script UI is badly broken.  Adobe was told about this in the beta process in early April 2012.  This is a serious bug - it means a lot of Bridge scripts will not work in Bridge CS6.  It is hard to believe, but Adobe went ahead and released CS6 with the bug.  An update was released at the end of August with a number of bug fixes, but nothing related to the Bridge UI issue.  It is now the end of September and still nothing done, no acknowledgemnt of the problem since the beta report and no indication if it will ever get fixed.

I see this as a sign of decay in the Adobe organisation.  Adobe has created some amazing software over time.  It usually can be characterized as stable and efficient to use, albeit with a big learning curve.  That is why professionals use Adobe products.  Adobe also reaches out to its user community with blogs and user to user and customer feedback forums.  This is good stuff.  By digging through the forums you can find users with similar problems and work-arounds.  Some of the users participating have impressive credentials and are experts in the field and willing to help the less knowledgable.  Kudos to Adobe for making these platforms available.  But there are cracks in the wall.  The latest feedback forum, where Adobe gains important user feedback and ideas, is often silently read by Adobe employees with no feedback to the users.  It can be like talking to a brick wall.  I can't understand why Adobe would go to all the trouble of creating the feedback platform with a status item available such as "under consideration" or "solved" and then hardly use it.  Are they trying to piss off their customers?  I don't think so - I think it is that they have too many things on the go, and they are letting stuff like this fall through the cracks.

There is a idea that organisations go through stages - first they are run by the entrepreneurs who have great ideas, lots of energy and vision. After a while the engineers take over.  This is usually a good thing.  The vision thing has been created, the markets penetrated and now the business needs great products, good planning and discipline.  After a while, as the business gets bigger or set in its ways, the accountants take over and this is the beginning of the end.  Critical business elements such as taking care of customers and implementing great designs take a back seat to quarterly earnings, procedures and resources.  I think that is where Adobe is right now.  I know they have great employees, at least the ones I see, but then I see software being released with known serious bugs, customers being ignored and policies being implemented that are customer hostile.

An example of a customer hostile policy is that you are allowed to run Photoshop on two computers.  This is good as most folks have a desktop and a notebook computer.  But they both have to be using either Windows or OSX.  If you have a Windows desktop and a Macbook then you are out of luck.  However, if you have a Lightroom license then you are welcome to run one copy on the Windows machine and the other on the Macbook.  Now, no one is going to buy a second copy of Photoshop to run on a second computer - they will either create a Windows partition on their Mac or they will get a pirate version of Photoshop.  This means Adobe has a policy that annoys customers but does not generate extra revenue.

Anyway, enough whining on my part.  I just decided to get this stuff off my chest about companies, such as Nikon and Adobe, that I value as I use their products.  It will be interesting to look back on these posts a few years from now to see how these companies have progressed or regressed.


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