Wednesday, March 23, 2016 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Adobe Jumps the Shark

Glenn Reid:

I have never had such miserable experiences with installers, updaters, subscriptions forced upon me, crashing applications, and overall lack of awesomeness. If Adobe is in decline, it’s Adobe’s own fault. You don’t have to sit back and be old and pointless.

[…]

You have all seen Adobe Air update messages -- two a week for a while there -- without any idea of what Adobe Air is, or why you want it, or why it needs to be upgraded. But this is the one that sent me over the edge today, as I was concentrating on some work that I was doing. Up pops the most useless dialog box ever, to interrupt my concentration. You launch an updater to tell me that I don’t need to update? Really?

[…]

Here’s a little secret: if people start to hate your products and your business practices, you won’t have recurring revenue for long. The recurring part is based on trust and value. At this point, you are losing both.

Update (2016-03-23): See also: Record Adobe Revenue, Oluseyi Sonaiya.

6 Comments

I think it's true that people who have used PSD or Illustrator for the last 20+ years are, for the most part, never going to switch to anything else. For people who grew up on Pixelmator, Sketch, Affinity Designer, or similar apps written in the last decade, though, things are quite different. It's not just that the supporting stuff like installers are terrible, it's also that the applications themselves are not keeping up. If I go from Sketch to Illustrator, I feel like I just replaced my MacBook with a 90s PowerBook, the application lacks so many modern features, and feels so cumbersome to use.

"the application lacks so many modern features"

Like the awesome mouse support for canvas scrolling in Sketch which prevents you from using it if you don't have a trackpad or magic mouse?

I was more thinking of basic stuff like showing you what exactly you're doing when you're dragging something, instead of showing outlines (of some stuff, but not everything), and waiting to redraw the document until you stop your action :-)

"the application lacks so many modern features, and feels so cumbersome to use."

Unnecessarily cumbersome? Yeah. Missing some ease-of-use features? Yeah. Casual users who've grown up with 'good enough' never migrating? Yeah.

But they're still pretty much the correct tools to use if you're doing stuff on a regular basis, especially if you're earning money from doing that stuff.

(And I'm certainly not defending Adobe's business practices, or their QA practices that Glenn Reid aptly raises that only serve to drive away loyal customers.)

"But they're still pretty much the correct tools to use if you're doing stuff on a regular basis"

Depends on what that stuff is.

William T. Johnson

Most businesses that hire creative artists -- like publishers, design studios, animation studios, etc. -- subscribe to the Adobe suite. That's what students need to learn if they want those jobs. And it's easy because their schools are given deeply-discounted licenses to those suites for use in the schools' computer labs.

I agree that Adobe is nasty, their DRM slows down and destabilizes any machine it's on, they install all kinds of hidden and purposely obscure files to do scummy stuff on your computer including spy on you in general, collect personal data and sell it... introduce huge security holes... really evil company. But to say they're going "downhill" is to deny reality. They'll keep pulling this crap because it's working for them: their profits are way up and Wall Street is delighted.

The glories of capitalism!

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