Monday, March 21, 2016

Adobe Jumps the Shark

I love Adobe Systems.  I worked there three different times, and was employee #40 when it was just a tiny little start-up.  I grew up with Adobe, built some important software for them, wrote one of the seminal books on PostScript.

But for god's sake, who's in charge over there, and what are they doing?  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 just don't.  Photoshop isn't any better than it was 10 years ago, and may be slightly worse.

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?

I recently tried to upgrade my Acrobat Pro (yes, I'm one of those people who actually paid for Acrobat Pro -- several times).  I bought an update, because I have at least 5-10 valid serial numbers from the, past, because I've been buying it over and over again -- not because it keeps getting better, but because it won't run on modern systems unless you upgrade it, and you can't upgrade it without paying.

So I buy an upgrade, and it tells me that my existing serial number is too old, and the upgrade won't work.  Okay, well crap, okay.  So I can no longer use the app because I attempted to upgrade it, and I can't easily get my $199 back other than by spending $449 for the full version and then calling tech support and asking for my $199 back.  Maybe Adobe's cloud could notice that my upgrade isn't valid and automatically refund my money, and delight me?  Naaaah. So for months I've been unable to use Acrobat Pro because I don't feel like calling tech support and spending 30 minutes on the phone to fix it.  I'll just quit using it. Take it out of my dock. Print things out, sign them, scan them back in, rather than using Acrobat to sign documents. Sigh.

I have five or six Macs in my office, and on all of them, sporadically, I am told that Adobe Creative Cloud is messed up, and I have the opportunity to Quit.  What I really need is to find and run the uninstaller and remove it from my systems, but I don't have the time or inclination. Maybe the little dialog should offer that as an option?

Adobe has an "Uninstaller" because it installs so much crap in so many places in your system:

I have to sign in to some cloud to use software.  I don't want that.  I don't want to subscribe to something and pay every month for something that I only use occasionally.  I want to pay $600 and get to use it whenever I want.  That's what products are supposed to be.  Whoever decided that people want to pay monthly for productivity software is just wrong, and listening to the wrong people: the Wall Street analysts who want recurring revenue.

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.

I'm clinging to Illustrator and Photoshop CS5 because they just keep working, though now they all crash on Quit, because the operating system evolved but they didn't.

Is that what you want, Adobe?  For loyal customers to go away?

Come on, Adobe, put somebody else in charge and fix this stuff before it's too late.  It's way past ridiculous and broken.

Glenn Reid