Welcome to the world of Adobe. Where everyone is an elitist, oh sorry, artist.
During the Digital Revolution Adobe rocketed into success. PhotoShop destroyed Coral Draw, DreamWeaver squashed its competitors, and Flash created an entirely new media platform. Yet, at the height of their success, something significant happened. Steve Jobs announced that the iPhone would not be supporting Flash. A flood of media attention followed. It was the distraction that Adobe competitors were praying for. As a daily user of Adobe products I pay for the fact that Adobe took their eye of the ball. As a result today there is growing support for free open source alternatives to many Adobe products. The hold on digital media that Adobe once had seems to be rapidly dissipating. And yet there remains demand for the new release of CS6. What happened, and what’s sustaining them now?
It’s love and war!
The good: As a brand Adobe has achieved something truly remarkable, they have repeatedly sold themselves as the best long enough that we believe them. Subconsciously Adobe products are perceived as better. As a result, there is a mix of jealously, pride and frustration among the Adobe haves and Adobe have-nots.
The bad: Adobe products have developed a fascinating love/hate relationship among many of their fiercest supports. Bluntly, over the last 4 years Adobe has released subpar products. Professionals are dropping 1-2k on Adobe products that do not perform like they are promised to. I first switched to Mac in 2005 because Adobe products were stable on the Apple. I assumed that it was Microsoft that was producing buggy applications. For the next few years it was bliss! My Mac never crashed even when I pushed Photoshop to the max, rendering large designs. But then I upgraded my Adobe suite and problems began to emerge. Today I will do the simplest action on Dreamweaver, like opening a file, and CRASH! Everything is down.
The ugly: Many Adobe users, myself included, love Adobe. But they hate how they have released buggy products. They hate how much money it costs to upgrade their product from a subpar CS5 purchase to a hopefully par CS6 purchase. Especially when there are so many good alternatives out there. They hate that Adobe has spent all their resources creating CS6 rather than spending some on upgrades to fix the problems underlying their existing products. So some users are switching and some are supporting open source alternatives.
What’s sustaining them now?
Like a bad relationship, users of Adobe products love the feeling they get when everything works. They forgive the bad, ignore the ugly and hope for the good. They love it when a colleague looks over at their screen and says, “you still using Adobe!” Knowing full well the colleague is jealous. Adobe is still around because Adobe has successfully sold themselves as the best. That’s their genius.
What do you think? Are Adobe going downhill/uphill? Do you think they are worth what they charge? Do you think they should spend more time supporting their previous releases?