If ever there was a textbook example of a monopolist perverting the free market, it’s the recent behaviour of Adobe.
Latest tactic to further increase shareholder value at the expense of other stakeholders – customers, (former) retail partners – is the plan to phase out the sale of the Adobe Creative Suite (and Acrobat) supplied on discs in boxes accompanied by printed manuals. The product will only be available as a digital download, either purchased outright or via monthly subscription.
As reported in US consumer technology website The Verge, an Adobe spokesperson said: ‘As Adobe continues to focus on delivering world-class innovation through Creative Cloud and digital fulfillment, we will be phasing out shrink-wrapped, boxed versions of Creative Suite and Acrobat products.
‘Electronic downloads for Creative Suite and Acrobat products will continue to be available – as they are today – from both Adobe.com, as well as reseller and retail partners. We are in the process of notifying our channel partners and customers as plans solidify in each region.’
– Adobe resisted the temptation to justify the move as being in response to consumer demand. Clearly there are limits to its mendacity.
As bricks and mortar retailers rarely if ever sell digital downloads, this appears to be the beginning of the end of Adobe’s relationship with the traditional retail channel in delivering its software to customers.
In bad company
This could be a blessing in disguise, as Adobe’s shameless price gouging of its Australian customers – which has attracted attention from a Federal Senate enquiry – tars retailers with the same brush. Adobe charges Australians just under double the already high-margin US price for many of its image editing products.
The fact that Adobe, along with Microsoft and Apple, refused an invitation to front the Australian Government Senate enquiry and had to be summonsed (only the third time this has been required in Australian history, according to parliamentarian, Ed Husic) underscores their imperious arrogance and absence of any notion of corporate citizenship. Adobe also distinguishes itself by a lack of engagement in Australian society, and a mean-spirited approach to corporate giving.
Here’s the now-infamous clip of the Adobe’s top man avoiding answering questions as to why the company he leads treats its Australian customers with such contempt, compounding the offence as he does so.
The next step from Adobe will be to force customers onto a subscription-based monthly payment model – not because that’s what customers want, but to increase revenue and smooth cashflow.
Just as a rat can’t be blamed for behaving like a rat, a monopolist like Adobe can’t be blamed for behaving like an arrogant bully.
But there must surely now be an opportunity for competitors like Corel and Nik to work with retailers in providing consumers with some choice.
– Keith Shipton