Adobe deserves some comeuppance

Adobe has encountered consistent criticism since it began forcing its customers to rent software from it on a monthly basis via the ‘Creative Cloud’, rather than owning it outright.

The more bolshie, independent-minded section of its customer base saw the strategy as maximising shareholder value at the expense of customer satisfaction. Adobe is, I hope, about to learn you can’t have one without the other for any length of time.

It appears it has gone that ‘one step too far’ that our mums and dads used to warn us about. The announcement this month that it is effectively killing off Lightroom as a software product one could purchase, rather than rent until you lose interest or die, has created an overwhelmingly hostile reaction. Respected – and generally conservative – professional photography website Imaging Resource  urged its readers to abandon Adobe on mass in a story titled ‘It’s time to stop living under the illusion Adobe cares what you think’.

Have a read of some of the 500 comments following this story in Amazon’s DPReview website attempting to justify Adobe.

I have never seen such overwhelming hostility to one decision from one company in the photo industry. And yet even though the customer base is hopping mad and looking for alternatives, Adobe is a darling of the financial press! They loved that management expects total revenue of US$8.7 billion next year – up 20 percent on the 2017 result. And who could be unhappy that this year earnings growth was 39 percent and sales growth 24 percent? The customers who feel they are being coerced into contributing to that stellar result, that’s who!

If a fraction of the dissatisfaction expressed in the past week by the global photographic community manifests itself in customers walking away from Adobe, this could be about as good as it will ever get for the rent-seeking, would-be monopolist. It could be worth monitoring this in the next few months, and even consider re-visiting the retailing of image editing and management software.
– Keith Shipton


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