March 28, 2012

Moments In Corporate Stupidity: Adobe Edition.

I would like to think of Adobe as a reasonably well-run company, though apparently that isn't true.

Rather than rest on their laurels, following the influx of new customers for their Adobe Premiere editing software, they've decided to get proactive. That is, proactively driving away a different segment of customers from Flash (one of their ubiquitous and hugely popular products).

Adobe recently decided to levy a fee towards companies that use Flash to make products that in turn make money (games, mobile apps, etc). According to Adobe, this move will somehow encourage innovation. As CNET notes, however, it's unclear how charging money for a product that was until very recently free will work to Adobe's benefit. It's more likely this means Adobe haven't learned anything from the last 20+ years of internet commerce.

Here's a good rule I would adopt if I ran a huge tech company: when using a product feels more like a penalty than a reward, even if that feeling is merely perception, expect people to find other products to use. Just look at companies like Final Draft, who want to charge hefty fees to use their customer support services, and yet are seeing increasing numbers of rival companies claiming market share. Or Canon, who are releasing a slew of new HDSLRs that fail to solve problems in existing models, yet cost more money.

Prediction: Adobe can expect a short-term influx of cash ($$$!), followed by a wide spread adoption of HTML 5 (cue image of Monopoly guy pulling out empty pockets).

This has been today's Moment in Corporate Stupidity.

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