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Letters to Editor

Thursday, 26 July 2001
By Print 21 Online Article

Letter to the Editor

I run a digital printing company using both B&W and colour digital printers. As a result, I have to have every major graphics program in the market place, PC & MAC.

I do not run a graphics design department and therefore do not use any of these programs to their full potential. We simply open files and send them to our printers in which case a scaled down less expensive read only version of these programs would be more than adequate for our needs. That is of course if we ever got files from graphic artists that actually worked without hours of time fixing them at our expense.

Software companies over the past decade have invested their vast profits into further developing their software to the extent that they are now 10 years beyond the average person’s ability to use them. In doing so they have destroyed their own future market place. They should be redeveloping their current programs to be more stable and simpler to use, thus servicing their customers instead of forcing on them newer, more complicated, useless and expensive versions.

As a result of their own lack of foresight and the consequence of falling sales and profits, they are now struggling to maintain their income. Fortunately they have come up with a brilliant idea of how to recover profits. They’re going to attack their own client base and specifically the printing industry – the very clients who have done the most to promote and support these products.

I’ve lost track of the number of my clients I’ve convinced to purchase Acrobat and if I had a dollar for every hour I’ve spent training my customers on Acrobat and every other Adobe product, I could retire tomorrow. Hell, they should be paying us to use the software!

I don’t like getting threatening letters in the mail, especially from companies I have spent thousands of dollars with for no financial gain and whose products I have personally promoted.

The only reason I am getting these letters is because I have done the right thing by purchasing these products and licensing them, thus providing them with my details for their mailing list. They’re not sending these letters to the people using pirated copies who haven’t registered.

How stupid are these people? What business person in their right mind goes out of their way to antagonize their own customers?

We have a licensed copy of every major graphics program and would love to be able to purchase additional licenses to run these programs on other computers. This is more for convenience as we are not graphic artists and do not use these programs eight hours a day or to anywhere near their full potential. I would happily pay an extra 30 per cent per computer for a few additional licences for this convenience (the cost of a sheet of paper to Adobe), but I have no intention of paying thousands of dollars to save both my staff and myself from walking a few steps between computers.

I have contacted Adobe on several occasions to inquire about additional licences and been told that I need to purchase hundreds of licences before receiving any reduction in cost. How many companies are there world wide that run a hundred plus computers with these programs? How many small businesses are there using this software? And does anyone actually believe that most small companies, of let’s say 10 people or less, are going to pay exorbitant additional licensing fees when it is so easy to install software on additional computers and the chances of getting caught are so slim?

The vast majority of people in this world are honest and want to do the right thing when they believe it is fair, but when they believe they are being blatantly ripped off they will rationalise their actions as just getting even with the offender. This applies to many other areas besides computer software and also explains why we have a major problem with Tax avoidance in this country. I wish I could produce a product once and sell it a million times over for the cost of a CD.

If Adobe and other software companies want the business community to do the right thing by them, then they’re going to have to start doing the right thing by their customers. If additional licences were available to small businesses at around 30 per cent of cost with restrictions such as distances between computers, on one level and under one roof, I believe software companies would be overwhelmed with people applying for them.

I’m sure their first reaction to this is that it would be impossible to police. Well I’ve got news for them! Their current restrictions are impossible to police! If they think that prosecuting a few of their loyal clients who are already struggling in business is going to solve the problem, they’re NUTS. It’s only going to further alienate them from their customers.

As for the illegal use of fonts, why don’t we just lock up the whole printing industry and be done with it. What would their programs be worth then?
My answer to this is to start sending letters to my clients informing them that after a specific date I will no longer be able to accept documents for print containing Adobe fonts. When companies develop a monopoly and misuse it for a short-term gain they create a long-term disaster for both themselves as well as their customers.

I absolutely hate receiving documents that require installing fonts and linking images. The time and effort taken to do this results in a total loss to my business. If Adobe could make Acrobat a simple program to use and supply an easy to follow manual with it, we would never have to install fonts we don’t own.

Get it right fellas. The problems lie with you, not us. You should start looking in your own backyard before prying into ours. Do the right thing by us and you might be surprised by the reaction.

Truce, Amnesty! What a joke! This is software we’re talking about guys, not guns.

Yours disappointedly,
Very Insulted Previously Loyal Client

To the Editor,

As a reply to the last featured letter to the editor (Graphics Online #9), I too agree that as an industry, we are often over charged for under performing software (take Quark XPress as a shining example).

However, we’ve hardly got reason to whinge when you consider that the same software we complain about is the very software that allows us to function and earn a living.

But that doesn’t address the issue of piracy – to be ‘industry compatible’ requires big bucks. As your reader suggests, $20,000 is a good place to start to equip one Mac in one studio. Site licenses allow some savings, but they ‘re mostly a waste of time. Bundle packages are better value, but are still very costly. So what do we do about it?

Perhaps Adobe could once again lead the industry, by introducing rental arrangements for their products. If their ‘Collection’ series, plus a font license, was available on a rental per year/per machine basis, I think they’d find a whole swag of ‘new’ customers.

More designers would seriously consider legitimately ‘owning’ Adobe’s products (than their current customer base) if they felt it was a reasonable price (perhaps some serious suggestions by readers & Adobe?)

Or perhaps we could pay for it in instalments, if rental is not an option. Monthly payments of a couple of hundred dollars are much more acceptable to bank accounts/credit cards/cash flow than $10,000 chunks.

There has to be a simple answer. We’d all like legitimate software – perhaps one of these ideas would allow us to do so.

(Please withhold my details, for obvious reasons!)

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