Firstly, to all those at Adobe who are being laid off I want to say thank you for all your hard work. With a special thank you to Mike Downey who I pretty much consider the guy who ‘made’ the Flash platform what it is and helped get the community behind the technology. I have used Adobe products daily for many years now and owe a lot of my skills and career to their tools enabling me to do what I do.
So I read somewhere (probably numerous places on RSS feeds) that Adobe blames the lower than expected sales of Creative Suite 4 for the layoffs. Honestly, I can believe that but don’t blame the workers for the marketing department demands. The simple fact is that like the other big software vendors there seems to be a perceived need to release a new version every year (in this case more than 12 months but less than 2 years) regardless of the demand or feature completion.
I have brought the CS4 upgrade, but not because I have a desire to do so, more because of the way older versions like Camera Raw are immediately dropped from the update plan. Understand that I do like many of the new features as my previous posts would show but it is not like I would have to stop work tomorrow if CS4 did not exist.
I consider the following to be reasons why CS4 sales are lower than expected.
1. Economy, that is a given.
2. Price, the Creative Suite is at best $599 for an upgrade.
3. The products are mature and it is harder to put those ‘must have’ features in.
4. Is there really a need for so many versions? Did you not learn from Microsoft and the X versions of Vista disaster. Make the product line simple for people to choose from, two versions are only really needed, web or print.
5. Take 2 or 3 years between releases and really do something impressive rather than just putting in features that made the yearly deadline and make people feel like the price tag is worth the upgrade.
At the end of the day I think software vendors have to learn that people won’t just buy something because they made it (Vista being the perfect example), people are a lot smarter than they used to be and ask themselves if they really need it or if the price tag is worth it.