Adobe Winning a War or Adobe Trying to Make a Paper Canoe

December 10, 2009

Short honk: You will want to read “Amazon’s Kindle Winning Battle, but Adobe Poised to Win E-book War.” * Then * you will want to do some walk throughs of publishers, assuming you can find one that is giving tours and has staff on site. In today’s world 100 of anything is not exactly a crowd that will fill the River Creek Inn here in Harrods Creek. Libraries face some severe budget pressures. Publishers are late to the online game and generally not exactly the best fishermen at Lake Cumberland, also in Kentucky.

In my experience, Adobe’s software is a standard in photo editing and illustration. I am not to thrilled with Adobe’s handling of Framemaker. I use Version 7.2, which is pretty annoying when it tell me I can’t undo an image import, when I can. Versions 8 and 9, in my opinion, rival Venture in the Corel era. Adobe’s Acrobat software, which I supported when I was at Ziff Communications, has become a bloated boatload of code. After more than a decade of “innovation”, it is still not possible to have a PDF kill itself after a specified number of opens.

The notion that 100 libraries and publishers are going to win a battle strikes me as the type of assertion that gets sold to a buyer who has just stepped off a flight from LAX to Auckland, a flight taken without sleep and moderation in the food and drink department.

With content shifting to new types of platforms and different types of information companies sprouting in the fertile field of those born after 1994, I think Adobe is fighting Harvey the Rabbit. Maybe Adobe can see the rabbit, but I can’t. Furthermore, the rabbit is not much of a competitor. Adobe will have its hands full with customers saying no to meaningless upgrades. Adobe will have its hands full with dear old Googzilla who may change course and drive its nuclear power destroyer up to Adobe and blast away. Adobe will have its hands full with next generation information systems, including some “toys” like blogging software, enterprise publishing systems, and data management systems.

Just my opinion. But if you buy this “war” stuff, just load up on Adobe stock and buy your own ocean going vessel. You can get a heck of a deal on a ghost ship anchored off the west coast of England.

Stephen Arnold, December 10, 2009

I wish to disclose to the Government Printing Office, one of the early supporters of XyWrite III+, that I was not paid by anyone to share my views of Adobe’s technical mastery of publishing systems. I wanted to use the word “boat” with “bloat”, but I was not in the mood for rapping.


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