Current Currency

"Everything flows!" is the motto of the day when it comes to monetary matters and as much as current means up-to-date, it also means a certain kind of flux. Now in a cruel way that is once more true for Adobe as well, so let me give you the rundown with all the corporate bullshit from the press releases excised.

First they’re trying to increase their inbound flux by sending some people outbound. On some level this was inevitable with the company having acquired quite a few others in recent months, so some redundancies need to be consolidated. Similarly, of course even a moron could guess that the current move towards HTML (5) would mean a not so bright future for Flash in some areas and now here’s the confirmation. As much as people may not want to admit it, this makes perfect sense. Now I’m the last to build a case for all that mobile stuff, as I simply don’t care – I don’t feel the need to be available on my phone for those few hours a day when I’m not on a stationary computer nor do I feel inclined to make service providers even more wealthy by paying their overpriced mobile and "cloud" tariffs – but for a company building tools and services for that it’s of course critical. In the end it becomes a matter of which platforms are easier to support and they can do that better and more efficient by relying on standardized stuff like a browser rather than having to maintain a format which requires its own runtime that they would have to provide on 20 different systems with a multitude of processor architectures. Things like Stage 3D simply won’t run in foreseeable time on mobile devices, anyway. Laying off 750 employees is never a nice move, but after the silly HTML5 vs. Flash war for the last 2 years, it would seem obvious who has won, for better or worse.

Another area where the company is trying to make the money river flow a bit more continually is their upgrade policy or general pricing and licensing for that matter. That one is sure to cause some uproar. In the past it has been possible to "just sit it out" by not upgrading and Adobe were generous enough to allow users to buy the latest versions as upgrades even if their last one was 3 versions back. That sure had some advantages financially and may have helped one or the other in times of crisis, but just as much it resulted in a wild mishmash of versions being out there, which ultimately is what on the best of days makes it difficult to trying to help users on forums. Even I can’t remember all the misbehaviors After Effects had in CS3 now that I have phased it out more or less and naturally, nobody can do anything to get things working in such old versions that only exist today, but nobody could conceive of back then. Also users are getting themselves in trouble many times by attempting to install these old versions on modern operating systems which by themselves have evolved considerably.

So by all rights, hanging on to old versions is a technical hinderance and forcing their users to attain the same version level will allow things to move forward more agressively – no more taking care of supporting outdated file formats to retain compatibility for instance. It will hurt one or the other user, but just as much benefit others. Some more ponderings on that here. Of course this still leaves open the question of the financial strain it may put on users and that’s where it gets dicy. While I’ve always been an advocate of making your software spending part of your budget plan, there are limits as to what one can afford even under the best conditions, especially when you’re not using the programs full time. With 3D programs like Cinema 4D getting updates every year and plug-in suites like Sapphire also, there will be quite some juggling going on. Ultimately, Adobe will find that not as many users as they would like will follow their path and have different priorities to spend their money. As they say in The Matrix – Reloaded: "The problem is choice." and indeed it is….

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