bynkii (bynkii) wrote,

Could someone please give the Acrobat team a clue?

I'll buy you dinner at a nice place in San Francisco for Macworld if you do.

Once again, the lead evangelist for Acrobat, Lori DeFurio shows how you can be enthusiastic, motivated, a very nice person, and still not have a clue as to why the Mac universe hates Acrobat, even though we love PDF.

Every so often, the Acrobat teams goes through one of its "PDF GENERATED BY ANYTHING BUT ADOBE ACROBAT IS BAD!" spasms. I think most of the world is insightful enough to see that while there is some technical accuracy to this, the truth is, this is just Acrobat marketing spew designed to fearmonger you into buying Acrobat. The latest version is also Lori's latest post designed to show you how only Acrobat can give you real PDF. Lori's not the only one. Rick Boren, who specializes in Acrobat for the legal profession, has a similar post. Now, I'm not going to bother commenting on Lori's blog. There's a variety of reasons behind this, but honestly, it's mostly because I realized that the Acrobat Marketing team, of which both Lori and Rick are a part of, not only have a total lack of caring for Acrobat users on anything but Windows, but also fundamentally don't care about any business that isn't in their definition of Big Enterprise. Oh, I'm sure they might read this and get six kinds of indignant, but as people sometimes say "the proof is in the pudding" and the Acrobat pudding is sour indeed if you're a small business or on the Mac.

I did attempt to post a comment for Rick's post, pointing out how Acrobat is not a good solution for anyone not on Windows. I tried to point this out in a factual, reasonably non-confrontational way. Rick never published that comment. His right, but I can't say I'm surprised. The Acrobat team is not so good with dissent. The fact remains, Acrobat is non-existent on Linux, and on the Mac, its Office integration is still crippled. This lack of functional Office integration is still justified by statements so blatantly false that at this point, I can no longer be nice and say they're misleading. When Adobe says there's no way to improve Acrobat's integration with MS Office on the Mac beyond what it is today, they are lying. No, they are. I have proof that there are in fact, ways to get more information out of Office documents than Adobe claims. Were they to say "We can't do it in the only way we are ever going to try to do it", then they would not be lying. However, that would not allow them to put the blame on Microsoft. Acrobat marketing is not good at being honest with Mac users. Note Adobe's deafening silence on Acrobat support for Office 2008. Anyone care to start that dead pool?

However, yes Rick, there are lawyers who don't use Windows. If you use Linux, well, Adobe's response could be distilled down to "Get a real OS you hippy", and if you're on a Mac, it's "You're lucky you get what we allow you to have". Note: this is ONLY the Acrobat team. The CS team, i.e. Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, etc., have never had this particular "must only care about big enterprise" disease that affects the Acrobat team. From what little I can tell, this isn't even the attitude of the engineers on the Acrobat team. It's pretty much the Marketing team saying this, (and had I not been so sick at Macworld last January, the Acrobat mouthpiece spewing the standard falsehoods would have gotten a rude shock in the form of technical accuracy.) and since the Marketing team makes the decisions, well, the poor suckers who have to buy Acrobat for the Mac pay the same price as the Windows version, but get royally reamed on the feature set.

So let's see here. We should only use Acrobat, a product whose decision-making team has shown, consistently, since at least 2001 or so, that they regard the Mac market as a boil on its ass, instead of PDF making clones, most of which are made by companies, at least on the Mac, show that they care about our needs and appreciate us beyond the money we throw at them. Huh. Now, don't get me wrong, Acrobat is really a solid application, and the full PDF feature set is really damned useful and well designed. But every time I use Acrobat on the Mac, I feel like Pilot-Captain Blackthorne getting pissed on by the local samurai for being a bit too mouthy.

It's not like I haven't tried to talk about this with the Acrobat team. At the WWDC, I tried to set up a meeting with the Acrobat team and some of the Mac enterprise IT people attending that event so that both sides could sit down, and maybe the Acrobat team's decision makers could talk to people they don't think exist, and realize that yes, the Mac market is worth more effort than "as little as possible". Didn't happen. The Acrobat team couldn't be bothered to even show up at a local bar to just sit down and talk. We didn't want to string them up. We wanted to talk to them about how their installers completely fuck up deployment on managed Mac networks, how their first run requirements make setting up deployments of Acrobat and Reader for non-admin users really painful, etc. Yes, there would have been a lot of criticism, but you know what? Microsoft talks to MacEnterprise, Apple does too. But Adobe? way dude. That's not everyone on the Acrobat team. There are a few individuals who do try to do the right thing, but as a group, again, the Acrobat team works very hard to make the Mac market think that they don't matter to the Acrobat team. When the protests from the Acrobat team happen, if they do, I will happily show them all the items that prove my point, and wait for yet another round of stony silence, which may be punctuated by angry muttering.

So while Acrobat is indeed a better way to generate proper PDF, so long as the Acrobat team does its level best to make the Mac OS market feel like some kind of boil on Acrobat's ass, they can just deal with the fact that we're not going to be real thrilled about laying out the price to do it the Acrobat way.

Here's one...maybe, just maybe, if the Acrobat team starts treating the Mac market like a group of valuable customers, maybe we'll start acting that way...

...but don't hold your breath.

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