4 Replies Latest reply on Nov 19, 2013 12:32 PM by ThisIsSilly

    Bundling Question


      The fact is that nearly everyone loathes the practice of bundling unwanted software, yet Adobe continues to do it. The justification is, of course, that it off-sets the cost of developing software provided to the public for "free".


      Since the perceived cost to me far outweighs the benefits of this "free" software, I've made efforts professionally (as a software developer) to break away from dependencies on Flash and Reader from Adobe, and similar products such as the Java plug-in from Oracle. To a lesser degree I am steering away from all Adobe software like Photoshop and Illustrator with great alternatives like GIMP and Inkscape because this bundling behavior irks me so.


      What I'd like to hear is that I'm making a mistake because in the long run it's much easier to stick with known technologies as long as they keep up with the times. If Adobe is generating revenue by being a trojan horse for other software every time a major update is done and that revenue is being put back into the software we get for "free", then surely that software is greatly improved and worth sticking with it. Or at least it better be good enough to meet the justification. I would like to see Adobe publish the correlation between the revenue it receives for bundling software and the features they publish.


      The cynical side of me says that it will show very little going into the "free" software, and all that's coming out are bug fixes for security and compatibility. Such things don't hold value to many because it simply means that there's an issue with the technology to begin with. But what I'm hoping for is that there are actually features worth using, that people can appreciate. Is there any evidence for this? Maybe the truth of the matter is simply that the revenue for bundling is so small, it doesn't allow for the resources to do any serious improvements.


      Regardless of how it turns out, I believe that the truth would be good for Adobe. Adobe does no good will to itself by presenting a face that simply doesn't care about the great pains it inflicts on its users by bundling. Unless of course they are pulling in boat-loads of cash and using it to provide more amenities on the executives' yachts...

        • 1. Re: Bundling Question
          Mike M Level 6

          These are facts, NOT a justification for bundling or a "Flame" on your post:


          Adobe Reader, Shockwave, AIR and Flash Player are “freeware”. That means you PAY NOTHING for them.

          Adobe PAYS developers to make & update them and they offer them to the public WITHOUT CHARGE, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That requires server space, bandwidth, and maintenance of files as well as hundreds of links, on dozens of webpages, throughout this site.


          Adobe offsets those costs by including “bundled” software with downloads and updates, for which the third party developers reimburse them on a “per download” basis. You can argue and protest all day long about “corporate greed” and how “Adobe makes enough money from their paid software that they don’t need to do this”, but the facts are: YOU DON’T RUN Adobe (neither do I), and YOU DON’T DECIDE how they make their money or how much is “enough” for them to offer millions of downloads a week worldwide in dozens of languages… for nothing.


          Add to this, Adobe IS NOT the only company that engages in this practice, and it’s NOT something that just started. Oracle systems includes Google Chrome and Google Toolbar with Java, which is a NECESSARY component for Windows, Mac and Linux. VLC Media Player includes AVG Safe Search and AVG Toolbar with their downloads. Roxio Media Creator includes Norton Security Scan with updates, Corel includes McAffee Internet Security with WinDVD updates. Those are just a few examples. This practice has been going on since before Windows XP was released. Failure to notice it before now DOESN’T change that.


          There are Adobe updates that install McAffee with no “opt out”, and they’ve been reported, but if Adobe management’s intention was to remove those updaters, they’ve made no effort to do so to date.


          This is a user-to-user forum, with very limited employee participation, and NO ONE from Adobe management participates here, or even reads these pages, to my knowledge.

              •    Posting angry, inflammatory or profane comments here won’t change the practice.

              •    Threatening to boycott Adobe here won’t change the practice.

              •    Uninstalling all Adobe products on your computer in a juvenile tantrum won’t change the practice.

              •    Threatening frivolous litigation here won’t change the practice.

              •    Personal attacks on other forum members here won’t change the practice.


          There are links to download FULL installers of Reader and Flash Player which are posted hundreds of times every week in these forums. These contain no bundled software, and are easily bookmarked for future reference. Additionally, instructions to disable automatic updates are posted throughout these forums. Utilizing both will allow you to take full control of what you download and install. If manually updating your software is NOT something you choose to do, then you need to accept that the updaters will occasionally (and without warning or opt-out) have something you don’t want, and you’ll have to remove it yourself when it’s installed.

          • 2. Re: Bundling Question
            ThisIsSilly Level 1

            Easy there Mike M, it looks very much like a flame to me. I clearly made a mistake here because I thought that Adobe representatives did monitor these forums, and what I'm asking can really only come from them. I don't decide what Adobe does, but I do decide if I am willing to go along with the scheme. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for some kind of correlation between revenue and product development, but if it's not something they want to disclose then I was hoping that they could provide enough incentive for me to stick with it.


            I understand the costs with providing software without charging for it, costs can add up quick! But from my position if I write software (and maybe I charge for mine) but use one of these "free" technologies as a platform, I am forcing the choice to use it on my users. I can also tell them to manually update their software, provide bookmarks, warn about bundled software... but in the end I can't directly control their actions, nor do I want to. Then inevitably they get junk that they didn't want.


            Then my user has a problem that stems from the unwanted software and they contact me, and this happens often. Do I support this "free" software and keep them happy? Do I tell them that it's not my problem and have them be mostly unhappy? It's lose-lose from my point of view and that's exactly why I keep putting quotes around the word free. Still, I'm not at the point where I'm giving up on it, but I really need to see something new that can make putting up with the bundling worth it. Since the "worth it" is always relative, I would like to see some kind of correlation to help me quantify it.


            Other notes:

            • There's no boycott of Adobe going on here, why would I be asking for reasons to accept Adobe's position with this practice?
            • Instead of a juvenile tantrum, my replacement of Adobe products has been a slow process driven by the bad reputation from this bundling practice, and only when I happen across a qualified replacement. I still have and will continue to have Adobe products until the point that I don't need them anymore.


            I don't think the rest of the tirade merits a response. In case anyone does know... where are the forums or other avenues where Adobe representatives might be found?

            • 3. Re: Bundling Question
              Mike M Level 6

              Not one thing I posted isn't a fact. Sorry if you don't see it that way, but it doesn't change it.


              I personally had a report submitted with step by step screenshots of a "no opt out" install of McAffee, in July, and as I posted, if there was any intention of ending that process or practice, there has been no indication by Adobe that it's going to happen anytime soon. They simply make too much money off of it to let it go, and they have for too long as well. Their alternative is to start charging for downloads and updates, and the uproar over that, would stifle the outcry over bundling by comparison.


              I fix people's computers too, and while this DOES lead them to incur more repair expenses, I've taken to leaving people step-by-step instructions to avoid calling me back for things I've already fixed, and shown them how to avoid repeats of. If they don't follow them, it's just more money in my pocket. I used to feel a bit guilty about going back, but once I started leaving the instructions, that stopped. Fixing problems is one job. Babysitting is another. If I didn't fix it, that's on me, but I get paid for babysitting.


              Adobe has a "wish list/bug report" page (https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform), but I can guarantee they won't see this as a "bug", and the wish request would likely fall on deaf ears, as it isn't in their financial interests. That's just a corporate fact in America today.

              • 4. Re: Bundling Question
                ThisIsSilly Level 1

                I see facts as facts. It's the words chosen and where emphasis is placed that determine the tone.


                This question came about as a direct result of my business model which is, unfortunately, straining with the baggage of my chosen front-end technology. Do I change technology and delve into unfamiliar waters, or do I have a reason to stay? I could try to change the business model, but that would be more disruptive than a complete overhaul of all the code in my situation. I was hoping to get something from Adobe to add something to the side of staying so that it would even the balance out a little. I can say that from here I've learned not to be hopeful.


                Thanks for the feature request link, I'll give it a shot over there.