Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Seven and a half hours

Seven and a half freakin’ hours to install an update to Adobe Creative Suite. This is on top of the hour I spent the other day just getting to the point of deciding to buy the update. FedEx dropped off the package late yesterday afternoon.
  1. Reboot. Open package. Look for installation instructions (none). Open DVD case. Look for installation instructions (none). Pop the unnumbered DVD labeled “Application” into the drive. Wait for the autorun popup. Click Install. Watch progress bar. Wait one hour.
  2. Acrobat 8 failed to install. Cross fingers and try installing again. Wait another hour. Same failure.
We’re up to two hours now. But Adobe Technical Support wouldn’t be open until 9 a.m. my time today, so get some sleep.
  1. Call Adobe Technical Support at 9:01. Get right through. That Chris, he’s a helluva guy. Two hours on the phone with Chris because you cannot simply uninstall Acrobat like any normal program by clicking a button. No. After clicking the button, you have to dig through approximately seventy gazillion folders to delete individual files, some of which refuse to be deleted, even after rebooting in a special mode that’s supposed to let you; and then you have to dig through the registry, deleting many, many keys scattered throughout.
  2. Bye, Chris (11 a.m.). Try installing Creative Suite 3 again. One hour. Successful install.
  3. Start one of the updated applications. Check adobe.com for updates. Download and install updates. One hour and thirty-nine minutes.
  4. Call Adobe Customer Support and raise holy hell. Demand compensation in the form of free fonts or free software. Speak with three people who swear they can’t do that and a fourth who offers me a book on getting started with Adobe applications (after I told her I’ve been using their software for over twenty years) and then reconsiders when my pitch rises. She thinks maybe she can send me some fonts I want. Fifty-one minutes.
Total: Seven and a half hours. We’ll see if the freebie materializes (I’ll let you know).

This is not the first time. It is, instead, fairly typical.

Most software companies take responsibility for their own errors and offer some sort of maintenance plan that, in exchange for a modest annual fee, entitles the customer to free updates. Adobe takes the approach that anything that goes wrong is the customer’s fault and if Adobe makes a mistake, the customer has to pay for it.

That’s not a long-term strategy for customer satisfaction.


Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

I feel your pain.

Adobe doesn't have any real competition, so it's complacent as hell. That attitude was what lost Norton AntiVirus its position as the leader of its niche.

Anonymous said...

What's my problem? I have yet to encounter any difficulties in installing or upgrading any Adobe products. Most recently, this involved moving from CS2 to CS3. For some time there, I had Acrobat (professional, for whatever difference that makes) as a separate installation. Complacent? Hum. Well, for self, I don't consider Adobe complacent. I talk to them often enough for one reason or another. Complacent. Not an adjective that springs to mind for Adobe. Just to say that we all have different experiences.

Anonymous said...

I’ve always liked dealing with Adobe. They seem to respond quickly with good info, whether it’s about the best upgrade I’m available for or recovering a serial number lost in a house move. Their throw-ins of font collections on software CDs is a blessing, too.

That said, I wonder if, eventually, Adobe will turn out to be the scary monopoly we’ve learned to fear that Microsoft is.