Is Acrobat Adobe's Greatest Act?

from the not-yet dept

Yesterday I was watching TV and caught a commercial advertising Adobe Acrobat, which got me thinking about why I think they’ve taken the wrong strategy with the product. I was surprised, then, to now see this article from the San Jose Mercury News talking about why Acrobat may be Adobe’s biggest success. I agree with the concept. I think the ability to create electronic documents that (a) always look the same, no matter how someone is viewing it and (b) cannot be changed by the viewer has real value to many people. However, if Adobe really wanted the product to take over the world as the standard way to create and store digital documents, they need to rethink their pricing priorities. While giving away the Acrobat reader makes sense, they’re still charging $300 for the product you need to create pdf files. Sure, plenty of businesses have no problem paying this, but it’s tough to justify a product that costs more than Microsoft Office itself for something that just takes the documents you created in Office, and puts a digital lamination on it. If Adobe really wanted to make pdf files ubiquitous, they should drop the price significantly (down below $30 seems reasonable) and spend time getting all the major computer manufacturers to install it on their default desktops. Of course, if I were Microsoft, I’d probably build my own pdf creator and include it in any version of Microsoft Office. If you want to make your format really ubiquitous, you have to get it out there. Adobe is still holding back because they think they’re making good money selling Acrobat to companies. I think they’re missing the bigger opportunity to offer a system that everyone uses. Plus, by charging as much as they do, they’re begging for competition. Already, there are some companies selling cheap pdf creators, but Adobe dismisses them as “ankle-biters”, saying that only with Adobe’s pdf creator can you assure the quality. Of course, this isn’t a situation where people are signing up for “quality”. They just want to create the documents.

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Comments on “Is Acrobat Adobe's Greatest Act?”

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Michael Ward (profile) says:

Adobe's Acrobat Marketing Strategy

Given that Adobe has just separated the Acrobat creation software line into (1) high-volume and (2) small-operator versions, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them lower the price of the lower-end version to $99 retail / “$0” bundled with a new PC. They make a lot of money off these bundled packages, just because the PC makers sell so many systems.
But, first: They sell it for all the traffic will bear. Later, then, they lower the price and go for volume.
That’s what I’d do, and Bruce Chizen is even smarter than I am.

Michael Ward
Hidden Knowledge

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