If you’ve purchased the boxed version of Adobe Captivate 6 or the eLearning Suite 6, you probably didn’t realize that Adobe was going to withhold critical updates and bug fixes from you unless you were a subscription customer, or a company with an ASA plan (Adobe Software Assurance). In fact, this change in “policy” was done in the middle of current release and surprised many loyal paying customers:
How Do You Get The Update?
You’ll need to fork over more money. If you’re a corporate or educational customer, you’ll need to purchase an additional ASA plan. If you’re an individual or small business who purchased the boxed version… you’ll need to re-purchase under the subscription plan. There is currently no way for someone who purchased the boxed version to convert to a subscription plan without re-purchasing.
Adobe’s Bait & Switch Tactics
When users purchased the boxed version, no where did it say that critical updates and bug fixes would be withheld from these customers. But Adobe carefully changed their phrasing from “patch” or “update” to what they’re marketing as “early access release” to new features. Unfortunately, it’s not just new features, but critical bug fixes as well which leaves many existing customers in the dark.
Can They Get Away With This?
Legally speaking… yes. Remember that license agreement you glazed over when you installed Captivate? In section 5 under “Updates” it reads:
Additional Updates may be licensed to Customer by Adobe with additional or different terms.
Translation? You’re SCREWED! You’ve been duped by Adobe’s sleazy car salesman!
Customers walk away from a product either because a promise was not fulfilled or the product did not match initial perception. Adobe failed us on both accounts. It is certainly to Adobe’s benefit to manage the perception of the Captivate brand and to meet or exceed those expectations. But the bottom line is THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU! The number of customers affected was negligible and they took the gamble.
But there’s more ramifications than just pissed-off customers:
- Trust: People will not continue buy from a company they can’t trust. Articulate Storyline is Adobe Captivate’s main competitor and people are already making the move to a company they can trust. For customers who stay with Adobe, they’ll be more reluctant to purchase in the future knowing that Adobe now has a track record of changing the terms half-way into the game. Think your subscription cost won’t go up? Thank again!
- eLearning Businesses: Will no longer be able to support customers with “Legacy” versions of Captivate if they go on the subscription plan. Have a customer who has a box version Captivate 6.0 and you’re on subscription Captivate v. 7.x? Sorry… you either turn down the business or tell the customer to upgrade.
- Widget Developers: Are in the same boat as eLearning Businesses. In addition, they have to ensure that their widgets work with the latest release. This forces Widget Developers onto the subscription plan… yet unable to support customers who have legacy versions of Captivate.
- Government or Educational Customers: Some laws and regulations prohibit month-to-month subscription based licensing. These customers are out of luck.
How Adobe Can Make This Better
It’s simple: Provide a path that would allow existing box customers to become subscription customers. Since box customers already paid in full… why not give them the option to “convert” their account to subscription giving them the first year free (It’s not really free since they already initially paid up front).
Allow Government and Educational entities to pay for a year of “subscription” licensing up front. This would alleviate the laws that prohibit month-to-month subscription fees.
For The Record
Adobe should have waited till the initial 7.0 release to impose these changes. Doing it half-way into a current release was really bad PR. If Adobe truly cared, they could make this right. Only time will tell.
What Do You Think?
Drop a comment and voice your opinion. We’d love to hear how this impacts you. There’s also more conversations going on at LinkedIn, Adobe Captivate Blog, LinkedIn Announcement, Adobe Captivate Forums.