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September 24, 2007

Adobe Walls, as blank as bricks?

Filed under: Adobe,corporate Responsibility,Ingram Micro,Wipro — Vickram Crishna @ 5:47 pm

I have a view on the purpose and effectiveness of branding: I believe it can add value.

However, it can only do that if the corporate environment is conducive, and quite often, it just ain’t so.

Something that caused a stir in India recently was the subject of Open Document publishing, the use of globally accepted standards for published documents. One software major has been keen to establish its imprimatur in this area, but was rebuffed by voting countries, who are said to prefer a competing standard in Open Source.

The whole controversy made me think that perhaps there is something to be said about ‘market’ forces, when they do not fall into convenient slots. The very visibility of global majors should make their customers and other stakeholders benefit from the exercise of supporting their proprietary file formats and related tech information, yet this is not axiomatic. Here’s an example.

A globally prestigious, but poorly funded journal, published from Mumbai, India, has bought legally supported hardware and software, and found itself out of pocket, and out of support, at the same time.

The text that follows is from a friend, the editor. I have deleted from it the name of "The Journal", and nothing else.

The players in the case are Wipro,

reputation sags,

an excellently branded company from India, Ingram Micro,

Ingram - microsizing a global brand,

well known MNC equipment vendor, and Adobe

blank walls,

whose software is exceedingly well known in several areas pertaining to media and publishing.

The behaviour of these companies with the customer (who is clearly not financially strong enough to challenge their shoddy service through legal means), is nothing short of callous and incompetent.

Read on:


The issue in brief is as follows:

   1.    In June, "The Journal", Mumbai, placed an order for both hardware and software for its offices with Wipro.
The software order included purchase of (a) Adobe Indesign – 4 licences and (b) Adobe Creative Suite Standard – 2 licences. Wipro, in turn, placed the order for software through the reseller Ingram Micro
Media Pvt Ltd, S G Business Centre, #12, New Hosur Road, Wilson Garden, Bangalore 560027.
      There is a problem with the second part of the order.
   2.The two software packages were received in July 30/July 31 but installation began only in mid August after the hardware was delivered. On beginning to install the software "The Journal" realised there was an error with one part of its order for Adobe software. "The Journal" needed Creative Suite Design Standard, but instead it had been provided Creative Suite Web Standard. This software was not installed and the original software case too was not opened.
   3.The error was partly that of "The Journal". The initial request for an invoice mentioned "Creative Suite Standard" -- 2 licences. It did not mention Creative Suite Design Standard, as it should have. The subsequent invoice from the reseller, via Wipro, did mention Web Standard and "The Journal" erred in not carefully checking the product specs before formally placing the purchase order. However, if the reseller had checked with "The Journal" if we needed the Design or Web Standard version of Creative Suite, we would have realised our incomplete order and made the appropriate correction.
   4."The Journal" needs the Design Standard version because it contains (i) Indesign, (ii) Photoshop and (iii) Illustrator, all programs required for our production process. The Web Standard version contains none of
the above and what it does contain is not of any help to us because we are essentially a print publisher.
   5.I am writing to you to ask if Adobe can exchange the CS3 Web Standard (2 licences) for CS3 Design Standard (2 licences). We would be willing to pay for any difference that may arise. We have been provided the licence keys, but as I mentioned we have not installed the software on any machine (which can be confirmed by the fact that we have not registered the product) and the CD is in its original wrapping.
   6.I realise that this is an unusual request, but we seek the support of Adobe and the reseller in this matter. As you are aware, we are a registered Charitable Trust bringing out a globally respected and independent publication. With limited resources we have been able to put together an order for 6 different licences for 2 Adobe products. It would be impossible for us to buy afresh CS Design
Standard, which we do need. As I said earlier the CS Web Standard is of no use for us. The cost of the two licences for the latter do add up to what for us is a considerable sum.

However, I hope Adobe and the reseller would consider our request favourably, since we are a serious consumer which has already purchased 4 licences of Indesign. As we increase our circulation and
the Economic and Political Weekly diversifies into new forms of publishing, we do see the need for more licences in the near future of both these and other Adobe products.


What does it take for such internationally well reputed companies to back up their claims to being responsible vendors? I really do hope that better sense will prevail soon.

But I wonder, should I hold my breath?



  1. It should be simple enough for them to arrange for these to be exchanged. It could possibly involve a small charge – shipping charges – but other than that I don’t see the problem other than a huge bureacracy that does not think that the customer is king.

    Here is a journal which is using licensed software, wants to respect IPR, is also a charitable trust. I would think Adobe Systems and Wipro would want to encourage this sort of thing instead of trying to make it more difficult for them.

    Comment by Jehan — September 26, 2007 @ 2:50 am | Reply

  2. Ever since the brand claim war hotted up about 10 years ago, which includes ‘computer’ products as well as domain names etc, I have been shuddering to think what we would have for a world if Boole, D’Morgan and Ohm had declared proprietary rights on their laws.

    Your school/you would have shelled out huge sums of money to learn about basic switching of electricity. God forbid, if you had a problem with those fundas, you would have called their support cell, which would have in turn asked you to refer the support website, containing a glossary and basic examples. Should your query fall beyond them, you would be asked to call the same numbers you did in the first place!

    Comment by udit c — October 26, 2007 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

  3. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

    Comment by Idetrorce — December 15, 2007 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  4. Jehan – If companies did not tie themselves up in knots over specious value additions created in so-called ‘IPR’, even the shipping charges may not have hampered the delivery of the right software. What happened to ‘meeting the customer’s expectations’, ‘know your customer’ and ‘customer delight’? Quality is not a badge to be brandished at 5-star conventions, it is proven in the marketplace.

    Udit – poor design of fault recording and response systems is not an excuse for shoddy selling.

    Idetrorce – who (which post – the original or the follow-up comments) don’t you agree with, and why?

    Comment by Vickram Crishna — December 16, 2007 @ 11:54 am | Reply

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