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"What I and most of my colleagues object to is Adobe distributing this plug-in to every Adobe Acrobat and Reader user."

Jul 26, 2007 12:00 AM


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Adobe's decision to include a "Send to Fedex/Kinko’s" button in Acrobat and Adobe Reader 8.1 has drawn protests from the printing industry's leading associations as well as some printers. See http://americanprinter.com/news/syndicate/ NAPL-NAQP-Adobe and http://americanprinter.com/news/syndicate/pia-gatf-adobe-fedexkinkos.

'Let Kinkos do it'

Ken Chaletzky, president of Copy General Corp. (Dulles VA), copied AMERICAN PRINTER on his correspondence with Adobe: "I have no problem with Kinko's having this plug-in," writes Chaletzky. "I don't even have a problem with Adobe having created this plug-in. What I, and most of my colleagues, object to is Adobe distributing this plug-in to every Adobe Acrobat and Reader user.

"If this was done truly to benefit 'customers who already are printing and shipping through FedEx/Kinko's' [as Adobe says], then it should have been up to Kinko's to distribute this plug-in to their customers, rather than for Adobe to distribute it to everyone else's customers.

"Adobe's response to this fiasco is obvious. Adobe should immediately issue yet another update that will remove this addition to the program[s] and let FedEx/Kinko's distribute it to their clients that want it."

Readers have chimed in with numerous comments on this issue (see below).

If you'd like to share your thoughts with your fellow printers on this topic, please send your comments to APeditor@americanprinter.com. Please include your full name and company affiliation.

Comments unanimously against the deal

“As soon as we were aware of the Link, I issued an order to all my departments to discontinue all relationships with Kinko's. And we do a lot of business with the local office.” Michael Hosey, Owner, Wholesale Print

“In response to the Adobe/FedEx Kinko’s issue, I feel that this is a total INSULT to an industry that is a huge supporting customer of FedEx and Adobe. This gives FedEx/Kinko's an unfair advantage to small printers. The last I heard, eighty percent of the printing & graphics industry is made up of small entrepreneur's (10 or fewer employees), therefore the ability for all users of Adobe PDF, etc. is unethical as well as being an unfair business advantage to myself and all small printers. Graphic Imaging, Inc. is a family owned & operated business with seven employees.” Richard Burnham, president, Graphic Imaging, Inc. (Baltimore)

“I am strictly an Adobe Product user. I will make the investment to changeover to another product if necessary.” [name withheld] Park Place Printing (Boardman, OH)

“As a small print and copy shop, I could not agree with you more.” Don Phillips, 18th Ave. Copy and Print (Eugene, OR)

“Bundled software doesn't sit well with many people I know. Even a plug-in to remove is sketchy at best. The plug-in should have been optional. Sounds like Microsoft Internet Explorer/AOL. They are like impossible to remove entirely without causing other issues in the system.” Ray Fusco, vice president, Estimating and Planning, RedmondBCMS, Inc. (Denville, NJ)

“In all my years in the printing industry, I have never seen an alliance of this nature made before. Plug-ins should be up to the individual company as to whether they should be installed. Does Adobe think that they have gotten so big that they can do whatever they want? This will give Adobe much more bad publicity than good.” Mark Strickler, Tri-Lon Color Graphics (New York)

“Printers using Adobe Acrobat and other Adobe products should file suit against Adobe for possible antitrust or restraint of trade and maybe a few other things. I can't believe that after all the printers spent their money on Adobe's products over the years and kept them in business that they have the effrontery to do this.” W.L. Logsdon, Craftsman Printing, Inc.

“Absolutely wrong for Adobe to do this. I, too, am a customer of Adobe, but Kinko's is my competitor. Either remove FedEx/Kinkos or put ALL of us on Adobe 8.1 and give us equal footing. If Adobe fails to remove, maybe I need to remove myself as an Adobe customer and look for alternative software.” Steve Zweig, Copymat (Redwood City, CA)

“I think its awful. Adobe is promoting one printer over all the rest of us.” Dave Freepons, Press Craft Inc.

“I think Adobe needs to release Acrobat 8.2 without this printing link, and stop distributing Reader with the button. I would have no problem with Adobe or Kinko’s developing a plug-in to be distributed by Kinko’s to their interested customers.” Larry Grohman, Sir Speedy Printing (North Richland Hills,TX)

“As an independent printer, I'm not sure I want to buy software from a company who links to my competition in their software. To put it bluntly, it pisses me off. How about a link to me also? No, I didn't think so.” Chuck Gross, Braswell Printing (Kerrville, TX)

“Johnny Loiacono of Adobe states in his letter following the meeting on July 17th: ‘Adobe informed print providers concerned about exposing their customers to a competitive solution that there has always been a way for users to remove the button.’ Wouldn't it make more sense (and sensitivity) for Adobe to provide a means for users to insert that information as an option (for whichever printer they prefer), instead? Defaulting to FedEx/Kinkos is a major endorsement from a company which Adobe will have no control over the partnership and whether it works efficiently and to the benefit of the customer. Why would they want that? Sonya Hughes, Owner, Legends Printing & Graphics, Inc. (Dodge City, KS)

“The link to Kinko's which Adobe put it their software is a major Breach of Trust with all the print service providers who have supported and used Adobe software over the years. This was no quick decision by Adobe, it takes time to cut a deal like that, lots of time in the contemplating and planning stage then more time to program it into their software. And during all that time, no hint to any of us users. I think what gets us printers is that Adobe has built their relationship with us as our reliable, trusted source for many years and Adobe goes and does something we perceive as extremely underhanded. Adobe gets my nomination for worst boardroom decision of the century.” Bill Marsh, Maui Print Works (Wailuku, HI)

“I think the printers associations should initiate a anti-trust (class action?) suit against Adobe ASAP. Can this be looked into?” Bob Schwartz, J&J Printers, Inc.

“Adobe is nuts for risking the ire of printers everywhere. This is just a new case of ‘we have the money and we want more of it.’ If we could we would only ship UPS, which we do at every occasion possible. If only Quark had the full suite of services.” Don Krueger, Aztec Printing

“Kinko's has 1600+ stores but don't be impressed. By offering this ‘button for cash deal’ Adobe has spit in the face of more than 36,000 of its heretofore loyal independent and franchise print shop software users. There is furor in the print industry. ... Chizen posted a soft apology on the Adobe Partners website but it has already backfired. Print shops by the tens of thousands must now consider boycotting Adobe software license renewals. Some industry leaders have already begun to sell Adobe stock short. This is very serious business for the independent printer. Adobe has arrogantly favored one single customer over 36,000 others by having Acrobat Reader direct printing business to Kinko's on an exclusive basis. Adobe may be in big trouble. The news should be full out within the month no matter how hard Adobe tries to keep it under wraps.” George Croft, The Print Shoppe, Inc. (Dallas)

“I am outraged. The Kinko-Adobe marriage is a disgrace to all small printers who have supported Adobe products though the years. They are monopolizing, in effect by way of blatant suggesting, that consumers have their end product produced at Kinkos. This is a slap in the face to all struggling small printers, such as myself.” Melanie Noblin, Owner, Peninsula Printing (Soldotna, AK)

“It is not Adobe's job to sell printing for Kinko’s and try their best to take it away from all their other customers. As a long, long time customer of Adobe, An Adobe Service Provider, etc. I can't tell you how disappointed I am that Adobe would do something so stupid. What an insult to the entire community of printers and print buyers. Adobe's response has been so inept as to be even more of an insult. What on earth are they thinking? Recall Acrobat 8.1. Would you just leave cyanide-laced Tylenol on the shelf?” Dan Huntingford, SOS Printing (Port Townsend, WA)

“I agree 100 percent with Mr. Chaletzky. If there was any validity to Adobe’s statement about the button being for ‘customers who are already printing and shipping through FedEx/Kinko’s’ then it should be up to Kinko’s to distribute the product.” Larry Gershon, Digital Ink (San Carlos, CA)

“This advisory committee sure looks to me like small town politics. ie. We (the elected politicians) made a stupid decision - now let’s go out and figure out a way that we can make it appear as though it is the folks that made the decision. I've always liked Fedex, Kinko's and Adobe. It sure is time to re-think! I sure will be advising my clients to do the same.” Gary Larivee, President, KCW Associates

“I agree totally with Ken Chaletzky of Copy General – it should be up to FedEx/Kinko’s to distribute the link to their customers. And furthermore, it should only go to their customers who actually want and request it. The explanation from Adobe that it was only for that group of users is ridiculous at best, unbelievable in fact, and insulting to our intelligence at worst. It’s just for Kinko’s customers, but everyone who gets the software has to have it – even if they don’t use it or want it – and if they want a link to another company, that’s tough bananas, ‘cause we don’t offer it. Huh? Of course, “another company” might be able to get a similar link, as long as they’re willing to pony up bigger bucks than Kinko’s did. You can’t sweep this one under the rug and hope we didn’t see it, Adobe – we’re not simpletons out here. We know why you did it – and we’re not happy about it. Now that’s an example of a straightforward and honest statement, unlike the Adobe statement. In fact, the FedEx/Kinko’s statement was a least truthful – Richard Maranville, senior vice president and chief information officer, said, ‘The partnership is aimed at making it more convenient for Adobe software users, many of them small and midsize businesses, to get documents printed.’ Note that he said it was aimed at ‘Adobe software users’ – not just ‘Adobe software users who are already loyal FedEx/Kinko’s customers and want an easier way to get work to us.’” Curtis Stoddard, Manager, Print Procurement Group, SUPERVALU Strategic Sourcing (Boise, ID)

“In my view Adobe should distribute a plug-in for all printers wanting a plug-in at some reasonable fee level. I realize FedEx has tremendous power. FedEx was able to get US interstate 70 moved in Indianapolis so they could expand their operation! Hopefully they won’t buy Adobe like they did Kinko’s. John Griner, President, Griner Engineering Inc. (Bloomington, IN)

“Here is a letter I sent to Adobe July 18, 2007, explaining my disgust: This under the table after hours deal with the devil reminds me of Xerox thinking they could set up their own copy shops (XRC) to compete with the very folks who use their machines. That did not work either. Didn't your mom ever tell you that you do not bite the hand that feeds you? I will consider NOT renewing my ASN membership when it comes up for renewal and begin looking for alternatives. Honestly, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!” Charles Lincoln, ADVANCE PRINTING COMPANY (Fairbanks, AK)

“I couldn't be in greater agreement with Ken Chaletzky of Copy General Corp. As I said in my e-mail (copied via snail-mail) today to Bruce Chizen, Adobe's CEO: ‘If it bothers you that customers and potential customers think [that Adobe's actions demonstrate that it is is arrogant and uncaring], you need to...admit to yourself and everybody else that your motives for having done it [installed the Kinko's links] were monetary, not an altruist attempt to make things easier for current Kinko's users. If the latter were true, no contract would have been necessary, and nobody smart enough to buy your software is being fooled to the contrary. Because it insults the intelligence of its recipients, the "altruist motivation" explanation is further damaging you. [You also need to] do what you'd want one of your own vendors to do if something like this had occurred to you, and I'm guessing that you'd want that vendor to apologize profusely (which you've done to some degree) and to rectify the problem immediately (which you have not done). [And you need to] change your corporate focus to one that is solely having extremely happy (i.e., nearly certain repeat) customers (it really is that simple). We will neither be renewing as an Adobe Service Provider, buying any of your software, nor recommending your software's use to our customers until the Kinko's links have been removed.’" Dan Lipford, CEO, Sir Speedy Printing Center (Hollywood, FL)

“I think it would be terrific if your publication could help lead some sort of petition warning Adobe that their other products may not be purchased by printers if they continue down their current path. Once upon a time, Quark was the industry standard. They got cocky and now InDesign is in the lead. But moves like this with FedEx/Kinkos are not well received by printers around the country and will most-likely yield retribution. Thank you. I'm serious when I say we will begin eagerly seeking out any and all available alternatives to Adobe products if this type of effort continues. I always believed you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you. Sometimes it will bite you back! We have 120 employees and use many Adobe products. So we are "feeding" Adobe quite nicely. This kind of underhanded behavior is simply disgraceful.” Greg Warner, Todd Allan Printing

“The first time I noticed that I wondered where it came from. I did not remember actively selecting it to be installed. But that’s no different than the toolbars that seem to always install themselves on IE and are really hard to get rid of. If given a proper explanation and choice the answer to install this would be no for us and I think for most users. While FedEx/Kinko’s does have some small market share, the Office Depot/UPS and Staples/UPS and Office Max/UPS options are more convenient and less costly for most users of those services. (Unless you really have to do copying, etc. in the middle of the night.) But where are their plug-ins? Even Microsoft, that got away with installing IE on every Windows desktop, gave you multiple options for ISPs to use.

“The thing is we would never send any work to Kinko’s. We do our own printing and would not use them for copying since their prices are so much higher than anyone else’s even for large volumes. Why would I want that “plug-in” plugged into my program? However small it is, it takes up system resources. And like so many other software companies Adobe is acting like their application is the only one installed and using resources on my system. Every time we add more memory and get faster processors in our systems, the application software just hogs the resources and we get no more performance than we did 10 years ago. But we do have lots of neat widgets, gadgets, plug-ins, add-ons, enhanced feature sets, etc. that we really don’t need to do our job.

“I believe we produce higher quality work than Kinko’s and for a better price. Since we have customers in and regularly ship to all 50 states I think we can fairly compete with Kinko’s on price, quality and performance for printing. We are just as close to customers desktops as they are. But we were never given an opportunity to have Adobe develop a plug-in for us that they would install with the applications. Or even the opportunity to develop it ourselves and supply them with it. I don’t know if the “big” players in this market had the chance, but I doubt Office Depot, Staples, Office Max, Sir Speedy, Minuteman Press, PIP, and the others in that group would have not jumped at the chance.

“To me this is just an unfair and anticompetitive alliance Adobe has made to line its own pockets even more. Since we are all very dependent on Adobe products of one form or another, they have gained enough market penetration to have more or less a monopoly for what they supply. That is not to say there are not other products out there that do many of the same things. But just like with Windows and Mac OS (to a lesser extent) there are not viable options that you want to bet your business on.

“Either Adobe did not think this through or just decided that the return they get will be worth the price they have to pay. Either way, to me it was a bad corporate decision. I think the best remedy is to ask them to voluntarily remove this and if they do not see it that way then as a class other printers should ask for judicial relief. I would be happy to join either effort. Walter Loughney, Rx Data Systems, Inc.

“I don’t like Kinko’s. Remove it or remove Adobe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Jesus Avila

“I am angered and disappointed that Adobe has had the arrogance to cut a deal with one relatively small market segment (FedEx/Kinko's) that effectively excludes the vast majority of their professional user base. The obvious motivator in this deal is quick and easy money.

“It would seem to me that Adobe could have created a system whereby any printer could 'Private Brand' a special copy of Acrobat Reader to distribute to his clients. Unfortunately, Adobe took the quick money route with the FedEx/Kinko's deal rather than invest in the R & D necessary to provide a customizable, scalable system that would put all users on a level playing field.

“In recent years, many printers, myself included, have moved away from the former page layout leader, Quark Xpress, in favor of Adobe products. Quark has been known for poor customer service and a rather arrogant attitude towards its users. Now Adobe seems to be following in Quarks footsteps by making this poor business decision.

“For the time being, I'm going to refrain from recommending Adobe products to my clients. I sincerely hope Adobe understands their faux pas and takes the steps necessary to improve confidence by their graphic arts users.” Russ Peters, MOBILE PRINT, INC. (Mount Prospect, IL)

“Why would Adobe want to risk their reputation by aligning themselves with Kinko's? Whenever a customer has an unpleasant experience using the Adobe/Kinko button it will reflect poorly on Adobe. For this reason alone Adobe should be reconsidering this decision AND the job of the executive who signed off on the idea.” Richard Koh, www.Royal-Press.com

“For years I have pushed Adobe software with my clients, encouraging them to give me pdfs, encouraging them to expand their own capabilities when trying to create files for us to output, whether on the press, or digital color or black and white. This is like a spit in the face at all of us who have long held a belief in the superiority of Adobe -- but are NOT Kinkos. Recognition of this gross error in judgment on the part of Adobe should come in the form of an immediate release of a new version of Reader and Acrobat which removes this link.” Peggy Carr, Sir Speedy Printing Center (Rockville, MD)

“Completely unfair to the printing industry. Let FedEx send their connection button, not Adobe. How do I replace the FedEx button with mine? Will Adobe program the change? I would say get it back the way it was, please.” Ivan Cleaver, Printing Associates (Reno, NV)

“I'm a small printer that struggles with the low balling prices on the Internet. Small jobs like business cards etc. They'll probably give the jobs away for no cost and a car just to keep the presses rolling from their over the head purchases of equipment. Now we have a monopoly situation between two factions that should stay separate in their fields. This would really put a lot of pressure on the small printer. Please make lots of noise for us 1-25 man shops, please.” John Patane, Patane Press, Inc. (New York)

“The dubious quality (you never know what you are going to get) along with the pricing structure of our local Fed Ex/Kinko's helps keep us in business. Not only are our prices lower, we are actual PRINTERs who know what they are doing with regards to Paper & Ink (or toner), not bored high school students who are sometimes unsure where the "On" button is. Adobe should add to their software a customizable button for ALL printers & Copy Shops whose customer base would like to send their jobs to professionals - not the K-Mart of the industry.” Elaine McCoy, President, Terramar Graphics, Inc. (Moorpark, CA)

“I agree 100 percent with Mr. Chaletzky. Adobe made a mistake; let’s hope they fix it and fix it quick.” Brenda Rich, Executive Printing Services (Farmington Hills, MI)

“Being an Adobe print provider partner for many years I feel that this is a mistake. Why Kinko’s? What about their other partners that have been with them for years. I would like to see a consolidated effort from all that feel they may be affected to put enough pressure on Adobe to reconsider this agreement. I think that if they heard the same message from opponents in mass numbers it may help.” Frank Lane, President, LANE PRINTING & ADVERTISING (Holbrook, MA)

“It is not just printers who should be concerned about Adobe’s preferential treatment of Kinko’s. In-plant printers, purchasing professionals, and designers all have a stake in selecting the vendor best suited for a particular job. For Adobe to place one vendor at the head of the line is to potentially interfere with business decisions at several levels.

“I would not be surprised to see the printing community put a purchasing freeze on Adobe products and upgrades until this situation is rectified. The Federal Trade Commission may also investigate the Adobe/Kinko’s relationship for possible restraint of trade violations. Congressman Waxman advised me that he was looking into it. As an Adobe stockholder, I would urge Adobe management to take immediate action.” Ed Corridori, CR Print (Westlake Village, CA)

“[This] is an e-mail I sent to our Adobe print feedback portal. As I anxiously await a response, I thought I would share its contents with you: ‘For the last few years pdf files have been my main solution for clients of ours to submit files for print. I seriously have to reconsider this strategy with your recent addition of Send to Fedex/Kinkos in the file menu. I would think Adobe would be more impartial as to not choose to give an outrageously unfair advantage such as this to just one member of the print-for-pay community. I would hope by your next revision you would either remove this feature from the File menu, or let the members of the print community know how we can apply to Adobe to have our name included in the file menu. I would like to submit an application for a "Send to All American Printing" link in the file menu. That would put us back on an even footing with our competition and show Adobe offers no favoritism to a portion of the print community.’” Bill Ferinde, Prepress Manager, All American Printing, Inc., member of PIA/GATF, PIVA and Adobe Service Provider Program

“I agree with Ken Chaletzky, president of Copy General Corp. Adobe should have made this available as a plug-in and not a general distribution to all Adobe users. I view this as Adobe somehow got swindled into this by FedEx. My guess is a kickback of all those who push the little button. As a result of this activity we are archiving FedEx to the back of the shipping options and giving UPS and US Post Office priority. We are currently seeking alternatives to using PDFs to include tasking our programmer to create an alternative “free” digital alternative to the Adobe method. If FedEx and Adobe want to play this game they can go play it on their own field. For the printing industry this is a slap in the face for being faithful to Adobe. I think most printers will agree that most of their businesses are treated with respect and dignity and are first class. FedEx Kinko’s is nothing more than the McDonalds drive thru equivalent of the printing industry full of amateurs and sloppy operators.” Brian Murray, Xerographic Digital Printing (Orlando, FL)

“This is another reason to hate Adobe. They cater to the big corporations, yet they forget the small guy spends with them too. I may not buy hundreds of their programs, but my money is as good as FedEx dollars.” Mike Kozub, Owner, CAS Ink, Inc.

“The only acceptable thing Adobe can do is remove the link. This is the most bone-headed business move that they have ever made. I will not be renewing my ASN membership if they fail to do so.” Dennis W. Ewing Sr, Ewing and Sons Printing (San Antonio)

“Adobe should certainly remove its plug-in and leave it up to Kinkos to redistribute the plug-in. Commercial printers should stop using FedEx (close their accounts) for shipping to make a statement about FedEx trying to usurp their market. Use a state / local service (California Overnight, DHL) instead.” Mike Djubasak, President, Rapid Printers of Monterey (Monterey, CA)

“That creates a very unfair advantage for Kinko's and a disadvantage for small independent printers. Why can’t I do the same for my clients?” Barbara Murphy, Copies Now (Westfield, NJ)

“I agree that the plug-in for Kinko's should be distributed through Kinko's only. What was Adobe thinking?” Holly Combs, Combs Printing & Advertising (Mariposa, CA)

“I find that I use FedEx less and UPS more since they elected to partner with Kinkos. Likewise, I will exhibit bias away from Adobe.” Chad Morris, Morris Print Management, Inc. (Berwyn, PA)