First and foremost, I am not targeting Adobe as a company, but rather their decision to abruptly end the InContext Editing content management service. It is evident by the recent uproar in their own forum that many people feel misled, deceived, or otherwise disenchanted by this announcement — an announcement that will ultimately leave thousands of designers without a reasonably-priced content management solution for their clients.
To give you an idea of what some people are saying, here are some actual quotes from Adobe InContext users:
“The only reason I bought Dreamweaver CS4 was because of InContext.”
“Unreal, we [...] purchased DreamWeaver CS4 because of the supposed “included” content manager InContext.”
“Today I made a decision for the company. We will no longer publish ANY pages for use with InContext Editing.”
“InContext is a great idea, but the price should be already included into [DreamWeaver's] price. This is where it is starting to become a little evil.”
“As creative suite owner i expected InContext Editing to come as a bonus.”
“If Adobe chooses to charge for InContext, I definitely will have to drop it.”
“There are other options out there I’m not afraid to use, since I don’t want to be nickeled and dimed to death!”
“People are upset that they paid x-amount of dollars for Dreamweaver and will be charged an extra fee to use InContext.”
“Is this bait and switch? Adobe has come down a notch in their reputation IMO.”
Those are all from the first page. In fact, there are hundreds of other posts on the same topic, many of which reaffirm these same points. Amidst all of the confusion, however, one thing is clear: a lot of Adobe’s customers feel like they’ve been cheated. Many claim to have purchased InContext Editing as a service that came advertised with Creative Suite 4. Adobe argues that was simply not the case:
Paid Dreamweaver feature? Not really. We intend to run the service as a standalone editing service. However, we want or intend to give Dreamweaver users some integration features that would help them create editable websites faster, using Dreamweaver’s design view and InContext Editing commands. This was the message we tried to send, but seems that it needs more clarity.
Although there are some obvious ethical issues at hand here, Adobe is covered legally because their licensing agreement essentially guarantees nothing at all to end users. Of course people aren’t going to be happy about it, but Adobe sees more money that can be made elsewhere. Specifically in their Business Catalyst service. From the InContext Editing website:
InContext Editing will be discontinued as a standalone service in 2011. However, InContext Editing has become a part of Adobe Business Catalyst®, a hosted application for building and managing online businesses that can also import your existing website. Find out more about Business Catalyst and how you can continue to use InContext Editing beyond 2011.
Indeed, this does seem like a classic “bait and switch” tactic, even if it was a simple miscommunication on Adobe’s part.