On 21 Feb 2007, at 16:28, Dov Isaacs wrote:

> Comparing the Macintosh version of FrameMaker to a Ford
> Taurus is not a valid analogy. FrameMaker on Macintosh was
> NEVER a best-seller. It was a very small fraction of the
> FrameMaker user base, smaller than even Unix, that did not
> justify the continued expense of development, QA, support,
> and marketing -- especially given the cost of major changes
> to make it MacOS X-compatible.

This is the party line that we've heard already. Only a very select  
bunch know if it's really true or not, or the numbers involved. Even  
if it is, it still means that the decision to discontinue Mac  
FrameMaker was just someone's opinion, or Adobe management's 03/04  
criteria of what constitutes an acceptable ROI for a software  
product. In other words, revenue minus effort must be greater than  
$X, otherwise we discontinue.

Even if we take a stab at 5,000 Mac seats, at $800 a pop that's $4  
million. (Some of us are prepared to pay even more. Then there's the  
people who don't even know it exists due to zero marketing.) A  
smaller, younger, hungrier, more agile company may decide that it's a  
market worth going after, especially with Mac OS X's recent growth in  
educational and scientific markets, both of which require the tech.  
publishing capabilities of a tool like FrameMaker. There is no law or  
SEC regulation that stipulates a minimum profitability for products,  
and Adobe could have simply raised the price if it really was such a  
major draw on expenses.

Only John Warnock fully understood FrameMaker and wanted to buy Frame  
Technology when it was put up for sale. No one else in Adobe shared  
his vision, and when he was replaced by Bruce Chizen in 2000,  
FrameMaker's future became even more vulnerable. Old Adobe would have  
continued to support Mac FrameMaker. New Adobe decided not to.

FrameMaker is now in the hands of Adobe India, where software  
engineers' salaries can be up to 90% less than their U.S.  
counterparts, which kind of throws even more doubt on the "continued  
expense of development" argument.

Let's tackle the points:

* Cost of development: Can't be much with cheap Indian labor, up to  
90% off!
* Cost of QA: Use customers as beta testers.
* Cost of support: The Web, mailing lists, and online forums cost  
* Cost of marketing: Did Adobe ever market FrameMaker?
* Cost to make it MacOS X-compatible: Use cheap labor? We'd even be  
happy with a Carbon version. See below.

Quote from Apple developer site: "Carbon includes about 70 percent of  
the existing Mac OS APIs, covering about 95 percent of the functions  
used by applications. Because it includes most of the functions you  
rely on today, converting to Carbon is a straightforward process."

 From a user's point of view, let's just imagine for a moment a  
FrameMaker with all of the authoring and publishing capabilities that  
we've come to rely on running on the world's best OS, with PDF-based  
Quartz imaging for beautiful text, graphics, and PDF compatibility,  
OpenType, Unicode, automated workflows with AppleScript, ColorSync  
for WYSIWYG color, and the power, reliability, and stability of UNIX,  
not to mention easy access to all of our favorite UNIX tools. A  
technical writer's nirvana.


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