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Re: The Fog Thickens

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Tim Wilson
Re: The Fog Thickens
on Apr 19, 2012 at 9:04:40 am

Quoting an earlier post, [Craig Seeman] "12 years ago Avid announced they were no longer going to support the Mac. The backlash probably changed their mind."

I agree with you, Craig, with a historical tweak. There were indeed a number of company people wandering the floor at NAB 1999 yapping about the end of Mac, the world, etc. but *the company itself* never made any such announcement. In fact, Avid was adamant in its public commitment to staying on Mac and working with Apple.

It's critical to remember that when Apple bought Final Cut from Macromedia, Avid Media Composer was MAC ONLY. After years of Mac-only editing, Avid's Media Composer customer base was ONE HUNDRED PERCENT MAC in 1998. There were no PC customers because there was no PC version. Why would Avid threaten to leave 100% of its customers? That's nonsense....

...but when your only platform partner for your core product declares war on you in 1998, you consider your options for 1999 and beyond. The option Avid chose: keep making software for Macs. So in 1998 Media Composer is 100% Mac and Apple buys Final Cut. In 1999, Apple ships FCP, and whaddya know, Avid ships Media Composer on Mac. In 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, etc etc: Media Composer on Mac. Oh yeah, and PC. But Mac too, through all those years, all the way to today. Macaroons.

In the meantime, what was the result of that 1999 imbroglio? Just a few months later, the then CEO, GONE. The then president, GONE.

In October of 1999, only six months after NAB, to replace them, a new president (later also named CEO) from Digidesign (an AVID company whose customers in 1998 were likewise 100% Mac) who was handling Digi's transition to a dual-platform company more gracefully. (I think I'm remembering right about Pro Tools in 98. At least the documentation I have for Pro Tools 4 from 98 was 100% Mac. HOW all-Mac? Dude, there were approved configurations for Power Computing boxes! Woo-hoo! "Fighting Back for Mac!")

That said, I think you nailed this, Craig. Avid DID say in 1999 that Symphony would stay Windows-only, but I think that customer pressure made a difference. Also worth noting: Symphony was originally $150,000, and you can buy it for 1/150th of that now.

So here we are. The people who mis-handled Avid's in fact non-stop Mac support for Media Composer are GONE. Everybody who worked for them: GONE. The people responsible for them: GONE.

The only things that the company could do was hire somebody else, and keep making products for Mac. That's what they did.

There are similarities at Autodesk in that the people who whatever -- lied to you, misled you, killed your baby, whatever -- are GONE. Your experience is as real and as painful as you say, so now you're never ever going to trust...who? A guy who's not there? Good news: HE'S GONE. People he worked for: GONE. People who worked for him: GONE.

For all practical purposes, then, you're not mad at a company anymore. You're mad at a company NAME. What can a company do for you after the people who screwed you and the people responsible for them are gone? Buy you a pony?

[Craig Seeman] So many products live for a few years and die, that I can't simply expect eternal life for a software package. I just want to make enough money so my time to learn and return on use makes its lifespan, whatever that may be, worthwhile for my business.

Nicely said.

Buy something from Avid or Autodesk, or don't. That's your prerogative. But at some point, you're the only one who's responsible for how you feel. Not them, not anymore.

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou

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