Software Users are Taken Advantage of:
|Those of you who have done
Web development work with Drumbeat 2000 know that on April 5, 2000
Macromedia announced that it was discontinuing the product. These series
of pages explore the issues surrounding this announcement and what it
really means about customer support in the age of rapid software
Many of us in the Drumbeat community have gone to great lengths to encourage Macromedia to live up to the commitments Macromedia made in terms of customer support when they purchased Drumbeat. So far I do not believe that Macromedia has taken adequate steps to provide adequate customer support for a product that it is continuing to sell. I encourage you to read the Software User's Bill of Rights. I believe that we must push the industry to implement such a policy in order to provide users with fair treatment in the future.
For those of you who have been following the UCITA
(Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act) you know that many of these
same issues are coming up in various versions of UCITA. This legislation
basically transfers an incredible amount of power to the software
companies and leaves almost no consumer protection. This legislation is
heavily backed by software companies. Here are just some of the groups
that are opposed to much of the language of the legislation--26 State Attorneys General, Association for Computing Machinery, Free Software Foundation,
For more information, check out some of these UCITA sites.
UCITA is supported in large part by major software companies and software publishing lobbying groups. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is one supporter of UCITA. Macromedia is a member of the BSA.
After reading the various pieces of information in the chronology below you should have a pretty good picture of what I consider the lack of responsibility that Macromedia has exercised towards their Drumbeat customers. I have attempted through letters, phone calls, ideas, and encouragement with various Macromedia executives to persuade Macromedia to provide a proper level of customer support for Drumbeat. From my viewpoint they have made no real effort to do so. As I have dug deeper into this it has become evident to me that Macromedia consciously mislead customers about their intentions for Drumbeat from fall 1999 - April 2000. Read what the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has to say about Deceptive Practice and Unfair Practice and I believe that you will agree.
Working with Macromedia has failed. I believe this is a blatant example of corporate misconduct. It is only the tip of the iceberg. If consumers don't take a stand now against such practices it will only continue. If you as a consumer are concerned then I urge you to take action. Please read the Software User's Bill of Rights. If you are a Drumbeat customer and you believe that you have been treated unfairly, you should file a complaint with both the Federal Trade Commission and with your state Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection (state by state listing), and the Better Business Bureau. If a company is found to be in violation of the law, the company must refund the purchaser's money. Perhaps 5,000 Drumbeat customers each getting a $500 refund might convince Macromedia to invest some of their record profits in customer service.
I have filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, the State of New Jersey Attorney General's Office, and the State of California Attorney General's Office, and the Better Business Bureau. You can view the complaint submission letter here and use that information as part of your complaint if you wish. This is a grass-roots issue. The more complaints that are received, the more agencies are likely to investigate. Take the time to stand up for your rights.
Seybold Bulletin - "For the time being, Macromedia will sell Drumbeat and E-Store. However, in the future, the company will collaborate on a product, based on Dreamweaver, that will be tightly integrated with Drumbeat, At that point, Drumbeat will cease to continue as a standalone product. Expected availability on that product is not known." - July 14, 1999
ZDNet Smart Business ranks Drumbeat 2000 E-Commerce as top StoreFront app - June 13, 2000
See What Macromedia CEO Rob Burgess was saying about Drumbeat this time last year
Send your own message to Macromedia - here are the email addresses of key staff at Macromedia.
When did Macromedia Decide to Scrap Drumbeat? - 5/12/2000
Other Windows 2000 Patch Approaches - 5/12/2000 - This seems to be the safer solution.
Unify Announces Windows 2000 Patch Release & another phone conversation with Beth Davis - 5/5/2000 - Bare Bones Patch Available at www.e-wideweb.com/downloads/downloads.htm courtesy of Urs Stettler
Letter to PC Magazine & InfoWorld - sent Friday, April 28, 2000
Response to Macromedia & Announcement of Windows 2000 Patch from Unify Corp. (no response from Macromedia) - 4/27/2000
Macromedia's Response - Beth Davis - 4/26/2000
Phone Conversation with Macromedia VP Beth Davis - 4/21/2000
Phone Conversation with Macromedia VP David Mendels - 4/14/2000 (David called after reading the draft on the Web)
Letter to Macromedia CEO Rob Burgess (draft posted on the Web 4/12/2000 and mailed 4/18/2000 email cc's to Macromedia VP's David Mendels)
Email to Macromedia Requesting a better Upgrade Policy (no response from Macromedia) - 4/6/2000
Software User's Bill of Rights - written in response to the current series of events with Macromedia
Elemental Acquisition FAQ - posted on Macromedia Web site until 4/24/2000
"This acquisition is an important step of our vision of adding life to the Web," said Rob Burgess, chief executive officer of Macromedia. Elemental "allows us to provide a solution for those people having difficulties building dynamic Web sites." - CNet