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Software Users are Taken Advantage of:
The Drumbeat 2000 & Macromedia Saga

  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 development. 

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,
Consumers Union, Society for Information Management, IEEE, Newspaper Association of America, 
Motion Picture Association of America, Association of Research Libraries, and many others. 

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.

Consumer Response

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

How to file a complaint in small claims court - it's easy. Please add your name to the list of filers.

Send your own message to Macromedia - here are the email addresses of key staff at Macromedia.

Complaints Filed Against Macromedia - 5/22/2000 Also available as PDF file or RTF file.

InfoWorld Publishes article on Macromedia & Drumbeat - 5/22/2000

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.

Macromedia Releases More Details About UltraDev - 5/8/2000 

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

Dan Morrison posts a rough Windows 2000 Patch - 5/1/2000

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

Other Information

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

Drumbeat 2000 Requirements (posted until 4/24/2000) New version (posted 4/24/2000)

Drumbeat Reviews