The Drumbeat 2000 & Macromedia Saga
Posted to macromedia.drumbeat, macromedia.drumbeat.ecommerce, macromedia.ultradev 5/5/00
Well, I had not heard anything from Beth Davis about the information I posted and sent to her last week about Unify's announcement that they would be writing a Windows 2000 patch for the OEM version of Drumbeat that they license. She hadn't seen the email so she read it while we talked.
My previous conversations with Beth have been quite friendly and upbeat. This time she seemed quite defensive. She reported that the Unify arrangement was one that had been in the pipeline for sometime between Elemental and Unify. When MM purchased Elemental, MM decided to honor the agreement. What Beth said repeatedly about getting a Windows 2000 patch from Unify was that the license did not give MM any access to code that Unify creates. She also alluded to the fact that Unify was going to replace DB with UltraDev, presumably when all the e-commerce extensions are finally around and solid.
I have to say, this sounded a little thin to me. I said to Beth, "well it sounds like Unify will continue to be an MM customer. I would assume that you could make some arrangements." All I got was more about how complicated the deal was. She did say that Matt and Julie were supposed to look into this but hadn't gotten to it yet.
I then told her about Dan Morrison's Win2k patch which she didn't know about. I explained that it was a limited patch. She went on to say how much time it would take MM to regression test it and make sure it didn't create other bugs. etc.
I explained to her (it took several attempts) that there was a definite communications gap between MM and customers when MM says "it would take a team of programmers months to create a Win2K patch" and then Dan rips out something overnight. I told her, even if it is a limited patch most customers won't understand all the testing ramifications and to customers it simply looks like MM didn't do its homework. She eventually agreed that this was something that MM needed to communicate better about.
I finally came out and said that I and others were concerned that MM was simply avoiding dealing with these issues until UD is released and DB is off the shelves. Then MM could say it didn't have any obligations for DB or a patch. She never really answered this to my satisfaction.
I just received a message with a release date for Unify's Win2k patch (see below).
After all of my conversations with MM employees here's my reading on what happened. I think that the DB team really did take a good look at whether to keep DB going sometime last fall. They decided not to and based on that determined that it would be a waste of programming time to come up with SP3 and a Win2k patch. All rational business decisions. I also believe that since that faithful day MM hasn't spent a minute thinking about DB or users (until lately due to lots of screaming). DB was water under the bridge for MM and so also went customer service for DB users. The ONLY reason there has been any response now is that so many people have complained. Over the last few weeks I feel like I should be getting paid as the MM Customer Service Rep because I need to keep explaining to MM through letters and phone calls to people like Beth just what their customers are thinking and what they need to do to communicate. This IS NOT the kind of response you would expect from a company that says it values customer service. While for us Drumbeat died on April 5 it is clear that it died for MM sometime in 1999. Their behavior demonstrates that all too clearly. I am sure that MM now cringes every time one of us calls. I bet they figured back last year that they were all through with Drumbeat forever.
BTW: Brooks Martin has volunteered to write a Win2k compatible riched32.dll if MM will give us the original code for it. I'll propose that but I bet it's a cold day in hell before they give it up.
BTW2: As of April 8 (3 days after the death toll sounded for DB) Drumbeat was on PCMAG's A-list of Web Development software (guess MM doesn't read the tabloids ;)
"STOREFRONT DESIGN TOOL
Unify Confirms their Win2k patch Release Date
RE: Windows 2000 & VISION Studio