10 Mar 2005
You might’ve already read about the controversy surrounding Macromedia promoting the Yahoo! toolbar via a pre-ticked option in the Flash plugin installer. Today I noticed for the first time (I think it’s been around a couple of months) that Adobe’s doing a similar thing with Adobe Reader:
The Reader software also currently features a Yahoo! ad within its interface if you choose not to install the toolbar.
I hope for both companies’ sakes they’re getting paid an obscene amount of money to risk pissing away years of trust built up amongst users and developers. Promoting an unrelated third-party product is irritating enough, but pre-ticking the box is obnoxiously pushy and designed to up the numbers with accidental installations.
This could count against PDF and Flash when developers consider technology choices, particularly for projects involving government, education, long-term content archiving, etc. No one should commit to plugins which can’t be trusted to not inflict excessive advertising or software on users in the future, so hopefully Adobe and Macromedia won’t take this approach further.
Oh, just one more thing (©1971 Lt. Columbo): Macromedia’s actions seem to show they’re now confident that Flash is big enough to cope fine without being pre-installed with Windows, otherwise they surely wouldn’t risk promoting a direct rival to the MSN toolbar.