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Confirmation (of a sort) of the end of RoboHelp

If this isn't telling, I don't know what is.

Link to forum

In case the link goes dead (or the comments are deleted), here are the three posts so far (I apologize for the length):

I’m the Director of Product Management responsible for RoboHelp, Captivate, and other Macromedia products. I haven’t posted to this list before, but given the comments that are circulating today at the WritersUA conference and in this forum, I wanted to make sure that you get some feedback directly from the product team regarding these outstanding questions.

First of all, Macromedia continues to sell and support RoboHelp. The twelve years of engineering work that have gone into this product make it an incredibly viable and relevant solution for today’s Help authors. Also, beginning March 1st, 2005 the following support options have been made available:
http://www.macromedia.com/support/programs/self/robohelp.html

We have made some changes to the number of development resources dedicated to RoboHelp. Macromedia is constantly evaluating the optimal degree of dedicated resources in each of its businesses and the changes to the RoboHelp team are a part of this process. It’s really not appropriate for me to comment on specific personnel issues, however, as these are private matters involving real people. I can say that the former eHelp office in San Diego, now known as Macromedia San Diego, is a vibrant office with staffers supporting a wide range of Macromedia initiatives.

Regarding future releases, I recognize that eHelp used to provide a roadmap regarding future product release schedules, but as a public company we cannot do the same. This applies to all Macromedia products, not just RoboHelp. We do not announce future release dates, and we tend to have longer release cycles than what was the previous release schedule for RoboHelp.

It’s unfortunate that speculative comments from an individual (and Macromedia’s lack of attendance) at the WritersUA conference has caused concern. Macromedia was not able to attend the conference due to last minute booth staffing issues that could not be resolved in time to have a presence at the show. As I stated above, we are selling and supporting the RoboHelp Office family of products. In addition, another former eHelp product, Captivate (formerly known as RoboDemo) is thriving within Macromedia. In fact, we’re very proud that Captivate recently won the Software Simulation Shootout at the Training 2005 Conference (http://www.macromedia.com/software/captivate/).

We will continue to monitor the lists and respond as appropriate. Thanks for your support.

Regards,
Miriam Geller
Director of Product Management

-----

Sorry, Miriam, but your explanation is literally "incredible."

Of course Macromedia "continues to sell and support RoboHelp." Even if you have EOL'd the product, you still want to make as much money as possible from selling it. How else to justify the $65mm your company paid to acquire eHelp?

You say: "We have made some changes to the number of development resources dedicated to RoboHelp." I give you credit for a great sense of humor. You have laid off the entire development team, have you not? (I know you will say it is "not appropriate" to comment on personnel issues, but rest assured most of us can all read between the lines.)

Of course you will not comment on future product releases since you do not plan to have any.

The funniest part of your post is your comment that "Macromedia was not able to attend the conference due to last minute booth staffing issues that could not be resolved in time to have a presence at the show." Anyone with the first clue about how this industry works will immediately recognize this as the nonsense that it is. If Macromedia wanted a presence at this show, Macromedia would have had a presence at this show. To "no show" an important induistry conference makes a clear statement about how important RoboHelp is to your company. Obviously, it is not important at all -- except to the extent that you can rope people into buying expensive support agreements for a product you have already decided to EOL.

Please spare us the misrepresentations. We know where you are coming from. It's plain for all to see.

Btw, I will be curious to see whether you follow the old eHelp model and immediately delete this post from your forum, or whether you allow a public dialogue to ensue. It doesn't matter to me, but it might matter to your other customers.

Regards,

David Knopf

----

Sorry, Miriam, but I agree with David.

Your post was nothing but blatant, empty, and in fact, insulting, blah-blah. You start off stating that you want to give us feedback "directly from the product team regarding these outstanding questions", but you give us nothing. You certainly don't answer our questions as to the continuation of RoboHelp development.

While I'm sure politicians, lawyers, and possibly board members would love your post, us online Help developers, well, we usually like to stick to reality---what's it all about, how does it work. And I, for one, don't like someone throwing "marketing-ese" at me and calling it an answer.

My feeling upon reading your post was irritation, bordering on anger (that you would actually think us so stupid). Really, it would have been better if you hadn't addressed the issue at all.

I also agree with David regarding the WritersUA conference. It's one of the most important conferences of the year. No one is going to believe the reason you gave for Macromedia's absence.

I hope the next time you (or any other Macromedia representative) address customers and members of this forum, you will remember that we are trained professionals in our field. We’re not idiots and we deserve the truth.

Regards,

Leah Shalek



If Macromedia wasn't going to EOL this product, they could just try to kill it via PR. They've got a good start already.

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