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Adobe 'Send to FedEx Kinko's' Button Troubles Print-Provider Organizations

PIA/GATF, NAPL, NAQP, and DICE weigh in.

Big Picture

In early June, FedEx Kinko's and Adobe announced that Adobe Reader 8.1 and Adobe Acrobat software would feature a connection to FedEx Kinko's Print Online functionality, allowing users to send documents for output to any FedEx Kinko's Office and Print Center in the US. Both products have integrated a 'Send to FedEx Kinko's' command option within the File Menu as well as a button on the main toolbar.

'The integration of FedEx Kinko's Print Online with Adobe Reader and Acrobat provides a seamless connection to our network of digitally connected locations as well as to the FedEx transportation systems,' says Richard Maranville, senior vice president and chief information officer of FedEx Kinko's. [It is] part of our strategy to provide customers with more points of access to FedEx Kinko's products and services. With the integrated functionality, users of these Adobe applications are also able to have their printed material delivered to addresses worldwide.'

Just a few weeks later, however, concerns were raised by print-provider associations around the marketplace, including PIA/GATF, the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL), the National Association of Quick Printers (NAQP), and the Digital Imaging Customer Exchange (DICE).

Here are excerpts from statements from each group:

* PIA/GATF: 'When it was discovered that Adobe had made the decision to include a 'send to FedEx Kinko's' button in Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader, we felt terribly betrayed by the company who has been supported by the printing industry. We understand the need to make the workflow process as efficient as possible, but Adobe's decision to give up its neutrality and try to align its business with one printer is unacceptable. It is our hope that Adobe's CEO, Bruce Chizen, will realize the mistake that has been made and rectify the situation as soon as possible.

'PIA/GATF is working with senior-level officials at Adobe and asking for a meeting to resolve this unfavorable situation. We value our relationship with Adobe and respect what the company has done over the years for the printing industry; however, our main focus lies with the concerns and needs of our more than 12,000 member companies. We have heard in volumes from our membership that the alignment with one print company is sending the message that the print business which has supported Adobe in the past is no longer valuable. PIA/GATF will continue to share these concerns with Adobe and urge them to offer the same consideration to all print providers that have an interest in this type of partnership.'

* In a joint letter to Adobe, the NAPL and NAQP wrote: "We fully understand Adobe’s wish to make document production as efficient as possible for the end user-an objective shared by our membership.... However, by aligning with only one provider as a means of offering these efficiencies, Adobe has, in our view, provided an unfair competitive advantage to FedEx Kinko’s. . .. The advantage gained by FedEx Kinko’s through this agreement with Adobe comes at the expense of the many other printers--including many of our members--who have played such a pivotal role in establishing Adobe as the defacto standard among many end users for reading documents and printing file submission. Many of our member companies have, with the encouragement of Adobe, actively promoted the use of Adobe Acrobat products--and a PDF workflow--with their clients."

* DICE: 'For many years, DICE has had a strong, supportive relationship with Adobe-one valued by both Adobe and our member companies. From our perspective, Adobe has long been the one company that has served the entire printing industry, in a neutral, platform-independent manner. In that context, Adobe’s decision to include a "send to FedEx Kinko’s" button in Acrobat 8.1 struck a rather raw nerve with our association’s membership. Our members collectively own thousands of Adobe applications, Adobe font packages, and Adobe RIPs. They helped to make PostScript a defacto industry standard in early '90s and to make PDF the accepted foundation for graphic arts workflows over the last decade. Adobe’s decision to give up its neutrality and funnel print business to a single, international print provider, has greatly diminished your company’s standing with many of the printers we represent.

'Though our membership is confident that they can compete directly with FedEx Kinko’s for the kind of high quality digital print work they do, we would like to encourage Adobe to rethink the strategy of recommending FedEx Kinko’s at the expense of its many loyal, long-standing print provider customers.'