Shuffling for different reasons

Adobe and BellSouth are each laying off a whole bunch of people, but for different reasons. In the first case, it is about managing new technologies (and keeping it in sync with the old); in the latter it is about not managing old technology (and separating it from the new). Both serve their purpose.

In Adobe’s case, they picked up Macromedia, and now they have Flash and Dreamweaver to deal with. Both have become de-facto standards for web development; Dreamweaver will supplement Adobe’s strong presence in “hardcopy” publishing, and Flash will provide the web pizzazz the company has long needed. The acquisition created complimentary lines, and Adobe should have no problem bundling them up, and pricing them appropriately for all the publishers, designers, and tinkerers out there who were buying pieces/parts of the original offerings anyway. Many line managers, sales personnel, and a few engineers simply have to go. But I think Adobe can maintain a one-of-a-kind image for some time to come. For them, it is about positioning and growth.

BellSouth, like many other traditional local exchange carriers, has been slow to move. Yes, they have DSL and mobile service, but I hardly call that progress. All I hear is “package of these services,” “package of those services.” Meanwhile, if you talk to someone working at one of these places, you shouldn’t be surprised if they haven’t heard of disrupters such as Skype or Vonage. Add to that list a newfangled product (according to them) called the voice-enabled instant messaging client (including ones being offered by very big guys), and maybe toss in a pinch of WiMAX, and you have a recipe for trouble. Of course, I’m not going to completely blame the organizations themselves; if the folks on the chopping block had the motivation to improve instead of going about happily cashing those fat (but wasteful) paychecks for the last few years, they would have seen the train’s headlight coming long ago. The result would have been a lot of screaming for change, instead of what’s going to happen now – a lot of pinkslips. Many line managers, sales personnel, and more than a few engineers simply have to go. BellSouth isn’t a one-of-a-kind either. For them (and their counterparts) it has been about holding onto “the last mile” – now it is about simply surviving.

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