by Tonya Engst <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although at least one Japanese reader of the PageMill mailing list reported successfully purchasing the electronic version of PageMill, the European purchasing situation appears to leave much to be desired. Here's the official word from the U.S. branch of Adobe, as written to the PageMill mailing list by Kelly, an Adobe employee:
"Here's the scoop on international orders: Adobe has a strong European sales organization, and that organization is handling PageMill differently, so we're not doing Web sales there to avoid competing with ourselves. We also cannot sell to countries that the U.S. currently has an embargo with, e.g. Cuba and Libya. When you call to place your order, the order center has a list of approximately sixty countries that we can't sell to. If you give a telephone country code or address in one of those countries, we'll be unable to process your order."
Richard Erickson <email@example.com>, who you may recall from his recent report on Paris's Apple Expo, wrote a much more personal account of the situation:
Since reading about PageMill in TidBITS-290, TidBITS-295, and TidBITS-296, and exchanging a few messages about the release date with Ceneca Communications, I have eagerly awaited the release of this software.
Then TidBITS-302 arrived containing the release news. Even better, for those of us nine time zones east of California, the news contained the hint - nay, the dream - of the future of software distribution. Tonya wrote, "People on the list [the PageMill mailing list] have reported successfully purchasing the electronic version of PageMill from Adobe, though when you purchase the electronic version, you must have a fax number so Adobe can fax you a special URL, which you then use to download the program."
Aha, I have a fax number, I have plastic numbers, I have a modem, and I have a Web browser or Anarchie for an FTP download. What could be easier? What's the franc at today - less than 500 for $99? Plus 20 francs to the lady who has the fax in her newspaper shop just a five minute walk from here. And I have Acrobat Reader; I'm set!
So I copy the Web URL right out of TidBITS, paste it into my Web browser and hit Return.
My connection is fast because most of America is still asleep. I fill out the Web form: name, address, telephone number, fax, plastic number, and - at the bottom of the page - I finally get to: "At this time, we regretfully cannot accept orders from countries in Europe. Please contact your local Authorized Adobe Reseller for product availability."
In France, Adobe has a fairly new thing called Adobe Shop and it has the equivalent of an 800 number. When you dial it, a computer tells you to press various numbers on your telephone. The result was zero. If what you are looking for isn't programmed, you are eventually given a non-automatic toll number, and it was busy. Later, after waiting 11 minutes (at 73 centimes a unit), I learned that the name of the product is known, but Adobe had no information about local availability.
Between calls to Adobe, I called MacZone and MacWarehouse-France, but neither had heard of the product. Of course, I can order PageMill by phone from a vendor in the U.S., and unless they are under some scrupulous restraining order of Adobe's, they will ship. But that's not the point. It seemed for a blissful few moments that the future of software distribution had arrived - a future that said "Ciao!" to airfreight, and that had no store, no warehouse, no cash, no paper order, no package, no shrink-wrap, no paper manual, and no registration card.
[In case you missed it last week, here's where to find out more about the PageMill mailing list. -Tonya]
Adobe Shop (in France) -- 05 90 86 78 -- 44 131 451 1699 (fax)