Adobe Jumps The Shark, Reader’s Classification As Spyware Not Far Behind

By on March 9, 2005

I’m not working from a Windows box as much as I used to these days, so maybe I’m a little too blissfully isolated from the sheer volume of crap that most of you put up with from your computer each day.

Tonight, though, I was working from my wife’s PC at home, and I fired up Adobe Reader (The Reader Formerly Known As Acrobat) to look at a PDF. I’ve become accustomed to the annoying popup window in the last few versions that remind you of “important updates”, and I saw this:

Abode Update Screenshot

What the crap, man?! Since when is Photoshop Album an “Update” to Reader?! And Yahoo Toolbar?! They’ve co-opted the at least (dubiously) useful update program to shill their crap.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Photoshop Album is probably the best photo management program available today. In fact, I already have the full version installed, which makes the update suggestion even more idiotic.

It’s insane to dilute the interface with this sort of garbage. I will now dismiss anything that ever appears in the update list as marketing BS, which means that the update system is now broken because I’ll never use it. Even if it wasn’t, the popup window was a horrible way to notify for updates anyway. Firefox’s subtle icon in the toolbar is a far better way to handle this.

As an app, Reader should be basically invisible. The ultimate goal of the app should be that, whenever I click on a PDF, it starts instantly and immediately displays me that PDF in a manner that’s optimal for onscreen reading, and provides just a few simple tools that I might need. Anything else is serving Adobe, not me, and that makes the app less valuable. The splash screen is lame, and the popup update notice is asinine. Adding other apps to the software update notice is “Pulling a RealPlayer”.



  1. Agreed! I own Adobe Photoshop 3 (with the updated version of Photoshop Album), and STILL get that message. I haven’t had the (mis)fortune of seeing the Yahoo Toolbar message yet, but will dismiss it with intent when I do…

  2. I dropped Adobe Photoshop Album once I tried the new Picasa. Google bought it, overhauled it and made it free. It is unbelievably good software for photos. Rivals the Iphoto upgrade from Apple.

  3. “Rivals the Iphoto upgrade from Apple.”

    It’s funny how the words “Mac-like” are still considered to be a high compliment for an application.

  4. Once upon a time you could disable the splash screen in Acrobat. I still use version 5.0, and have the splash screen disabled. Funny, it seems to load faster too.

    You could try the following: -> edit -> preferences -> general from the sidebar select -> options

    Then, uncheck “display start screen” I have also found unchecking the following helps too:

    • “display pdf in browser” this just has acrobat open in its own window instead of your browser window.
    • “check browser settings when starting acrobat” with firefox (especially the portable version, this appears to have no effect)

    then, on the sidebar select -> update -> set to manual.

    then, on the sidebar select -> web buy

    • uncheck “Enable web buy”

    the last step should make most of the rand text go away.

  5. David, why should anybody have to go an disable all those useless “features” – bearing in mind that most people dont go beyond File – Open on the menu systems. It seems to me that Adobe is push their junk and ad’s in your face without asking you first, kind like what most people would call adware….

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