A few months ago Avid proudly put out a press release about how they just hired 250 new employees to staff new facilities in the Philippines, Taiwan and Poland, and how they would save $68 million as a result. Oh, and by the way, that was at the expense of closing down offices and downsizing its staff in the U.S.
Now the latest Avid press release touts how Taipei City is the "new home of hardware design," the new "global support center" in the Philippines will be open 24 hours a day, and the new R&D center in Szczecin Poland includes "veteran staff for engineering, customer care and professional services."
It's also opening a new Boca Raton, Florida office for a "consolidated administrative support group, leveraging a strong work force to improve efficiency and productivity."
Does this sound like a company that really cares about you, the user?
Does it sound like a great idea to can all the people in the U.S. responsible for the development of the hardware and software for the simple reason of finding cheaper ones off-shore?
How about taking the support for its complex products and moving it all to the Philippines?
These moves have nothing to do with the user, of course, since it's all about looking good for Wall Street, which is something that Avid desperately needs. It's stock is near an all-time low, down nearly 65% in the last year alone.
That's the problem with public companies in general. For the most part, the execs get caught up in a game of "pleasing the Street" rather than looking out for its customers. In short, it's stockholders become its customers.
Avid's CFO and executive vice-president John Frederick has announced that he's stepping down after the upcoming May 10th earnings call, which means that the outlook probably won't be too shiny and happy, and the restructuring is a band-aid (and a poor one) at best on the hope that a few analysts will slap a "Buy" recommendation on it.
Those of us who use Avid audio products look at these moves with a great deal of skepticism, and at the same time keep an eye out for the next alternative.
Pro Tools and the other audio-related products are only part of the Avid's product profile, but the company performance gives it's users reason for great concern for the company's, and their future.
(Photo: Maverx via Wikipedia)