Steinberg has recently solicited our opinions in a survey about Nuendo futures, including what we would (or would not) like to see in future developments. Do we think that 5.1 or 7.1 or some other audio production format will be the “wave of the future”? Would we like Steinberg to develop and offer a control surface tailored to Nuendo? As always, the information that can be provided is already limited by the questions that were NOT asked.
Steinberg never asked what we like (or dislike) about Steinberg business practices, for example. Yes, maybe I would like to see a control surface from Steinberg that has been built from the ground up specifically for Nuendo. But based on my experience with Steinberg business practices, would I trust Steinberg as a vendor for such a product? Has Steinberg demonstrated a willingness to introduce products and then discontinue them a year or two later, abandoning the commitments made by their customers and by Steinberg itself? Yes, definitely.
When Steinberg introduced “Surround Edition” for Nuendo, I happily invested in it and developed projects with it, only to find that in later Nuendo software releases, the product was no longer supported or available, and there was no replacement. For whatever short-term financial reason, Steinberg had decided to change course and abandon me and my investment. Separately, a similar result followed with respect to the capability to render Dolby Digital surround output in Nuendo. In releases prior to v5, Nuendo included support for both an AC3 Encoder and a DTS Encoder, an implicit commitment which the company abruptly abandoned in Nuendo 5. And now Steinberg wants to know if we think 5.1 or 7.1 will be important in the future? And I’m supposed to trust that they care about my opinion?
More to the point, I’m supposed to trust that if they DO in the future APPEAR to care about my opinion by introducing some product or service offering, that there will be future support for that product or service offering? That the company isn’t going to flip-flop in terms of its commitment to me as a customer in the future?
Would I be surprised if tomorrow Steinberg decided that Nuendo itself was a thing of the past because its short-term revenues or sales projections indicate that Cubase should be the flagship product, completely replacing and superseding Nuendo?
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, other companies are taking the lead in incorporating surround encoders built into their audio/video editing products, a market lead that Steinberg and Nuendo once had, and then abandoned. The computer industry is littered with the corpses of companies that were once in a unique position of opportunity for leadership in a technology, failed to follow through with support based on that opportunity, and eventually died through a painful process of talent attrition and acquisition, with their trade names now remembered only on the headstones of the past.
I love Nuendo, but I trust even Adobe more than I trust Steinberg. Adobe has never left me standing naked in the cold on a streetcorner.