March 21, 2013

Half a million people now subscribing to Creative Cloud

In less than 12 months:

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced that Adobe® Creative Cloud™ has exceeded 500,000 paid individual members. The company also reported that free and trial memberships have exceeded 2 million. Free subscriptions are a proven on-ramp for customers to move to a paid Creative Cloud membership.

I know this subject arouses a lot of strong feelings. I can’t always provide satisfying answers, but please know that people are listening. It’s totally valid to raise questions & concerns. I just want to note that a huge number of people have already migrated to Creative Cloud subscriptions and are, by all accounts, digging it (even if they’re not necessarily motivated to comment here).

Posted by John Nack at 1:23 PM on March 21, 2013


  • oldsweng — 1:55 PM on March 21, 2013

    I’m one of those subscribers digging it. I couldn’t justify the entry price to the boxed Creative Suite but now I have it all available as needed at a reasonable price. I’m not a graphics pro, just a hobby photographer/videographer who likes to create his own website and books. I was very, very skeptical when CC was announced but after reading the FAQ I decided it was a deal I couldn’t pass up.

  • John Stevenson — 2:40 PM on March 21, 2013

    I’d also like to speak-up in favour of the Cloud. Have worked with just Photoshop alone from Adobe since 1995. (Even Fauve/Macromedia xRes before that). And have had experiences since then with a whole bunch of Adobe-wannabee/betabee apps and plug-ins from other vendors, for vector illustration, digital paintwork, etc. But the Cloud has now expanded horizons for all, across the entire Creative Suite. So, for example, I’m now learning to paint in Illustrator – with no financial hit at all (well, at least until the full subscription rate kicks-in …).

  • Rob — 2:44 PM on March 21, 2013

    I presume this 500,000 number includes those signing up at the introductory $30 a month upgrade price. It’ll be interesting to see how many of them continue at the end of twelve months when the price increases to $50.

    [Yes, though note that even $50/mo. works out to less than $2/day for a couple of dozen apps, gigs of storage, streaming fonts, Web & tablet publishing, and more. –J.]

    And who knows, even that $50 a month price may prove to be only temporary. If would make some sense for Adobe to keep that price for a couple of years to get people into CC, then when they lose the ability to get upgrade pricing on their owned software and are to a considerable degree captives of CC, raise the CC monthly price.

  • ProDesignTools — 5:04 PM on March 21, 2013

    Someone recently pointed out that the Digital Publishing Suite SE, which costs $395 to publish one iPad app, is included in Creative Cloud and allows unlimited usage to subscribers.

    Perhaps not the everyday use case, but if you go by that metric alone – or alternatively look at the cost of Muse + Typekit + Business Catalyst for building & hosting websites – the math can be attractive.

    That’s before even counting Photoshop Extended or any of the CS6 tools, Lightroom, Edge, PhoneGap, all upgrades included as soon as ready, etc.

    Lastly, on the notion that Adobe would plan to hook everybody in and then make the price unaffordable, see Myth #6:

    The 10 Most Common Myths About Adobe’s Creative Cloud

  • Rick Popham — 6:29 PM on March 21, 2013

    Make new friends, but keep the old
    One is silver, and the other, gold

  • Andrew Meit — 6:51 AM on March 22, 2013

    Um, what about us who got the old way of upgrading?? I still can’t find any formal statement when we get new features, unless its classically 2 yrs from now at $$$.

    • Andrew Meit — 10:22 AM on March 22, 2013

      Its only when v7 comes out; that I can’t skip an upgrade any more either to save up for an upgrade either.
      Accounting rules can change but its unlikey since it helps support this new model rather nicely. If Adobe and others wanted it changed, they would have lobbied for it already.
      Got it, Adobe wants everyone onto the cloud eventually: renting software.

  • Ambrose — 8:08 AM on March 22, 2013

    Regarding the “all upgrades included” point, I think I have so far done only one (1) single update. The thing is, given the poor support for switching between language backends, for people who need to work with several different language versions of CS6 (and I do mean language versions that affect the backend—i.e., CJK and ME), it is not apparent what the updates will do. Back to square one…

    PS: Your blog’s tab order is broken.

  • Brian MacDougall — 8:59 AM on March 22, 2013

    Rick Popham gets it.

  • Jeremy Chone — 9:38 AM on March 22, 2013

    The problem I have with the Creative Cloud is that it is definitely good for Adobe Shareholder, as it makes more money with the same user base, but it is a very slippery slop to price increase and new pricing models.

    I bet that the next step will be to try to charge per “artifact”, meaning, per “app” or per “publication,” and what once up a time a great value for creative, Adobe tools is going to get any money they can on any pretext from their users.

    Now that being said, I might be forced to the subscription model (somehow called Cloud) as well, but my hand has definitely be forced.

    I am mixed, I have such a great respect for the product and the team that build them, but so revolted by the hypocrisy being the “more value to the user” argument (where at the same time, Adobe is saying to their shareholder “more money from the same users”), that I have really mixed feeling about Adobe… and I once worked there.

    • Andrew Meit — 10:31 AM on March 22, 2013

      High five Jeremy! I too will be forced in time. I can see them limiting how many artifacts you can produce with the software on a tiered model..or its how many days you want to use the software. pay per view model a la cable. The bean counters want this very badly I suspect.

  • Scott Boucher — 12:54 PM on March 22, 2013

    Can’t really blame Adobe for trying to make the most money possible from the assets they have to offer. It’s actually their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to do so. Also, I’ve been using Adobe products as a design professional for years and, for the most part, have loved their products. All that said, I’m very skeptical of the Creative Cloud. As others have mentioned, we’ll all likely be forced into it at some point. It’s just that many of us will come kicking and screaming. Time will tell if this new direction will be successful long-term. Until then, I’ll hold on to my perpetual license until they pry it from my fingers.

    • ProDesignTools — 1:18 PM on March 22, 2013

      From what we see with our site readers and comments, what’s interesting is there seems to be a dichotomy in reaction:

      1. All the new users who could never easily afford Adobe products and now have an viable on-ramp to become customers for the whole of Master Collection and more.

      2. Some (not all) longtime users who have paid a lot over the years for perpetual licenses and imagine a move to the Cloud as giving up their investment.

      So what could be done to address this split?

      One idea might be to offer a greater upgrade discount to the Cloud based upon how recent your perpetual version is – for example, similar to how tiered upgrade pricing works for CS.

      In other words, someone currently running CS6 would pay less than someone coming all the way from CS3.

      It’s in everyone’s best interests to figure it out somehow because as John noted, most all the folks who now have the Cloud (via whatever avenue) do by and large love it:

  • Rick Popham — 1:45 PM on March 22, 2013

    “2. Some (not all) longtime users who have paid a lot over the years for perpetual licenses and imagine a move to the Cloud as giving up their investment.”

    It’s not my imagination that upgrading my perpetual license of Photoshop every 18 months costs me about $180, while subscribing to the “Cloud” version of Photoshop for the same period will cost me $360. Plus I would have nothing to fall back on if I decided that the latest features being delivered to me were not compelling enough to warrant the 100% increase in price.

    So far, none of the new “Cloud” features would have even tempted me to upgrade my perpetual license to a new version. Of course, now you can’t skip upgrades anymore…

    • John Stevenson — 2:47 PM on March 22, 2013

      I’m not sure this is correct. The last upgrade I purchased as a perpetual license was for Photoshop CS5 to CS6 and that set me back almost $400. I did not – at that time – consider this good value, at least for the visible new features and improvements (the dark gray GUI included …). But there was the 64-bit “hidden” stuff in the new release. So, it’s hard to evaluate. And I think that’s the key thing – everyone’s circumstances, expectations and ultimate benefits are all a little different. For example, I don’t think that any of the interim upgrades to the Cloud-subscription version of Photoshop CS6 … – well, they ain’t nothing truly spectacular either. But having access to all of the suite/Master Collection, including extended editions, on multiple machines, that’s great.

      • Rick Popham — 3:33 PM on March 22, 2013

        Are you using the Photoshop Extended edition? I believe the perpetual upgrade to Extended is more expensive than the upgrade to the Standard edition that I have. Come to think of it, the Extended version is what the $20/month “Cloud” subscription gets you, so the subscription would seem to be on a par with that.

        It’s still 100% more than what I paid for the CS5 > CS6 Photoshop Standard version upgrade, given the usual 18 months between versions.

        • John Stevenson — 4:07 PM on March 22, 2013

          Yes. That’s what I elected to do – given (also) that I bought a new machine for CS6 Extended to work on. (Hence the benefit, to me, from 64-bit code.) But my bottom-line argument remains OK (never mind the double negative that crept in there …) based upon what Adobe has in their version comparison: and what can be compared like-with-like.
          However, it seems to me that if we go the “Adobe needs to satisfy its investors and shareholders” route, then one conclusion there would be that both perpetual and subscription licensing will co-exist. To maximize revenue. The actual terms – who knows? But then the subscribers may have more leverage now to have Adobe listen to what to do as new and/or upgraded feature sets.

          • Jeremy Chone — 7:49 PM on March 22, 2013

            The pitch that Adobe is telling their investors and shareholders, is that with this new subscription model they will get more money from the same user base.

            So, Adobe cannot have it both ways, saying on one side, to their shareholders, that they are going to grow their revenue from their current customer base (without adding new products), and at the same time, telling their users that they are going to pay less for more.

            [I don’t remember hearing Adobe say you’d pay “less.” That would be a hard statement to support, because people buy differently (Suites, individual apps, every version vs. every few, etc.). What *I’ve* said is that subscriptions radically lower the barrier to entry, and that’s very true. As for the “get more,” that part is hopefully obvious. –J.]

            The reality is that this pricing is Adobe’s way to get more from their stagnant user base with these two approaches:

            1) Make sure that their customers pay regularly, $600/year, rather than jumping releases as they use to do.

            2) Move most of their user base to the “full suite” pricing, by not offering intermediary suites pricing, but just a one app or all apps option. Most users probably need more than one app but as the intermediary suites pricing do not exist anymore, they have to pay for the full package.

            So, yes, technically, if a user upgrade every master suite, the subscription model will save some money (until he/she wants to stop upgrading), however, in the real case scenario, this is just a way for Adobe to milk more from their current user base, and we (the users) should not be naive about it.

            Luckily, I am one of the Adobe product fan boy that like to upgrade my master suite to every release, so, the cloud will save me money in the short term. However, I do not think that this software as a subscription model that Adobe and Microsoft are starting, is good for us, the consumers, in the long term.

            The thing that scare me even more, is Adobe experiments about charging per artifact, or “per view” as Andrew above in the comments noted.

            [Besides DPS Single Edition (use of which is unlimited for Creative Cloud members), where have you heard of Adobe doing that? –J.]

            Adobe’s conundrum is that it has already all the creative on the planet, and did not manage to grow a significant business outside of this (Acrobat being the only exception), so, their only path for growth is to get more from their current users.

            [Or it’s to bring far more people into the fold–people who simply wouldn’t or couldn’t buy when the up-front cost was significant. –J.]

          • ProDesignTools — 8:39 PM on March 22, 2013

            “So, Adobe cannot have it both ways, … while telling their users that they are going to pay less for more.”

            Well if you weigh buying MC new for $2,600 vs. the Cloud for $49/month including free upgrades, it arguably is paying less for more.

            Generally, what they have stated is there is greater value in the Cloud because of all the tools and services users get to benefit from, and that they will be adding more value there on a regular and ongoing basis.

            It’s of course up to each customer (new or existing) to judge what that additional value means to them and being worth the price, as John Stevenson pointed out.

            On the notion of charging per artifact, use, or view, don’t think that’s likely; it sounds like FUD here.

          • Scott Boucher — 6:41 AM on March 23, 2013

            The argument that CC users are getting a “value” because they’re getting the entire Master Suite is, in my opinion, a bogus one. How many people – even creative professionals – really need all the software in the Master suite?

            [Sure–but it’s kind of a strawman argument. No one needs or uses everything inside a single app (e.g. Photoshop), much less the whole Master Collection. The calculus is about whether the package includes enough value for you, not whether it also contains things for others which you may not need right now. (Sometimes I think people would feel that their cable subscriptions were better deals if they cost exactly the same amount yet included only the channels the individuals watched. No one likes feeling their hands forced.) –J.]

            As a designer with 20+ years of experience, my opinion is that there are very, very few that would have the skills/knowledge necessary to use all of it. The vast majority of designers are already challenged enough keeping up with the core Creative Suite software never mind diving into all the video editing tools. In fact, that’s one of the strengths of Adobe software in the first place. InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash – they’re all such powerful tools, you could spend years exploring and mastering their capabilities in addition to keeping up with all the new features Adobe adds with major new releases every two years. There’s really no practical way that most designers can devote the time necessary to also learn a high-end video editing suite of software like Adobe Premiere, After Effects, etc.

            [Maybe, maybe not. I find that it’s much easier to at least try & occasionally use an app like Audition that might otherwise be impractical (something for which you wouldn’t choose to pay without first having a demonstrable need). –J.]

            As such, it’s a bit of a crock to make the comparison to CC and the Master Suite.

            As for the various services that come with CC, I suspect most designers would have some interest in a few of them. Muse is very intriguing. That said, there’s nothing there that gets me overly excited. Certainly not to the point that I would be willing to commit to being locked into a subscription model.

            [Then Adobe needs to do a better job winning your business. What would you find valuable? Help us make you happier. –J.]

            Obviously, I don’t speak for all creatives. With over 500,000 subscribers, there are quite a few out there who are willing to give it a try. But here’s the thing that I don’t think Adobe is counting on. Designers love to play with new toys. So, when you tell them they can have the entire Master suite plus all the various services and iPad apps that come with CC without having to shell out a big upfront amount, it’s not surprising that quite a few will dive in. My questions, has always been this: once those designers start to realize that they’re not really using all that software on a regular basis and start to feel the pinch of that $50/month coming out of their checking account, will they stick with it? As I’ve said in other posts, only time will tell.

            [Indeed it will. –J.]

          • Rick Popham — 10:04 AM on March 23, 2013

            “As for the various services that come with CC, I suspect most designers would have some interest in a few of them. Muse is very intriguing. That said, there’s nothing there that gets me overly excited. Certainly not to the point that I would be willing to commit to being locked into a subscription model.

            [Then Adobe needs to do a better job winning your business. What would you find valuable? Help us make you happier. –J.] ”

            The thing is, Adobe already HAS my business, small as that may seem to you. I really like using Adobe products, but every management decision since CS was introduced – Product Activation, upgrade restrictions, and the current push to thoroughly leash us to the internet with Adobe ID requirements for upgrades, elimination of Activation by telephone, elimination of physical products and this frantic push for subscription payments – has eroded my good will for the company.

            As for what I would find valuable: The ability to upgrade my PERPETUAL license to milestone versions, i.e. CS6 > CS7 > CS8 without being forced to upgrade to an anemic .5 version.

  • romills — 5:33 PM on March 22, 2013

    I sit on the fence if I will continue upgrading. I like to use photoshop, but I don’t use it enough to pay a full membership price. I gave the 29/month a spin for a year, but I may just go back to CS5 after that, it’s not worth more than that for me, and actually, not sure it’s worth 29 I am currently paying.
    It’s a hobby for me, and even then, not a real serious one.

    The programs are decent quality, but they just not really worth $360 a year.. For a pro, that’s not a bad deal, but for just a hobby, there are lots of alternatives, maybe not as good, but comparable in functionality that I could use instead for a whole lot less.

  • Greg Geisler — 9:43 AM on March 23, 2013

    Congrats on the 500K users!
    Count me as one very pleased customer. I’m a 20+ years user of Abode products as well and IMHO the decision to go with CC is a no-brainer. I can’t comprehend how any “professional” wouldn’t view it the same way. Let’s see- for $40 or $50 a month my business leases a robust set of tools that allow me to provide a much in-demand service and earn a good living. I can cover that $50 working one hour a month. What business model out there do you know of that would allow you that degree of value? For the cost of a tank of gas you get access to the entire Adobe suite of tools.

    So, I can only assume that if you are complaining about having to invest that paltry amount per month in the tools and you cannot recoup that investment fairly easily then you are a “hobbyist” and not a “professional”. And even for a hobbyist, as oldsweng posted above, it offers incredible value.

    I can hear the cries now: “but I paid thousands of dollars to Adobe over the years and I’m entitled to some value for all that money spent…”. As did I. But I used the tools to earn a living so that was my ROI. And I accept that software development and licensing and the constant flux of the industry is simply the nature of the beast. Back to work.

    • Scott Boucher — 11:22 AM on March 23, 2013


      I think the purpose of this post is to initiate an honest discussion of the issues. Please don’t degrade it into an unnecessary spat. To suggest that anyone who doesn’t share your opinion isn’t a “professional” but simply a “hobbyist” is insulting at best and simply ignorant at worse. Have a little more respect for your fellow creatives. It’s fantastic that you’re so enthused about Creative Cloud but I think it’s OK to have a difference of opinion without getting into personal attacks.

  • Scott Boucher — 11:34 AM on March 23, 2013

    (Sometimes I think people would feel that their cable subscriptions were better deals if they cost exactly the same amount yet included only the channels the individuals watched. No one likes feeling their hands forced.) –J.

    That’s actually a very good analogy. People don’t want their hands forced.

    [Then Adobe needs to do a better job winning your business. What would you find valuable? Help us make you happier. –J.]

    I’ve brought this up on other posts about CC but I would love to see tiered subscription models. Something like $29.99/month allows you to choose 7 applications, 3 ipad apps, a smaller amount of on-line storage and up to 6 single-edition DPS apps per year. $19.99/month allows you to choose 5 applications, 2 apps, no on-line storage and 3 single-edition DPS apps per year. Those are just starting ideas. The point is that it would allow people to have a choice rather than the all-or-nothing option they’re currently being given.

  • John Stevenson — 12:23 PM on March 23, 2013

    Having noted already above that every user’s circumstance and experience(s) will be a little different, I really hesitate to compare two companies. Especially ones which are so different in size. But, since becoming a Creative Cloud subscriber (at $30 monthly to date), I found that can be a useful companion resource. There, so far, I shell-out (another) $37.50 per month – without the option to tailor my subscription app-by-app:
    Several points. First, lynda’s video resources are truly cloud-based (only a hack would get me the videos for use outside the subscription). Second, this is lynda’s only business model – there isn’t even an annual “rentals” plan at a discount. Next, there truly is stuff in lynda’s library which I would never, ever find useful – I suppose that’s the case for 99% of the subscriber base there. Last, this is – nevertheless – clearly an on-going success; many very talented instructors make their way onto lynda’s “stage” with regularity. They gotta get paid. Servers gotta keep humming.
    Finally, the big picture. Businesses who rely for their revenues on an outright product sale (as was the case for Adobe until recent times) often seek to offset the risks intrinsic to that by initiating a more regular revenue stream which supplements this. You’d likely get an own or lease option if you need a new vehicle. I even have one for the router sitting on my desk. But only very rarely does the lease-only model end-up becoming the sole offer.

    • Scott Boucher — 6:00 AM on March 24, 2013

      John, the analogy is very interesting. I’m a Lynda subscriber and, unlike Creative Cloud, it’s never bothered me that there’s a huge swath of their library of offerings that I never use and likely never will. I had to ask myself why. I think it comes down to the fact that the nature of the two products really is very different. The content on is updated on a daily basis. There’s always something new and interesting coming out. Plus, even if there’s a course that I’m only mildly interested in, I can go through and cherry pick just the lessons that specifically interest me. There’s very little time commitment and the benefit is immediate. With Creative Cloud, the amount of time needed to get up to speed with highly complex software products is enormous. Sure, it’s possible to get the basics down fairly quickly but there’s not much practical purpose to knowing just the basics. To make the software worthwhile, you have to take the time to at least become proficient. Otherwise, it won’t be of much use.

      As I mentioned in an earlier post, I think most creative professionals would rather spend that time expanding their skills in the software they use on a daily basis. For instance, if I have a couple of free hours to devote to my professional development, I’m much more likely to pull up a course on covering a specific skill or technique in Photoshop or Illustrator than I am to fire up a course on Premiere or After Effects on the off chance that I may someday use that software.

      The other major difference is that Adobe simply can’t release new features for CC members at the same pace Lynda can for their members. CC has been around for almost a year and, in all honesty, the members-only updates that have been released in that time have been underwhelming to say the least. In fact, my impression is that these new features have had the opposite effect in the marketplace than they were intended. Rather than enticing non-members to join, it seems to anger those with traditional licenses who feel they’re being ignored because Adobe already has their money and no longer cares about them. The PR hit doesn’t seem like it’s worth the relatively insignificant benefit. The only way to really fix the situation is to start delivering truly great new features that all their customers would love to have. Once those start coming out on a regular basis, non-members may start to see the benefit of a CC membership.

      • John Stevenson — 12:18 PM on March 24, 2013

        Scott, I agree with most of your points. But what intrigued me the most about Adobe and Lynda (in comparisons) was not the operational aspects so much as the business model. In that regard, just as you write, there are a lot more Adobe users than Lynda subscribers who have paid goodly one-time sums for their licenses. But I’m sure there are many in that big group who paid more still for graphics, imaging and video software which was provided by vendors no longer in business or by other developers who do not support their (non-competitive) products any longer. Buying a license has a life-cycle consequence – effectively, Caveat Emptor always applies.
        Shifting from this to John’s question: “… Adobe needs to do a better job winning your business. What would you find valuable?” – there’s straightaway one add-on which would surely have made the Creative Cloud much more attractive at the outset for the newcomer and even the new license holder. Adobe should have made at least one plug-in for each of the individual Workspaces (as these exist in Photoshop and Illustrator). So as to allow a new user a simplified on-ramp experience under a free trial or reduced cost subscription. So, in Photoshop, at least one plug-in for Essentials, one (important) for New in CS6, perhaps several for Photography, and so forth. These plug-ins could be expanded, supplemented, replaced, whatever, …. in the cloud, on almost the daily basis you mention for new content from Lynda.
        I actually tried to build something like this, in function, via the CS6 Extensions and Exchange scheme. Very tough, still, on that front for an independent. But not impossible – here’s a brand-new initiative which is similar, but applicable to Elements: It takes a proficient user of Elements “upwards”, towards Photoshop. I would have done a similar thing for the Creative Cloud Photoshop and Illustrator editions, but stretching “downward”. I feel it’s important because there are still lots of new entrants for all of the CS applications – maybe even an increasing number every year and every major release cycle.

  • Richard Broom — 8:36 PM on March 23, 2013

    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you…….

  • Ben — 6:06 AM on March 25, 2013

    Fascinating discussion regarding the Creative Cloud. One point I’d like to add: There are some of us creatives who work in heavily regulated and security-strong industries where using “cloud” services is forbidden (rightly or wrongly). Unfortunately this means we don’t get the latest and greatest and we have to wait for the standard 18-month updates. For whatever reason, not all of us can be on the cloud and I hope Adobe will always ensure their products can be purchased and used in a non-cloud powered way.

  • Tom Daigon — 10:30 AM on April 21, 2013

    I prefer to continue the upgrading I have done the last 13 years (at about $350) and get the next version of just the software I need which is the Production Bundle. Getting stuff I dont need doesnt sweeten the deal for me at all.

    I also prefer to have the perpetual license where I can stop shelling out $50 bucks a month and use the software until I decided to upgrade again.If economic condition dictate cutting back, I still am able to edit. Not so with the cloud.

    But then again I dont think leasing cars is a very smart thing to do either :D

    • Scott Boucher — 2:30 PM on April 21, 2013

      Not sure a car lease is the best comparison because your car isn’t getting upgrades on a regular basis like the Creative Suite software. Of course, quite a few people believe that Adobe’s record on software upgrades is a bit spotty. I think CS4 and CS5 were a bit underwhelming but CS6 was a big step forward – at least in my opinion. The bottom line is that people don’t want to be forced into upgrading if they don’t feel the value is worth it. Holding a financial gun to the heads of your customers isn’t the best way to engender good relations.

  • Zak — 3:44 PM on May 08, 2013

    Ha … ha … ha … You are kidding me right ?

  • Cheryl Olivier — 11:33 AM on May 09, 2013

    I refuse to use this system. Once new work is undertaken in the new programs you won’t be able to access them unless you pay Adobe the subscription. What happens when all your work is in their ‘subscription’ program? They’ll be able to charge whatever they want.

    No thanks. I’ll stick to CS6 for as long as possible but will give Quark another try in the near future. No more Adobe for me.

  • Scott Boucher — 3:17 PM on May 09, 2013

    Just found out today that our agency has decided to stick with CS6 for as long as possible and hope that circumstances change in the next year or two. It was pretty painful to make the switch from Quark to InDesign but I think part of the plan is to watch what happens in the industry and either move back to Quark, hope Adobe adjusts CC to make it more reasonable or perhaps see if new alternative options come out in the next year or two.

  • Giorgio — 6:18 AM on May 10, 2013

    One of the “little” things that most of the “entusiast” commenters above don’t keep in mind, is the COULD NOT revert back to CS5-6 if they want: the files are not backward compatible, they are NOW, but Adobe already told they will not be in the next future, as soon as the “upgrades” start.

    They COULD NOT stop the upgrade process if their hardware is a bit older than what Adobe wants for their softwares, so if your pc is a bit old, one day you can find yourself in this situation: the software stops functioning. You panic because you have to deliver a job for a client. You start your old CS6, and you discover you can’t read/use your files!
    You start screaming…

    Another thing you don’t account for, is that you will become “hostage” of Adobe. Until now, I can stop upgrading and still get work done with my old CS2. Now, suddenly, you can no more: once you stop paying, you stop working.

    And for the “professionals”: I’m a professional myself, but work is not always a costant flow of money for a little professionist doing illustrations and designs, and when money get blocked because your clients maybe go bankrupt, you should have an option to “wait” to upgrade your software and continue working. With Adobe, you can’t. You die.

    If you are still happy with it, cheers for you, for me I will start searching for alternative ways of doing my work, sorry.

  • Pete Gould — 3:05 PM on May 14, 2013

    I own a video production company. My company has been in business since 2000 and I have been in the industry since the late 1980s. I have been involved with computers since I was building them from kits in the 1970s. In other words, I’m not new to the party.

    I also don’t (ever) work with pirated software. I have owned a license for every single bit of software I have EVER possessed. This is not about wanting something for nothing.

    So here’s the problem. The relationship between software company and customer exists in a balance. Each party has an amount of power in that relationship, as well as competing motivations and needs. As a publicly held company, the software company wants to minimize expenses and maximize revenue, because these things are necessary to hold its share price up (otherwise stockholders bail and the company goes bust). There’s NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS as long as the other side of the equation also works. To wit: customers want cool new features that make their work easier or more lucrative or enhance their creativity, and they want them for the lowest possible price.

    When (in the traditional model) the software company comes out with an upgrade, customers will pay for it IF the features are attractive to them and IF the price is acceptable to them. If the features are uninteresting or the price is too high, they won’t buy and will instead continue to use the version they most recently paid for. This introduces a countervailing force and motivates the company to continue innovating and keep control over prices. As long as those oppositional forces are in balance the relationship is healthy.

    What forced migration to the cloud does is to transfer most of the customers’ power to the company. This is at least true in my industry; maybe it’s not in yours. You be the judge. In video production, a “project” consists of an Adobe Premiere project file, often with one or more imported Adobe AfterEffects projects and Adobe Audition projects as well as layered Photoshop and/or Illustrator files whose layers can be independently animated. These file formats are all proprietary to Adobe as is the relationship between the files. A project created a year from now is likely to contain attributes unrecognizable to CS6 applications and therefore is unlikely to be backward-compatible.

    This means that the pain of subsequent migration to another platform is much greater in a CC model than a CS model (where the user always has a perpetual license to the software that was used to create any existing projects). Under CC, if one stops paying, one loses access to the applications and therefore to all the projects that depend upon them.

    This increased migration pain means customers are likely to endure more abuse under CC than they would under CS before they finally migrate. Merely failing to have attractive innovations in future upgrades will probably not provide sufficient incentive. Slowly increasing the subscription fee will also not move people who are already trapped into a CC-only relationship, at least not right away.

    So how high could those fees go? Well, I can tell you that my company was surveyed by Adobe about making this move nearly two years ago, and at the time the fee they were floating was not $50/month. It was $150/month. I believe the $50 monthly fee announced this year is a lowball fee intended to get the majority of customers to switch over quietly. I believe if this happens without incident the rate will go to $150 pretty quickly. No doubt Adobe intends to tune the amount to maximize revenue, where increased fees from people who remain exceed what is lost from customers who leave.

    So my prediction for Adobe if they succeed in this move: innovation will stagnate since they make the same money whether they innovate or not (one of the primary risks of the subscription model), rates rapidly increase over the next two years or so and then increase more slowly (but never remain the same), and no user will ever have access to their software again without paying an unending monthly fee.

    Also, if this works for Adobe, other software companies will follow suit. Expect to pay a monthly fee for Windows or Mac OS, for every plugins package you own and for all other productivity software from Office suites to Quickbooks or whatever you happen to use to manage your business. And each of those fees will be tuned upward as companies explore what the market will bear.

    Anyone who is fine with this move by Adobe may want to consider whether you are also fine with where this leads.

    • Mike — 7:57 PM on May 14, 2013

      Well put!

    • Martin Liddament — 11:18 PM on June 05, 2013

      A very accurate assessment. It is definitely worth projecting the situation forwards several years. People are forgetting the total value locked up in those files. Time, training, a proportion of upgraded hardware costs. Under subscription, as new features manifest themselves in layers, I would not be able to use CS6 to edit the files should I leave the Cloud model. However, if in 2023 I held a boxed copy of CS12 or whatever the version would be by then, I could still access that value. Not so with the subscription model, should I cancel. I wonder if Adobe are putting the source code into escrow every time they update and making continuity arrangements? If not, what would happen if they suddenly went bust in a few years time and there was still no credible alternative? Imagine the total, unaccessible value of work across the world’s creative industries.

  • Bp — 7:01 PM on June 13, 2013

    Yes john “half million” FREE signups..seriously?!!

    [No, half a million paid, and 2 million+ free, just like it says at the top of the post on which you’re commenting. –J.]

    You’re sounding desperate.

    [And you’re sounding illiterate. –J.]

    Again why dont you buy the cloud for all you NAPP member as part of membership and give them a discount if possible.

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