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May 06

Adobe Goes Cloud Only – They’re right about one thing…

home_bat-cloud2Adobe announced today that they are moving all Creative Suite applications to the Creative Cloud and the Creative Cloud only.  That is, Adobe Photoshop CS6 (and the other CS6 applications) will be the last stand-alone pieces of software of their kind.  From now on, all future versions will require a monthly subscription to use them.

Their slogan for this is: It’s time for a change.

They’re right about that.  It’s time for a change away from Adobe.  This tactic is a giant slap in the face to loyal customers of Adobe and to enthusiast creatives the world over.

I have been a loyal Photoshop customer since Photoshop 6.  Not CS6, but plain old 6.  I have purchased upgrades for Photoshop 7, CS2, CS5 and CS6.

What are the details:

Here is Adobe’s official announcement.  The nuts and bolts are: Standalone Creative Suite applications will no longer be developed.  Customers can purchase monthly access to single applications for $20 per month each, or the entire Creative Suite for $50 per month.  Existing CS owners can lock in a reduced rate of $30 per month for one year.  Oh, and that little fine print…the full Creative Suite subscription will require annual commitments, so if you sign up for Creative Suite, you’re looking at $600 every year to continue using the whole suite.

Adobe’s letter sounds all puppies and roses, doesn’t it?  And, for many creative professionals, it IS a good thing.  If you are a professional photographer or graphic artist and regularly use multiple Creative Suite programs, and regularly update them all to the latest version, then the $50 monthly fee for the entire Creative Suite isn’t that bad of a deal.  Sure, it’s $600 a year, but that’s for all the Creative Suite applications. That’s really not that bad a deal, overall.  (until you get to the caveat of long-term ownership, but that might not be a big deal for many).

However, if you only use, say, ONE of the Creative Suite programs, then it’s $20 a month.  That’s $240 a year.  Think about that.  $240 a year to be able to USE the program.  The only CS program I use is Photoshop, and my upgrade to CS6 cost me $200.  I upgraded to CS6 from CS5, which I had purchased 15 months earlier (right when both came out).  So, that upgrade cost me $13.30 per month to stay on the latest version.  That’s a lot of money for me, but worth it for Photoshop in my opinion.  Now, in order to upgrade, they want to charge me over 50% more for the upgrade, and the best part is: I don’t even own the upgrade.  If I EVER stop paying that monthly fee….it all goes away, and I’m back on CS6.

So, Adobe thinks that this is a great new frontier of connected collaboration, all while giving a hearty “screw you” to its loyal consumers.  They think I’ll be overjoyed at having to pay the equivalent of $300 to stay current on Photoshop, and then CONTINUE to pay for, well, forever…if I want to keep using the product.

This isn’t going to harm big media companies…for them, it makes perfect sense.  They stay ultra current while being able to meter out their software costs over time and drop them when it makes sense to drop them.  But the enthusiast photographer, or small business graphic artist?  This is just highway robbery.  I have NO NEED for the Creative Cloud features…I just want continued improvements in Photoshop and Lightroom.

Luckily, Lightroom (for the time being), will be exempt from this online requirement, and will still be offered as a standalone product that can be purchased.  I’ll probably continue to upgrade Lightroom as long as the features warrant it and the price remains reasonable.  But unless Adobe backtracks from this decision, Adobe Photoshop CS6 will be my last version of Photoshop.

About the author

Jordan Steele

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Admiring Light; Photographer; Electrical Engineer and Dad

18 comments

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  1. Ed Brooks

    fascinating developments in centralization by huge multinationals. I’ve been a PS user since version 3 came out in 1993. Cloud be dammed, the real issue with me is this. I live in a community. My neighbours live in the same community. I shop with them and they will me. Money circulates. I am still using PS5 [and LR4] because I have been able to purchase upgrades at the local computer store. I have not purchased CS6- because I have not been able to buy an upgrade locally. Sure I can buy it online and zziiiiiiiiip – the money leaves my community and nobody benefits. This is a big sucking sound and I won’t buy in. Little guys like me have supported Adobe but I have not and will not send all my purchases to a foreign land where nobody in community gets a taste. My well being is contingent on my neighbours. Make it available here and I’ll buy. There are other alternatives.

  2. Joetsu

    So what are some of the alternatives?

  3. Libby

    Jordan our right the large entities will buy in and the program even benefits them. While I haven’t read the new plan’s fine print, I think the real screwing here will be for small shops who use more than one application, but not the whole suite, like Photoshop and Illustrator. Personally I know no one who owns the entire suite and is highly proficient at all applications. So what a hose job.

    I’ve been an adobe user since 1997. I stopped my upgrades at CS2 when all of the crap started and things started to be come fractured. I really do’ need snazzy new features included in the upgrades. I use a non adobe program for raw, and all of my postwork could still pretty much be done in PS 7 if I really needed to. Maybe others will become wise to the upgrade mania nonsense and just continue to use what they have,

  4. Karl

    For most people Elements will suffice I guess. Honestly I only use Lightroom and that’s not affected. There is always GIMP and Corel.

  5. Andreas

    I really hope, that this cloud-model will not be a model for other companies.

    Otherwise we have to pay monthly for the operations-system like windows, for the writing-programm like word and so on.

    On this account we have to stop Adobe with this business model.

    Best regards
    Andreas

    1. Jordan Steele

      Microsoft already does this with the new version of Office. The big difference is, Microsoft ADDED a subscription service for Office ($10/mo for 5 licenses)…but, if you still want to pay for a perpetual license and buy an outright boxed copy, you can. Adobe has taken that option off the table, and that’s why people are so upset.

  6. Jon

    I haven’t used a full Photoshop since version 7. I’ve found that Elements has all that I need for my edits, but I’m also not their target market and really don’t like going into Photoshop unless I absolutely have too. So as much as I don’t like the decision, it won’t affect me.

    The scary part of this is if Adobe eventually does this with Lightroom. It’s not just editing your pictures that could come to an end if you don’t pay, but potentially all of your tagging, raw edits, collections and so forth. Since Lightroom is so much more than just an image editor, this to me is unacceptable.

    I don’t know if Adobe would ever make Lightroom subscription only (they have said ‘no plans as of yet’), but just the thought of having my primary Digital Asset Management software be able to be ‘turned off’ because I didn’t pay or lack of an internet connection is downright scary. I have a feeling I won’t be the only one starting to look more closely at Capture 1 or something similar.

    Speaking of which… anyone have opinions on LR alternatives?

  7. Eric

    “Highway robbery” this is the right term!
    Didn’t we have a similar scenario with macromedia? Adobe bought Macromedia to eliminate a competitor, gets Dreamweaver and Freehand. Freehand (a brilliant graphic tool) is now replaced by illustrator (complex, bulky…).
    I need to work with Photoshop + Indesign and the most important – Acrobat for pre-press.
    What shall I do?

  8. Rich

    Subscription makes sense if you can pay as you go: lighter rates for lighter users. But this does not seem to be Adobe’s model. Is the subscription rate not the same for light and heavy users? Purchasers of the previous products tended to pay the same price per product, unless you were a volume buyer. To get good value for money in individual buyer needed to use an expensive product a lot.
    I would not object if the subscription were more like a mobile phone ‘PAYG’ approach, where a subscriber could opt for a light user price one month, and heavy at another time. Reference ‘Giffgaff’ mobile in the UK where ‘goodybags’ of varying numbers of minutes, texts and data can be purchased for one month at a time.
    As for LR replacement: I like Aperture on the Mac, using it for detailed photo adjustments and for publishing books, albums, slideshows and individual prints. For light users, iPhoto might be an option. Although I have PS, InDesign, Illustrator, I am tending to use Aperture with Pages of all programs for publishing as, for me, it is so much faster and produces great results on screen and in print. I do use GIMP for its layering capability: not a complete alternative to PS but good for many jobs.

    1. Ed

      And there was always the option NOT to upgrade to functionality you don’t need anyway……that is also out of the window I guess, this is classic communism at work “you buy cloud/Lada or you not buy anything, comrade” (and I thought the US of A was part of the free world :-)).

      Greets, Ed.

      1. Karl

        Woah… I know the Wall fell a while ago but Adobe actions are not communism… American education standards must have really fallen.

        Anyway Adobe is as capitalist as Henry Ford was. “The customer can have any color Model-T as long as its black”. When you dominate the market you can do anything you want. Capitalism sucks short-term but I hope the market will use this opportunity to create a real competitor.

  9. Ed

    Now, there there ((C) Big Bang Theorie),

    For the genuine Nerd (capital N) there are always posibilities. I for one have made a solid vow never to use anything other then Flash and Reader from Cowdung and Mud. Flash is on the way out since I use HTML 5.0 more and more for my 3D panorama’s.

    So how to proces?

    Step A: Think…….my printer is a Epson 2400 (antique but it is still nice) and that has a 8bit processing engine. The average .jpg on the web is 8 bit as well……so who needs 16 bit……I do, but only for large scale contrast, color and exposure actions (and for correcting CA etc.). But not for simple clone brushing an local color management (lightweight as is it).

    Step B: Prior to OM-D I used the following combination:

    1) SilkyPics (stop laughing I tell you, already damn) but only for lens correction and some large scale tasks (white balance, CA, barrel and pincushion and noise for instance), nothing fancy…..wound up with a nice 16 bit .tiff as an endresult.

    2) RawTherapee (sharpening, contrast management, some finetuning of color and microcontrast, and some noice reduction if needed) and as a result I had another 16 bit .tif

    3) GIMP 2.8 for retouching, perspective correction, some scaling and for bringing it down to an 8 bit .jpg fit for web….GIMP is tuned for the purpose with G’MIC and the GIMP Painting Suite…..

    Simple, free and no Cowdung and Mud smell anywhere.

    For the OM-D replace steps 1 and 2 by DxO and be happy again……..

    Greets, Ed.

  10. bousozoku

    I was similarly unhappy about their announcement, although paying US$49.99 for the whole suite sounds good, if you could pick and choose when you wanted to pay and use it.

    While I don’t care for Adobe Illustrator, I would like to have access to it from time to time. I have rarely used Photoshop in the last 3 years and Photoshop CS3 works fine on the older machine although they usually have some incompatibility for newer operating system versions–planned or not.

    After their announcement, I bought the latest version of Photoshop Elements, which was US$40 cheaper than usual. I have no need for Lab Color and I can output the correct files and do most edits with Phase One Capture One 7 Pro.

  11. Brett Valentine

    CC = good idea for some, CC ONLY = greed and a lack of character to the rest of us. . .

  12. Charles

    Adobe is clearly intend on losing long standing customers.

    1. Tim L

      Sad to say, Adobe’s move appears to have been highly successful. As repugnant as the idea of granting Adobe what is essentially a lifetime income stream from each user who wishes to retain full editing access to his/her images, it seems we are in the minority.

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  14. John Wright

    Yes, Adobe blew it as far as I’m concerned, even if the price was lowered to $10/month… that outstrips my upgrade cost. As a hobbyist, it makes no sense to pay an ongoing fee.

    I started investigating other editors and raw converters as a result, and I’ve found some gems.

    I’m currently a Windows user, with my eye on Linux.

    My tests are ongoing, but for editors I have tried Corel Paint Shop Pro (I have X1, picked it up for $30), Picture Window Pro (under $100), Paint.net (free), and GIMP (free). PSP is very good and similar to PS, but slow. I had trouble getting used to PWP, but it has a strong following and is worth a look. I used GIMP prior to getting a digital camera, but bought Photoshop for the 16-bits-per-color channel support. GIMP is fairly close to having higher bit depth support, and I expect I’ll switch back at that time.

    In the raw converters, I have tried RawTherapee, Photivo, Darktable (via linux laptop), Aftershot pro (formerly bibble), Capture one, Photo Ninja, Canon’s DPP4 (Canon only) and DxO Optics. RawTherapee is pretty fast and intuitive, but sometimes I have trouble matching colors. Photivo is harder to learn and a tad slower but very powerful. Darktable runs quickly under Linux but I haven’t used it enough to say much. Aftershot pro was horrible. I can’t even describe that one. I didn’t like the Capture one interface. Photo Ninja wasn’t intuitive to me, and I have trouble with color balance in some images. DPP4 has come a long way but it’s only good for full-frame Canon users, but DPP gives the most accurate colors most of the time, and has very good lens corrections (again, Canon only). My favorite turns out to be DxO. The defaults are a bit over-the-top for color and contrast but I found it easy to adjust, and the lens corrections are top notch.

  1. Adobe’s Creative Cloud » The Roving Photographer -

    [...] Admiring Light shares some thoughts that fall into line with my own: Adobe Goes Cloud Only – They’re right about one thing… [...]

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