Creative Cloud crossroads: Will Adobe users flee in droves?

On Monday Adobe kicked off its MAX conference in Los Angeles with news that it it had ceased active development of its Creative Suite 6 products in favor of Creative Cloud instead. Moving forward, if you want the latest innovations to key Adobe apps like Photoshop, InDesign and After Effects, you're going to have to pay a monthly fee instead of buying a license to use a copy of the software in perpetuity.

This move isn't sitting well with many vocal Adobe customers on the Internet. Gathering places for creatives who use Adobe software lit up yesterday afternoon and evening with complaints and concerns about the move. Some customers don't want to be tied to Adobe's DRM technology, which enforces a monthly connection to make sure you're keeping your account current. Others rankle at the idea of paying any sort of subscription fee to use software. Adobe's decision to deprecate Fireworks is pissing off people too.

That's not to say that Adobe's decision has been universally panned. In the year since Adobe introduced Creative Cloud, more than half a million customers have jumped on board with the $50 a month service, and even more have kicked Creative Cloud's tires with a free trial - about 2 million, according to Adobe's estimates. Many people see the value of it (disclaimer: I'm a subscriber), and I'm sure Adobe appreciates the continuous and fairly predictable revenue stream of more than $25 million every month, and growing.

But 500,000 customers represents only a portion of Adobe's overall installed user base. Adobe has its work cut out for it, to convince everyone that they need to make the switch to Creative Cloud.

What's at stake for Adobe

Creative Cloud solves some very real and persistent problems for Adobe. Zee Kane, CEO of The Next Web, hit one nail on the head last year when he said, "Adobe's main competitor in this space isn’t competing products interestingly enough; it's Bit Torrent."

Piracy is a huge issue for software developers, and piracy of high-priced software like Photoshop and other Creative Suite products has been a huge, perennial loss for Adobe. Creative Cloud is an attempt to staunch that flow by turning Adobe's portfolio into Software As A Service (SAAS) instead.

Switching to Creative Cloud development also offers Adobe and its users an advantage when it comes to the development cycle of products: No longer are we trapped in a cycle of monolithic updates, waiting years for to get new features. With Creative Cloud, Adobe can add features to existing apps, or roll out entirely new apps all together whenever they're ready. We've seen the company do this a number of times already, and Adobe says that's the direction it'll continue to head in in the future.

Piracy is a huge issue for software developers, and piracy of high-priced software like Photoshop and other Creative Suite products has been a huge, perennial loss for Adobe.

What's more, Adobe's trying to sweeten the pot to get more people on board. If you only use Photoshop, for example, you can subscribe only to Photoshop, at a lower price than the full Creative Cloud package. Creative Suite 3 - 5 users can get a break on their first year of Creative Cloud membership, and CS6 owners get an even bigger break. Students and teachers can also get a reduced rate. And Adobe will allow you to install your Creative Cloud apps on two machines you use simultaneously, effectively doubling the license for no cost. Have a computer at work and another one at home you want to work from? No need for separate licenses.

Users also get the added benefit of 20GB of online storage, connectivity to Behance, a popular and rapidly expanding portfolio-sharing site for creative professionals, and the promise of increased productivity through technology like cloud-based settings files, so when you move to a new machine with a fresh installation of software, all of your tools, palettes and settings will be configured the way you want them to be.

And if you stalwartly refuse to buy into Creative Cloud, Adobe will continue to sell you CS6. They even promise it'll work with the next major operating system updates from Apple and Microsoft. Just don't count on it to work indefinitely in the future. And don't expect any more features than what you have today.

Those who don't learn from history

During his preamble on stage at the MAX keynote Monday, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen recalled the introduction of Adobe's page layout software, InDesign, at the now-defunct Seybold trade show in Boston in 1999. Narayen was then a new VP at Adobe, and InDesign was the first product he oversaw the launch of. Narayen said that InDesign was touted as a "Quark-killer," referring to the then-dominant page layout software of the era, QuarkXPress.

I was at that show too. My career up to that point was as an IT manager for creative departments - graphic designers, page layout artists and photographers who depended on Macs as the basis for their digital workflow. I remember things a bit differently. Because what I remember the most was how much we hated Quark, not how much we loved InDesign.

Adobe's K2 project - the code-name for InDesign - was no secret in the publishing business. We knew it was coming and wanted to see what Adobe had up its sleeve. Adobe and Quark had a contentious relationship from the mid 1990s on, after Adobe acquired Aldus, developer of PageMaker, one of the very first desktop publishing programs for the Mac. In fact, Quark - the then-800 pound gorilla of the desktop publishing market - actually threatened to acquire Adobe and divest it of PageMaker in order to kill the competition.

Quark had developed a very well-deserved reputation as a bully that disrespected its rivals, disrespected its customers and generally was unpleasant to work with. It threw its weight around because there really was no alternative; Adobe had done very little with PageMaker. Quark had a lock on the publishing industry, and it could do what it wanted. All of us held our noses and used (or in my case, supported users of) QuarkXPress, but the software had very few champions who really loved it.

Adobe can't afford to allow Creative Cloud to become an unwieldy licensing, compliance and update management hairball.

There was certainly a lot of interest in InDesign, but very few people jumped on it right away. Especially in corporate settings, companies had made a huge investment in heavily customized QuarkXPress-based workflows, and were far from throwing all that effort and money away on an unproven product. That first release caught the eye of many creative professionals, but consensus at the time was that it was a work in progress - fine for some things, but not quite ready for what I need it to do.

That changed. Quark's attitude didn't really change, and eventually the market would shift to InDesign. But it would take time. On day one, InDesign was no Quark killer.

Almost a decade and a half later, Adobe runs a risk of alienating the same customers that flocked to it when InDesign matured enough - and Adobe worked hard enough - to win away QuarkXPress customers. Where Adobe has to tread particularly carefully is near the corporate IT and creative management staff – Adobe can't afford to allow Creative Cloud to become an unwieldy licensing, compliance and update management hairball.

Where would they go?

While there are some alternatives to Adobe software, and some very reasonably-priced options, there isn't an "Adobe-killer" waiting in the wings. There are plenty of independent software developers out there who offer bits and pieces that could nicely replace individual Adobe apps, but nothing with the giant marketing and development budget that Adobe has.

Still, I've seen a lot of comments from users who are certain that indie apps can fill their needs. Acorn and Pixelmator get mentioned a lot as Photoshop replacements, for example, and Skala has just been teased for interface design. So Adobe's decision to focus on Creative Cloud may certainly benefit smaller independent software developers, and leaves the door open for competition.

Adobe is likely to lose some low end customers - freelancers and others who only occasionally need or want to use Adobe software, but don't have an overwhelming need to use Adobe products all day, every day, to get their work done. Those customers may have even made a significant investment in Adobe products in the past and use the products because that's what they know, but they either can't or won't justify a $50 per month fee to use Adobe products.

Ultimately Adobe sees its future in building an ecosystem around creatives and companies that see the value of paying a monthly fee in return for an entire spectrum of creative tools and services. With its announcements yesterday, Adobe has made it pretty clear that if you're not on board with Creative Cloud, you're going to be left behind.

Are you a Creative Cloud user? Are you giving up on Adobe all together? Let us know in the comments.

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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There are 59 comments. Add yours.

Rene Ritchie says:

I went from Creative Suite 4 to Creative Cloud for CS6, and I love it. There are way too many products, but many of them are very, very good.

I wish Adobe was as aggressive with rejuvenating their products as they are with adapting their business model.

emjayess says:

You nailed here: "Adobe is likely to lose some low end customers - freelancers and others who only occasionally need or want to use Adobe software, but don't have an overwhelming need to use Adobe products all day, every day, to get their work done. Those customers may have even made a significant investment in Adobe products in the past and use the products because that's what they know, but they either can't or won't justify a $50 per month fee to use Adobe products."

That would be me. What a bummer. I will just get by with CS6 for as long as possible--probably not that much in the CC updates that I really NEED; but, there's probably some bells and whistles that I might WANT! ;-) But now they've cut me out. I guess they're really only going after the pros. Oh well.....

Moi76 says:

Same here. I will use CS6 as long as possible. Already seeing some files from clients using newer versions, but I will just ask them to save backwards for me. It's discouraging to me that Adobe doesn't offer a freelance deal similar to a student deal. We operate on a much thinner budget and provide a great service. There should be a $30/mo. option for professional freelancers. I'm a member of Freelancers Union. Would be nice to see such an offer for members.

rrife says:

They probably need to offer different bundling price points due to the fact that not all users have the same needs. But considering that, the $50/mo price is probably affordable to most, if not all, customers that use Adobe products who try to keep up with the latest version.

jasondeno says:

I've used Photoshop since v2.0. I think I bought a copy of Adobe Premiere once in the 90s. Other than that, I used hacked copies for my creative things until I switched to the cloud version last year. Coming clean AND having all the suite has been fantastic.

Somewhere in that statement is probably the same reason why many users (not legit owners on all machines used) are upset.

northstahr says:

Yeah, I'm out. Can't justify paying a monthly fee. I'm beginning my search for alternatives now.

SoggyTempura says:

I doubt that...

When someone says that (and maybe I'm wrong) - it sounds more like "I can't justify paying for software I use". When CC actually saves people money over buying upfront, you know there is some BS going around when someone claims they can't "afford" it or "justify" it.

unraveledideas says:

I'm not out, but I'm certainly not in. I bought CS in an every other cycle. Macromedia Studio MX -> CS2 -> CS4. Was going to buy CS6, but 4 works great for my needs. Not sure if I'll go with CC or find other options only because I don't know if there are other options. The thing I know is that IF a company out there such as Panic, Pixelmator or other decided to build an app for web design I'd give it a good hard look.

rcpblue says:

Soggy (aka adobe evangelist), You come across pretty bitter and clueless. I own the master suite 5.5. And have been a loyal customer for over 15 years. To Upgrade lets say to CS6 is just $547. Adobe's upgrades to their software are on average only worth pursuing every two to three years. So if you breakdown the cost for me to upgrade Im only spending $180+ a year over 3 years. I neither am a "pirate" nor a student but a pro in my field in multi media design here in NYC, producing multi media for major museums throughout the world and broadway. Im a busy guy and I dont want to have to keep babysitting my software every 180 days.So your claim below of " just spending another $600 to $1200/yr" is just stupid, screw you. Plus I called Adobe and no, can tell you the subscription price wont go up next year or the year after that..Again I should pay more for upgrades i might not use???? My software that I licensed/own in perpetuity should just work not become a monthly or bimonthly thing to add to my list of crap to maintain...Look if you like the cloud then keep it. I dont't want the cloud, nor the hassle and want the upgrade price to buy the "CS7 Suite" Adobe promised me when I purchased the CS5.5 Master collection. Just make the offer to do both!!
Look if you also got to the forums. Type in the word "Cloud" and see how many people cannot access their account or folders...never have this problem on my own machine.

ericb007 says:

Agreed. I use various pieces of CS from different versions I've purchased over the years. I only upgrade when hardware or OS is incompatible. I use Photoshop for a living and support a family myself. I cannot afford the time to keep up with all the upgrades nor the rental fees. This is pathetic. Adobe has gone too far. If they were smart, they'd give us a choice to rent or buy!

Loringe says:

Adobe's tendency is develop and target for the latest and greatest hardware. I'd like to understand how this continuous subscription model will work when dealing with older hardware?

bucksommerkamp says:

So anyone who says "I can't justify paying a monthly fee" must not have a water bill or an internet connection or a cell phone. I liken Creative Cloud to something like the 100GB version of Dropbox: you need it, it's a valuable tool, you pay for it monthly, you deduct it on your taxes as a business expense just like your mileage or business electric bill, and it serves you well until you find a cheaper or free alternative, and even then, you might not switch away from it because it just works. To anyone who's even marginally serious about their work (freelance or full-time), this is still an insanely small investment in the very tool set they probably use EVERY DAY for creative projects that might bill out for hundreds or thousands of dollars each. Wouldn't it be nice if our smartphone contracts or super-fast internet connections were $30 a month?

unraveledideas says:

Agreed, but the cost is higher than buying CS on a 2 year cycle. Not only that, but what happens in a year when the price jumps from $50/month to $70/month. I'm not going to argue the value because it's there. I'm just not happy from a getting locked. I used to use Dreamweaver then I found Coda. If another piece of SW comes out that is close to Photoshop/Fireworks for web design I'd give it a try. Maybe Adobe won't miss my measly $1k ever other year, but it certainly leaves them some risk. I know my employer (a large printing company) is actively looking for alternatives as well for the 50+ licenses we have. He doesn't like the idea of having giving Adobe the ability to say tomorrow it's $75/month and if you don't subscribe you don't have any business where now he can say "We'll skip this version."

SoggyTempura says:

What CS software you referring to? If you use only one, it's $20/m or $240/yr. That's cheaper than buying $600 software (Photoshop), even if you buy at 2 years ($480). If you do the entire suite (plus all new software that comes out in the year) it's currently $600/yr or $1,200/2yr. That's still cheaper than buying the suite upfront. The difference is instead of putting hundreds or thousands of dollars up-front, you are spreading it over a year. When you do the 1 year plan, the price is locked for that 12 month period. This is going into year 2 for me (just renewed), and the price for membership still hasn't gone up (not saying it never will) for annual agreements.

So if you spend roughly $1k every other year, it sounds like you are doing upgrades to the Master Suite. Even then --- the difference between what you currently do and CC is $200. In that, you are also getting all new updates, all new software, access to additional services, access to mobile applications and 20GB of cloud storage. I still think it sounds reasonable. But I guess I'm in a different boat. :)

skellener says:

If you purchased the updates every other version (as many people do) it was about $400 every three years to update (18 month cycle for an update so 36 months for two updates). Approx. $11. a month (36 months). Much better than $50. and you always had an option whether you wanted to get the next version or not. It was your choice when you wanted to pay for the upgrade. That is gone now.

Some Gui says:

Bingo, this is one big reason some people, myself included, hate Cloud.

Derrick4Real says:

i need water to bath and to not die within three days. Photoshop is not close to a necessity. And there are other ways to accomplish the same tasks. In this world there is nothing that i'm trying to pay more for. products should be getting cheaper with time not more expensive. Regardless, i'm not marginally serious so like the article says they'd lose a casual user like me.

Jon Krop says:

We're used to owning the software after paying for it ... we don't want to pay to play every month.

I've been a freelancer for 15 years, and I want to keep legacy copies of software - because sometimes apps change or are discontinued, and my long term clients sometimes ask or need me to revisit or repurpose those old documents rather than have to recreate them in a new app from scratch.

deborah0302 says:

With Dropbox, you are paying for the storage on their server, which they have to pay for as infrastructure. Comparing Cloud CS to a utility like water or internet is fallacious - CS is a self-contained product, it does not require huge investment in reservoirs, generators, networks of pipe and wires, like a true utility does. They are not giving you anything for this fee but what you were able to own before, for less than the fee they are now charging.

Jay Doughty says:

This is an extra bill on top of all the other bills dude. It's 50 more dollars per month. MORE dollars per month. It's probably nice to be a trust-fund kid, but some people have to scrape to get by, especially us freelancers.

Derrick4Real says:

i'm don't need adobe anything for work. but i have photoshop c-something or other on my desktop. I wanted to start using lightroom too. Oh and i had have premiere though its not installed. I'd can honestly say there is zero chance i'd use a software i have to pay a monthly fee. I don't remotely use it enough. And when i switch to mac, there will be final cut to replace premiere. Interestingly, i've began to question if i'll get the new version of xbox because it also may require constant internet plus i hate paying a fee to use the xbox live services. when my current live account ended i simply didn't renew. not worth it. A Playstation may be in my future. But i'd guess there are many of people fed up with ever company wanting to nickle and dime me on a monthly fee.

SoggyTempura says:

Not really sure what Xbox or Playstation have to do with Adobe since the software doesn't require Internet to operate. This software is installed on your computer, and you can use the programs offline for up to 180 days before you have to reactivate them (if you don't verify registration once a month).

Derrick4Real says:

they are analogus. Xbox live and Adobe both will require a monthly fee. Playstation has no fee. I don't want to pay monthly fees. It's rumored both the next xbox will be required to be online to play games regardless of whether it's a multiplayer. that's what this sounds like from adobe, it will require a connection simply to use. so you're forcing people to pay extra to use what they already bought. Good luck. not gonna do it. I'm not buying software for just 180 days. Never gonna happen.

SoggyTempura says:

And both are luxuries, not necessities.

Again -- the CC doesn't require an Internet connection to use the software. You can go 180 days without every having to connect to the Internet. At that point you only have to connect to confirm your subscription. That's it.

Derrick4Real says:

nowhere in that post did i claim either was a necessity.

First if you need it every 180 days you need an internet connections.

And the point of my post is it requires a fee. I'm not paying a fee. you conveniently ignored that point.

Regardless, i'm not not using it. I can use what i have or Gimp or other solutions.

SoggyTempura says:

It's not a "fee", it's a service you pay for. I assume since you are so against "fees" that you pirated your copy of "c-something"?

deborah0302 says:

It certainly is a "fee". Software is not a utility like water, electricity, gas or internet access - it is a self-contained product that does not require a significant, maintenance-heavy hardware infrastructure like generators, reservoirs, wire and pipe networks. Calling it a "service" as if it were comparable to these is fallacious.

I own CS since 2 and have upgraded through 6. I am opposed to fees, and to being bullied into paying perpetually for a product that has few, if any, features left to add that I find valuable and that I can't work without.

Jay Doughty says:

i just wanted to say thanks for paying Adobe so they were able to survive. It's really people like you that make it possible for the poor kids to use great software. Thanks so much

SoggyTempura says:

CC user, and LOVE it. Yeah -- I don't use all the applications, but I have full access to all the ones I need, and last year I got exclusive access to new ones like Edge before the general public could, which was cool. When I signed up last year, I was getting the upgrade promotion for $30/m for a year commitment. This year, I'm getting CC for $20/m for being a student due to a new promotion going on until late June.

This service isn't for everyone, and Adobe knows this. Clearly though, they have looked at their numbers and found this is the most feasible route for them to go at this time. There is nothing to say they won't back down later in the years.

I'm not a hobbyist, so maybe I have found more value in this software than the ones complaining (particularly on cnet). Even at $50/m ($600/yr), it's still a better value than paying $2k+ up-front. Heck, it's even a good deal for people that want only Photoshop. Photoshop is around $600 for retail, and for a year of CC it's about $240. Adobe also let's you pay for the year upfront (if you want), so that's "kind of" like buying the Master Suite upfront, but instead of $2k+ it's only $600.

This really isn't a losing situation for anyone that uses the software with real purpose.

Will "Adobe users (customers)" flee? Probably not. Will "Adobe pirates"? Most likely.

Nathan Grey says:

Soggy, I think you are mistaken if you believe this will curb pirating. As long as the software has the ability to work offline, someone will find a way to crack it. Personally, I think this is more a move to stick it to those that only upgrade every other cycle or every three years or so. I have never been a fan of renting software. Even now, I prefer to buy disks over using Steam. Why? If Steam goes out of business, I'm screwed.

SoggyTempura says:

Yeah it will curb pirating. It won't stop it, of course.

Photoshop is one of the top pirated applications on the Internet. These new plans are absolutely affordable for anyone that was originally pirating because of the original cost-of-entry barrier. At $20/m, there is no excuse to pirate this software other than just not wanting to pay for something they use.

Some Gui says:

It's not the pirates that CC sticks it too. Sure it'll slow them down while they figure out new ways to crack Adobe's DRM, but it'll happen and it'll be just as popular as CS--remember, people still pirate $50 games--not $50/month games, $50 perpetual license games.

Who this REALLY hurts are the users who legally own their Adobe software but didn't upgrade every version. I say this because I'm one of those. If I were a pirate, I wouldn't care--I'd just wait a few months, download CC, then the crack and my world would never change.

Chris Pettit says:

Why are people like you so willing to dismiss people who oppose mandatory CC?
Let me post this for the 1000th time:

I AM NOT A PIRATE. I HAVE PAID FOR ADOBE PRODUCTS (EVERY UPGRADE) SINCE CS BEGAN. I WILL NOT SUBSCRIBE.

This IS a losing situation for significant segments of the Adobe legal user population. Adobe dismisses us at their own risk.

deborah0302 says:

Seconded here, owner since CS2 and upgraded through CS6.

sfwrtr says:

I'm a Photoshop user, though my primary use is the Camera Raw plug-in. I would have no use for anything but Photoshop. If the SAAS model ends up costing me more, I will not be a happy camper. Upgrading for $150 or so every 18 months or so (as I have done since version 3 of PS) works just fine, and doesn't lock me into a monthly payment or connectivity issue. There are other raw converters out there and GIMP could handle the light-weight PS manipulation I do. I hope that Adobe doesn't decide to support its accountants and the expense of its customers.

FlyingV79 says:

My first thought is that they better make the update worth it for CS6 users to jump on board right away. Then I thought as a professional we are often forced to upgrade because clients that supply files to us will. Then you also realize that Adobe has been it harder and harder to create backwards compatible files. I can't help but feel that Adobe are going to have to do a incredible job with services, support and marketing to pull this off without a significant backlash.

Rustychuck says:

So you never actually fully own the software?!! You pay your $50 a month and after a year it's still not yours....where's the reward in that?? It's a bit of a harsh, elitist model IMO. If this is how adobe want to move forward then I hope an adobe killer does appear! Tis a sad day as I think a lot of people won't bother.

SoggyTempura says:

You don't own the software as it is. No change there.

This whole backlash is stupid. People are not looking at the actual numbers behind this. Most (working freelance or professional) users will save a lot of money, unless you are one of the few that only upgrade once every 3 or 4 years -- which Adobe isn't making money off you anyway so in the scheme of things, you don't really exist to begin with.

Mark Persaud says:

I am a Graphic Artist and been using Photoshop since v5 and also a big User/Fan of the Adobe Products, and I applaud Adobe for making this move which i think is going to be real good and beneficial for a lot of users out there. However where i am from the internet connection is like crap and i am sad to say that this is gonna be real hard for me to make the switch. Probably if i was living in North America i would've done switch already.

And it seems to me these days looks like you have to be rich to be an artist, maybe i will have to go back to traditional way of painting on canvas and sketching on sketch pads.

SoggyTempura says:

Why? Is your Internet connection not good enough to make a 30 second validation once a month? Or are you referring to the need to download the software onto your computer? Once the software is downloaded, it's ON your computer. You can work offline for 180 days before you are deactivated and have to revalidate again, taking that 30 seconds to do the process. Then... you get another 180 days. The Internet is not required to always be on in order for the software to operate.

Terry Pounds says:

My only gripe is that the upgrade path for Production Premium was far cheaper for me than the cost of the cloud. For me, the cost of using Adobe just went up.

I will have no choice but to sign up but I'm not thrilled about it.

SoggyTempura says:

The Production Premium upgrade ranges from $600-$900, according to a quick online search. The CC is $600/yr if you do the 1 year commitment at $50/m (or cheaper, if you are a student or upgraded user). It doesn't look like your costs are going up much, if at all, based on those numbers. Unless of course your a "blue-moon" upgrader and not an annual one.

Jon Krop says:

There's other issues as well, some places need to keep legacy software available to access archived files.

IT departments at large agencies and schools know better than to immediately roll out software updates - because there are potential software conflicts and bugs - or changes made to the programs that can cause pitfalls with deadlines and projects in progress.

Another irk about renting software is that it ends up costing more, and you don't end up with anything you can keep and use indefinitely (provided you have a computer and OS that can run it) ... I still have Director projects and old Flash files that I sometimes need to revisit for various things.

Jon Krop says:

I fail to see how paying a monthly fee for use is cheaper than paying upfront and having something to use indefinitely. In the long term, it's a much worse deal.

Czytt says:

OK, I could probably afford it now, but will I be able to for the REST OF MY LIFE? I don't know, of course, but if there ever comes a time when I can't afford it, I lose my apps at once. It's a terrible idea for any individual users.

How old are you? Do you want to pay Adobe a large monthly sum for 20 years? 40 years? 60 years? Once you've done it for more than a year, you're probably stuck - hence the initial discounts.

Adobe seem determined to cut out the non-professionals from its customer list. I wonder if they know how many there are?

SoggyTempura says:

Do you know how many there are?

CC has already garnered over half-a-million subscriptions and over 2 million free accounts - and that was before the announcement a few days ago.

Adobe has never really been about non-professionals. That is not their clientele, and probably never will be. That is why they created Elements, so the non-professionals didn't feel completely left out.

Let the big boys play with the big toys. Everyone else can keep playing with Barbie.

Cowicide says:

Rapidly Growing Petition is here: http://www.change.org/petitions/adobe-systems-incorporated-eliminate-the...

It's going to be fun once Adobe's Creative Cloud is hacked and people can't get access to their apps and files on their own computer. How long before the subscription service protocol is hacked? Hackers can disable your Creative Cloud apps remotely.

This is why this is a horrible idea for consumers, but great for Adobe to price gouge its captive customers (er, I mean "subscribers") down the road.

Adobe is just another corporation that doesn't want Americans to own the products they buy.

This won't stop piracy, instead it will hurt the paying customers. The irony will be that some of the pirated versions of Creative Cloud will be safer to use than the legit version because the pirated versions won't have a gaping hole in your computer to contact Adobe's servers or even hacker's servers who exploit the hole.

Government and business computers with sensitive information will need to hack their own Creative Cloud apps to close the security hole. Will Adobe sue them with the DMCA when people try to keep their computers secure?

Adobe thinks it can steamroll this insanity on its customers. But it's already backfiring and most customers don't want this security threat on their computers in the name of broken DRM for Adobe.

Adobe, we know that Creative Suite doesn't benefit your customers. We see through your blatant LIE.

cheesymogul says:

Although I'm already 54 I was truly shocked when calculating the cost for keeping my Adobe creative tools in use till let's say turning 80.
Here in Switzerland with the even higher monthly fee than in the U.S. this will cost me at least $24'000! Inflation adjusted this could end up at $40'000 easily.
With the perpetual license option on the other hand I probably would have to buy only 3-4 Design Standard or Premium suites for the rest of my life!

Most people do not realize, that we creative souls will most likely keep being creative even after retirement. Therefore this will de facto turn into a life-long financial commitment and no longer be tax-deductable after retirement!

Brad Barton says:

Corel PaintShop Pro is a solid alternative... Not quite as robust as photoshop, but leagues ahead of Elements... Support for brushes, layers, photoshop plugins, and more... And under $100 for full software.

I've never touched photoshop in my life and have had a thriving photography business for years. You don't need Adobe

snooty1972 says:

In principal the idea of paying a monthly amount for a service is fine. As has been stated here, we do it for lots of other services. The key difference is that in this situation you're dealing with a monopoly player in pro creative software. If I was to draw the comparison with DropBox, with DropBox I pay my monthly subscription for their service, I host my files on their cloud. My files are not in any way locked to DropBox, I can pick them up and use them with any tool. So if DropBox start charging me too much per month or provide a poor service, I can switch to another tool in minutes - Box.com, SkyDrive or any other number of comparable services that are all in a similar price range and provide a broadly similar service.

Let's now compare that to Adobe CC. Adobe have you trapped on two levels:
1. They have proprietary file formats so I have a high switching cost to other tools (not that there are many other tools because Adobe own them all). This is not new and has always been the case but I could decide not to upgrade or upgrade when I could afford to. The problem is that you now combine with with lock-in number 2
2. There are no other Creative Cloud equivalents. So unlike Dropbox I can't say I'll just switch from Adobe CC to Vendor X CC as there is no Vendor X CC. Sure there are some point solutions e.g. QuarkXPress, but not direct equivalent to every package I need.

Adobe started this process with Creative Suite - removing you the option to upgrade the package you wanted when you wanted e.g. I'll upgrade Photoshop this year and Illustrator next year.

So Adobe is able to use their monopoly position to force every one of their users to pay them monthly forever. It's a smart move financially as on average users should expect to pay 50% more to Adobe than they do currently. So Adobe has a guaranteed, consistent revenue, no longer has to deliver upgrades that demonstrate value to customers and can increase the price at any point to keep the financial markets happy and know everyone will just have to keep paying.

As I started off saying, there's nothing wrong with the idea of subscription based software so long as you have competition and choice. The reason Adobe customers are speaking up so loudly against it is no one likes to be bullied into purchasing a product with no other options. I think everyone knows that the CS6 Perpetual purchase option is just a smokescreen to give Adobe something else to point to. Consider for example that InDesign CC is 64-bit and InDesign CS6 is 32-bit. What do you think happens when Apple stop supporting 32-bit apps? You guessed it, CS6 is no longer a viable purchase option.

david mackichan says:

I read another forum and a comment about coca colas strategy for cherry coke was made. Coca cola forgot to ask the customers about how they felt about the change, or what they wanted. They repealed the decision (after time) and renamed it coca cola classic.
I pay a student rate for cs6 and its cheap, 50 bucks is way to much. Im looking foward to the camera shake tool in cc

ktmitch says:

I will just say that before I could not afford a big payment to buy the software. I love the software and now I get to use the whole package for only 50 bucks a month. I get all the updates and can use the software legally. For me I love the idea and now adobe is getting my money and a lot of others to replace all you whiners so I think its good for them. If you can't afford to pay 50 bucks a month then I understand that and sorry for your loss but for the quality of this software I think its a really fair price. No software in windows stands up to this software and you all know it so in many cases they got you. Good luck with your other 2nd rate software!

ktmitch says:

I will just say that before I could not afford a big payment to buy the software. I love the software and now I get to use the whole package for only 50 bucks a month. I get all the updates and can use the software legally. For me I love the idea and now adobe is getting my money and a lot of others to replace all you whiners so I think its good for them. If you can't afford to pay 50 bucks a month then I understand that and sorry for your loss but for the quality of this software I think its a really fair price. No software in windows stands up to this software and you all know it so in many cases they got you. Good luck with your other 2nd rate software!

deborah0302 says:

Have fun being ripped off for the rest of your design career! My "second rate" software is CS6, and I'll be sticking with that for far longer than you'll be loving your $50 monthly fee.

deborah0302 says:

I'm part of the drove that's fleeing. I just don't see the benefit to me as a designer for using Cloud over owned, installed software. I paid for CS2 and have upgraded regularly through CS6, but CS3 was the last version that introduced features I can't live without. I don't see Adobe introducing anything new or earth-shattering for their perpetual monthly fee, and you hit the nail on the head when you identified that people really loathe being bullied into a situation where their only choice is one they strongly dislike.

I'll sit tight on CS6 until it is absolutely unusable - even in a virtual environment like VirtualBox - and then I'll switch to the closest available competitor. I've been frustrated with Adobe for a long time for the rising expense of upgrades that only provide "features" like Bridge and CSLive that are useless to me, and seriously buggy behavior and instability throughout the suite with next to zero support.

This situation reminds me of MCI with their ugly, self-serving pyramid scheme, where they induced you to add the long-distance numbers of your friends to your account for lower charges, and then without telling you, they called all of those friends to badger them into buying the product. They alienated so many customers, as if it didn't matter, that five years later they were calling individual consumers and begging them to return. Not long thereafter, they were defunct. Though the situation with Adobe is not the same, the dishonest, bullying approach is. And I hope they learn the same lesson.

Marc Aragnou says:

+1 . I have used Adobe Applications since Photoshop first came out on Windows platforms in the early 90s right up to CS6. I really dislike the idea to be tied up to a subscription on a monthly basis. I've always paid a one of yearly set fee and had a choice to upgrade or not in the past at a time of my choosing. This monthly fee is only moving towards a pay per use charge in the near future IMHO and I wouldn't be surprised it will be increased at Adobe's discretion once everyone's hooked.

Batbrat says:

For more two decades I've been a supportive Adobe user and fan. They've gotten many thousands of my dollars, but they'll never see another penny from me. I don't care if the subscription-based software is the "wave of the future". I will not be hopping on this particular bandwagon, and I'll stop using computers if that's how all future software becomes. Adobe's subscription-based only CC is the very definition of extortion. I'm sick of all the kool-aid drinkers blathering about how it's more convenient and comparably affordable. This has nothing to do with affordability or convenience. It has everything to do with allowing a company free access to their customer's wallets and giving them the power to harm their customers by preventing access to their own property if extortion payments aren't kept up. I'm currently researching alternatives for all of my Adobe applications. Angry? Yep.

seasidedr says:

I bought Production Premium CS6 not long after it came out not realizing that it was going to be the last stand alone suite. So I was a little irritated when I did find out. I fought Creative Cloud until they came out with the sign up for a year at $19.99 per month . So I signed up for it more to see what the excitement was all about. I downloaded the programs that I use the most, Premiere and Photoshop. I used Premiere in several projects and found myself getting really frustrated in the changes between CS6 and CC . Things to me that didn't need to change. One thing in particular: I do a lot of syncing cameras together to make it so I can go from camera to camera with 1 audio track. In order to do that I put markers in the same place of each camera track. In CS 6 I can see all the markers in each track so that I can line them all up. In CC I have to expand all the tracks to see the markers. So when you drag the clip down unless the track is expanded you won't see where to align the clip. This might be small but it's one of many little irritating things. Photoshop had many little things that were just as different. I just don't like it when things that aren't broken seem to still get fixed. This subscription will go to $75.00 per month I'm told. There was enough differences in the 2 versions that I just quit using CC. I can't wait until my subscription is up and then I'm out of there. I'll use CS6 until I can't no more but I expect that will be a long time. I'm on windows 7 and plan on staying there as long as I can.