Adobe's Bold New Move

Adobe is kind of just always there; always creating a new line of products that improve our already-established workflow.

But now, things are about to change.

They have taken out all their controversy cards and are playing them all at once.

That’s because Adobe is now preparing to drop its physical boxed software and move to a cloud-based subscription service called the Creative Cloud. And right now there’s a petition signed by over 36,000 angry web users asking the company to stop this new software distribution model.

If this move was a font style, it would be "ExtraBold".

Some Facts

  • Adobe is dropping all support for the old versions of their software, Adobe Creative Suite (CS) and later. They will support Creative Suite 6 (CS6) for now.
  • Although CS6 is still available, the new Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) will be the future.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud will be $29.99 for existing CS customers using CS3 and later, or $19.99/month for CS6 users, available through August 31. Creative Cloud will be $49.99 for new users. (source)
  • You’ll be able to just buy one program out of the Creative Cloud suite for around $19.99/month if you want.
  • They don’t promise these prices won’t go up or down. (However, in an interview, Adobe’s CEO Shantanu Narayen vaguely says, "costs are now more predictable" with the Creative Cloud suite.)
  • Creative Cloud software won’t be web apps that run in your web browser (one of the popular misnomers about Creative Cloud). You will still need to download and install software onto your hard drive like before, just with the benefits of cloud-based software (such as your files and data being in sync on multiple computers and devices).
  • They’re offering you 20GB of cloud storage . (source)
  • You’ll need to be online once a month to confirm your subscription to Creative Cloud.
  • You can export Creative Cloud files to CS6 files.
  • Most of the CC apps are 64-bit.
  • They still offer discounts for schools, college students, non-profits, etc.

Why Are They Doing This?

Well, in my opinion, they are doing this in the hopes of winning on three major fronts.

  1. They win by not having to physically manufacture and distribute boxed software to stores. This may turn into cost savings associated with the manufacturing and distribution of material goods.
  2. This could (potentially) destroy or weaken Adobe’s foe: Software piracy.
  3. They will end up making more money off subscriptions in the long-term. They are betting you will be using these programs for more than a few months. Some rudimentary math (you can get Adobe CS6 Design Standard for a little over $1,200 on Amazon) willl show you that if you stick with the subscription for a couple of years or so, Adobe will be earning more compared to their old business model.

Is This the Future of Software?

Is Adobe’s head in the clouds? Perhaps. But they may have just have created a path in which I believe many software companies will follow.

Adobe’s move to a subscription-based software model is a really big deal. This move will most likely ripple waves of influence throughout the software community.

It’s that significant of an event in my opinion.

If the Creative Cloud is successful, then almost certainly, many other software companies will follow. No one will want to be part of the old boxed software model; it will seem so outdated, especially when there’s potentially more money to be had in the subscription model.

This is the turning point for boxed software. A point in which we will look back to for decades to come. We might even explain to our grandchildren that "back in our day, we had to use CDs and pay only once to install software" in a weird, shaky old voice.

Even if Creative Cloud adoption is slow, you might cave in after Creative Cloud software gets much more advanced in features compared to the older Creative Suite boxed software versions.

Go Big or Go Home

Adobe has already openly admitted to being nervous about this move. It’s kind of an "all in" bet for them.

They can lose big if people don’t take to this subscription model and instead choose to use alternative, competing software.

This will either solidify Adobe as a company that’s here to stay forever, or this will be the moment its competitors will exploit a weakness in this industry-leading company.

Personally, I would bet that they are going to be successful.

More than that, they will help pave the way towards a rethinking of the traditional software distribution model aimed at web professionals.

People have grown very comfortable and loyal with their Adobe software products. To leave would be to set themselves back in having to learn a new product, and a new way of producing.

Time will tell.

  • NickBangO

    “Adobe is not often known as a controversial company. In fact, other than the Flash vs. Apple conflict in 2010, there really isn’t much that pops into my mind that causes a lot of uproar with Adobe.”

    Well, as a matter of fact, adobe’s pricing has always been a cause of constant uproar outside of the United States as people had to pay up to a 52% premium and the company’s excuse has always been “it’s the price to pay for localization” –an insanely bad excuse. Remember how the Australian government forced Adobe to cut its prices?

    In Europe, I know a lot of people who wish they could spit in the face of the company’s CEO… As they feel they are treated like rubbish. If that is not some huge form of uproar, I don’t really know what it is –and the story continues as Creative Cloud pricing is another disrespect for people not in the US…

  • Patrick

    Adobe is just doing what they can to stay with the times. Boxed physical media is much easier to pirate and by creating software that is run in their own “controlled” environment, they can monitor licenses. A benefit for users is that they get storage to house their documents. Once document is available to all computers that connect to CC and they do not have to copy the file to external storage. To those whom are angry about this change, either adopt it or don’t use the software. Cloud-based software is going to be the way of the future, if not now. This is how innovation is done, not by living in the past, but predicting what will be around years from now and how to harness it. Finally, anyone who is arguing over cost and/or downloading software, really needs to look at why they use Creative Suite to begin with. If you can’t afford the software with this new model, maybe you are not correctly evaluating your reason for purchase.

  • Art

    I signed that petition over a month ago.

    You failed to point out in your article one very important fact.

    If you use CC apps to create documents for whatever purpose and then you stop subscribing, for whatever reason, you will lose access to the software and lose access to your files.

    This comes as quite a shock for those who don’t think ahead. If you created magazines, logos, catalogs or whatever – say good bye to those documents because you won’t be able to edit them unless you resume paying.

    This is ransomeware. This is a scam. This is unacceptable. DO NOT USE CREATIVE CLOUD!

    Stick with Creative Suite until the next creative software contender offers a reasonable alternative or until Adobe comes to their senses and offers perpetual licenses again. Hint: they don’t have to be boxed – just perpetually licensed downloaded versions.

    As for the anti-privacy argument – pirates cracked CC the first day of release – so that was a pipe dream.

    This is about one thing – Adobe controlling your wallet. Adobe is forcing you to upgrade whether you like the new features they offer or not.

    Perpetual licenses force Adobe to be honest and force them to come up with compelling upgrades that people want to pay for. Without this incentive, Adobe will rest on their laurels and publish whatever upgrades they want – instead of what the customer wants.

    Creative software is not a service, it is a tool, it is a product to be paid for and kept in perpetuity as long as one sees fit.

    Boycott creative cloud and save our industry from insanity!

  • I’m not mad at them. I’m a fan of CC. One monthly price with all future updates….I’m in.

  • Art

    All your arguments are just wrong and you sound like another Adobe shill.

    Boxed software – irrelevant. Perpetual licenses are the issue. Downloadable purchases have been available for a while.

    Cloud storage – irrelevant. Files and apps are stored locally. Cloud based storage of files is optional and not always a good idea if you have sensitive data or if your internet connection is unreliable, which in reality is often the case. in either case you call it cloud based software – which it is not. The name creative cloud is a misnomer.

    Cost – mostly irrelevant. The issue is the removal of perpetual license. Once you stop aging month to month for the rest of your life you lose access to your life’s work, which is unacceptable and possibly criminal – to hold one’s intelectual property and creative work hostage for perpetual fees. But your insulting remark about being able to afford it is short sighted and immature. Many like me are freelance workers who’s work comes in unpredictable waves. Feast or famine. Some months are crazy busy with every client on my list demanding rushes, some months are slow or completely dead. A smart freelancer saves up for the next upgrade and only buys when it is practical, affordable and the proposed upgrade is deemed worthy of spending hard earned cash. Nobody is getting rich off of graphic design so we need to budget ourselves accordingly. Creative cloud disables our ability to choose when we pay for upgrades. It is highway robbery and I will not participate. I’ve evangelized Adobe since 1993, but no more. I’m done with them unless they get their head out of their dar places.

  • Art

    *paying month to month…

    *dark places.

  • Art

    Shortsighted sucker.

    You’re hurting our industry. You’re hurting yourself.

    Think long term.

    Too many people these days only look at the apparent “low” monthly payment and fail to see the bigger picture.

    It will cost you a lot more in the long run and you will get less. And when you can no longer pay, you’ll lose your work and your software.

    Perpetual licenses let you keep the software as long as your hardware can run it. Subscriptions make you pay FOREVER.

    Today’s buy now, pay later, credit card mentality is destroying our economy. Adobe is taking advantage of this foolish mentality.

    I want to pay for my software – just not forever and ever and not for components I don’t use and not for updates I didn’t want. I want adobe to fix longstanding bugs and add features I really need and the only way to make them do that is to hold out paying for upgrades until they offer what I want.

  • Art

    Also, Adobe’s move is not Bold or Extra Bold.

    It is Black Oblique Inserat.

  • Mike Konjevic

    One Suite to rule them all

  • Interesting being in the US I hadn’t heard about this issue until now.

  • what i find most interesting about this article is by far the comments! this bold move of adobes sure does create wonder as to where the industry will go… perhaps give space for an alternative product to shine!

  • Daniel McKinney

    One thing I do like about CC is that amateurs or people who find it hard to come up with large sums of money can have access to industry standard software without having to pirate it to afford it. I believe that the option for both should be offered.