Adobe customers' opinions split as company shifts to subscription platform

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
Adobe's decision to move to a subscription-based model with Creative Cloud is causing ripples in the creative community that has come to know and depend on its products, with some calling for a return to the "old ways" of actually owning the software you pay for.

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The move to Creative Cloud will see Adobe abandoning its longtime moneymaking brand, Creative Suite. Instead of selling perpetual licenses on Creative Suite and updating that software package once every 18-or-so months, Adobe is now pushing a subscription package, one in which customers can pay $20 per month for a specific app or $50 per month for access to the whole Creative Suite package.

For Adobe, the shift will relieve the pressure from the aforementioned 18 month update cycle. The company already has some half a million subscribers to Creative Cloud, and it expects to have roughly four million by the end of 2015, all receiving software and feature updates as they become available.

Users of Adobe's current Creative Suite products, though, appear split on the issue.

"The new cloud pricing is horrible for users like me," wrote one user on Adobe's Photoshop discussion board. "Because I use it only a few times/month, I don't need the latest and greatest, so I only update once every three years or so."

Other "casual" users of the software have concurred, saying that the monthly charge for access is unattractive, given how often they actually use the software.

"I had hoped [Creative Cloud] pricing would be equivalent or even less than a [Creative Suite] purchase," wrote one user. "Unfortunately that is not the case."

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Others, though, point out that Adobe's shift to a subscription basis may work out well for graphics and creative professionals, who make up a large portion of its user base.

"Adobe is definitely positioning the platform as a professional solution," wrote one commenter on AppleInsider's forums. "It is very similar to other high end professional offerings such as AutoDesk."

Whether or not the move to Creative Cloud is advisable for an organization depends really on its needs. Organizations or professionals that regularly updated their Creative Suite packages could find that Cloud is the way to go.

A one-time purchase of CS6 Design Standard would cost $1,300, giving the buyer a perpetual license. Assuming the customer kept that product for three years before updating, the package would cost roughly $430 per year.

A three-year subscription to Creative Cloud, on the other hand, at a rate of $50 per month, would amount to $1,800, or $600 per year. That $600, though, would come with guaranteed updates to the latest version of all CC apps, 20GB of cloud storage for file sharing and collaboration, and additional features Adobe has built into its suite.

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For current Creative Suite owners, Adobe has made the first year of Creative Cloud access cheaper in order to sway customers into becoming subscribers. The first year of Creative Cloud access will cost $20 a month, or $240 in total.

On an individual app basis, the math changes. A single license of Photoshop CS6, for example, costs $700. Assuming three years' use, the program works out to roughly $230 per year. A subscription to Photoshop CC runs at $20 per month, or $240 per year, for a total of $720. Like the full CC package, though, that subscription comes with a continually updated application, with the newest features added to the program as they are completed, as well as 20GB of cloud storage and most of the services Adobe offers in its CC package.

The Creative Cloud path is also thought to be a means of combating piracy for Adobe, as its Creative Suite products are regularly prominently featured on piracy sites, sometimes with professionally-produced works being traced back to such pirated software. By requiring that the software check with Adobe to ensure a subscription fee has been paid, the company puts another obstacle in front of software pirates, though the effectiveness of such a measure is yet to be determined. Current versions of Creative Suite contact Adobe's servers to ensure a user is entering a valid license number, but piracy rates for CS6 are still quite high.

Adobe will continue to offer CS6 indefinitely, according to its site. The software will also be updated to fix bugs and to ensure interoperability with the latest versions of Mac OS X and Windows. It will not, though, see any new features added in the future, meaning that users choosing not to jump on the subscription wagon will have to be satisfied with the capabilities they currently have.

AppleInsider reached out to Adobe for comment and will update this article when the company responds.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 89
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 938member
    It is the something for nothing Google loving crowd that has brought this to bare. Since people are stealing their products by copying and with the recent events where Google and others are copying IP and the courts seem to think you can't protect software, they are locking you in by a subscription model that requires a commitment to their software and their continued development.
  • Reply 2 of 89
    rbrrbr Posts: 631member
    Split? Between what? Those who think it sucks and those who want to move to something else?
  • Reply 3 of 89
    oomuoomu Posts: 128member
    "It is the something for nothing Google loving crowd that has brought this to bare. Since people are stealing their products by copying and with the recent events where Google and others are copying IP and the courts seem to think you can't protect software, they are locking you in by a subscription model that requires a commitment to their software and their continued development.
    "

    hu WHAT ???

    There is NOTHING to do with Google, or whatever crazy generation of "google loving" you fantasized. ("google" is the new Fox-news to insult people ? )

    The courts seems pretty convinced you can protect software, HUGE fees all around the industry in US, Europe and Japan to whatever companies copying illegally source code or using stuff patented by others.

    Of cours not all patents are legal patents, sometimes, the courts discover the patent was bogus.


    The subscription model will change Nothing for piracy.

    First, it's not the first software to do that. Mostly all professional engineering software are available on subscription model. It never prevented the piracy.

    why ? because the pirates simply remove the check inside the software or package a false subscription server to be used locally.

    -
    No, Adobe is targeting its legally-user customers, by trying to lure them in a yearly reliable source of income.

    It will do wonders to the financial health of Adobe.

    -
    it's not about piracy.
  • Reply 4 of 89
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    Subscriptions are an IT departments nightmare. I think we're going to see customers hold on to CS6 as long as it remains useful (sometimes that means 5-7 years) and in the meantime find alternative solutions.

    My company also uses software called SpeedQuote. The software comes with a dongle that's locked to the software in the box. But I guess that would have cost Adobe too much money.

    The bottom line is that in an effort to cut costs, make more profit and stop piracy, Adobe has taken a page from Microsoft's book while screwing over loyal customers.

    How soon we forget the stunt Quark pulled.
  • Reply 5 of 89
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member


    No Sh**. Really?


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by genovelle View Post



    It is the something for nothing Google loving crowd that has brought this to bare. Since people are stealing their products by copying and with the recent events where Google and others are copying IP and the courts seem to think you can't protect software, they are locking you in by a subscription model that requires a commitment to their software and their continued development.

  • Reply 6 of 89
    h2ph2p Posts: 264member


    I'm philosophically opposed to renting software. We've been discussing the great advantages of Creative Cloud for the past year. And there are some - but not enough to overcome my opposition to renting software. Theft aside, because really are we to be punished for some P2P site that gives it away? I thought that Adobe had a way to peak at your serial number every once in awhile to make sure you're legal?


     


    Regardless, it's was just under $600 to upgrade from CS5/CS5.5 to CS6. We upgrade once every two years - our costs are doubled.


     


    At home, I rarely use anything but PS so I'm still working on CS4 (regardless, I work at work and CS4 is fine... although I'll upgrade to CS6 now).


     


    This is a move that will (continue) to boost profits at Adobe (up last year substantially -- because of Creative Cloud, I assume).

  • Reply 7 of 89
    tristandtristand Posts: 2member
    "A single license of Photoshop CS6, for example, costs $700. Assuming three years' use, the program works out to roughly $230 per year. A subscription to Photoshop CC runs at $20 per month, or $360 per year, for a total of $1,080."

    Just want to correct your math there. A subscription to Photoshop CC runs at $20 per month, which is $240 per year, or $720 for 3 years. Not much more than buying outright. plus if you had upgraded in that time, it would have cost you more.

    For users who purchase the Master Suite - Creative cloud is WAY cheaper.

    You can see they are aiming it at the professionals who would make up a bulk amount of their business. It also means people who could only afford 1 program before now can have access to everything for only $50 per month, allowing them to learn other programs, get new skills and further push Adobe as the industry standard.

    The student pricing is dirt cheap, allowing students access to everything for only $20 per month. This was unheard of only a couple of years ago, and I think will help on the piracy side of things.

    For small business, the subscription model is great for affordability, and can be written off on tax time (in Australia anyway) - again probably reducing piracy. Plus it gives these smaller businesses access to more software than they may have been able to afford in the past.

    Another benefit is that Adobe can now concentrate solely on improving software. No more costs for packaging and distributing hard copies. No more trying to bundle updates into a new release. Now they can really push forward and give us new features faster - this is especially important for those in the web industry.

    As someone who as used Adobe software professionally for over 8 years, I honestly think this change will benefit a lot of people.
  • Reply 8 of 89
    scotty321scotty321 Posts: 313member
    Adobe continues its longstanding tradition of fu**ing customers up the a**!! When has Adobe EVER participated in fair pricing??? They have always screwed over their customers royally. And now they intend to continue that tradition forever by taking their customer-screwing to the greatest level possible!! They waited until they completely killed off all competitors, and then they sprung this on everyone. Adobe... worst tech company on the planet... then Tim Cook goes ahead and hires one of the monsters from Adobe. Good lord. Where is Steve when we really need him??
  • Reply 9 of 89
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post



    How soon we forget the stunt Quark pulled.


    What stunt was that?


     


    That they didn't update their software for OS X for a couple years, they threatened a hostile takeover of Adobe, that they tried to turn their layout program into a multimedia authoring application and charge a bunch of money to their users only to drop the title after one release, or was it their refusal to support layered photoshop files for years and years, the user login required being connected to the Internet every time you launched the application, or was it the nightmarish printing dialog boxes, no drop shadows until version 7, or the complete lack of customer support?


     


    Perhaps there was another stunt I missed?

  • Reply 10 of 89
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider



    "A single license of Photoshop CS6, for example, costs $700. Assuming three years' use, the program works out to roughly $230 per year. A subscription to Photoshop CC runs at $20 per month, or $360 per year, for a total of $1,080."


    I'm not a math whiz but even I know $20 x 12 months is only $240 per year.


     


    Edit sorry Tristand, I thought you originally posted since you didn't use the quote feature.

  • Reply 11 of 89
    mscientistmscientist Posts: 18member


    Nobody is "royally fu**ing customers up the a**"


     


    If you don't want their software, don't buy it? Adobe, or the world for that matter, doesn't owe you anything.

  • Reply 12 of 89


    Completely agree...don't buy it. Thanks Adobe for helping me make the break and look for an alternative. Rest assured when I find it will post the result to all in sundry. Goodbye Adobe. Now where is that Acorn App...?

  • Reply 13 of 89
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member


    I'm a professional who uses several Adobe apps, and the subscription on paper is worth it (or very close).


     


    But it's NOT worth it in reality because:


     


    1. The updates are too minor. They're "kind of nice" but add relatively little monetary value to my business. So keeping a version that is 3-4 versions old makes more sense. In the end I have always upgraded simply because eventually someone sends me a file I can't open. And then I'm shocked at how little has changed. Yes, a few nice things. If Adobe wants to make it worth getting EVERY version--or subscribing--then they need to make it that much better.


     


    2. BUGS, BUGS, BUGS. Bugs in my old CS3 are still not fixed to this day, and really obnoxious NEW ones have been added. If you're going to milk me for cash then deliver a solid product--like Photoshop used to be long ago.


     


    3. When my subscription lapses (maybe I take a new job, shut down my business, or it evolves in a different direction) I won't be able to access my OWN CREATIVE WORK anymore. Adobe is laying ownership of my private archives! That's never going to sit well with any creative person.


     


    4. I have alternatives. Adobe's stranglehold is tight, but not perfect. I can't escape yet, but I can start the process. And I am. I'll give up some things... but gain ownership of my work again and save a lot of money. It will be years before I'm fully free, but Adobe has set me on that track.


     


    I would still be an Adobe customer to the tune of hundreds of dollars every few years, if they kept the traditional model.


     


    I think it comes down to piracy: I'm paying through the nose for the most punitive DRM ever, just because people abused the old model. Thanks.


     


    So I'm not sure whether to blame Adobe for the change (maybe)... but I blame them for changing course every few months, and for the bugs!

  • Reply 14 of 89
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,217moderator
    This isn't a point of no return either. If it turns out that a lot of people don't like it or it's not generating as much revenue as they hoped, it should be pretty much a flip of a switch to add a perpetual license feature in. They already have a special license for people who can't use the cloud services like government bodies.

    All they'd have to do is make a license key that instead of paying regularly, you can pay a large one-off fee and they give you free updates for say, 2 years and then you have to pay for further updates but they can allow you to use it without updating and your support ends there.

    The old payment model had a very high entry barrier. Fresh graduate (no longer student) needs to build a portfolio, no money. How do you legally start doing work? This new model, it's $20-50 and away they go.

    Having a single version to work on should make things easier for the developers as they won't need to have branches and maintenance updates for multiple versions for multiple platforms.
  • Reply 15 of 89
    cwoloszynskicwoloszynski Posts: 102member


    I plan on sticking with Pixelmator, I moved there and I'm not looking back.  


     


    Sorry Adobe, but for $15, I have all the tools I need.  Cheaper than a single month of Adobe rentals!

  • Reply 16 of 89
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member


    Just because it's something no one has brought up that I'm aware of … 


     


    It would be easier to take the subscription model if they did like everyone else and make it cheaper that way.  A lot of software is moving to the cloud and going subscription, but typically the company makes this type of software cheaper, both to soften the blow and also because volume is generally increased so they can afford to.  It's like a reward you give your customers for the nasty "lock-in" they have to endure or a reward for them voting for your product or whatever.  


     


    Adobe on the other hand, who already has a product that's outrageously overpriced by most standards, has actually raised the price for the subscription-software-in-a-cloud-that you-don't-even-own-product.  


     


    So to me, it's like a giant "fuckk you" from Adobe.  They take the software even more "out of your hands" than it already is.  They raise the prices significantly.  They don't even give you the option of not upgrading anymore.  


     


    It's just fucking ridiculous behaviour on Adobe's part and yet another reason why monopolies suck.  


     


    I think I'm going to go into business selling "Fuckk You Adobe" T-Shirts on Etsy.  

  • Reply 17 of 89
    danielswdanielsw Posts: 905member


    I'm thinking Adobe has observed the overall response to CC over this past year or so and that it has plenty of good reasons to make this transition with confidence.


     


    We've been CC subscribers for a year now and are now paying the full $50/mo. We consider it to be quite worth it, as we love all the new features which run very well on the new Apple hardware and Mountain Lion.


     


    If this proves to be an effective deterrent against piracy, I'm happy for Adobe if that means that they lose less money to piracy and are consequently more willing and able to continue to develop and improve their products.


     


    The fact of more frequent updates over his last year shows me that the company is more productive than ever and more apparently sincere in its efforts to always be improving the tools we use daily in our own work.

  • Reply 18 of 89
    studiomusicstudiomusic Posts: 609member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tristand View Post



    "A single license of Photoshop CS6, for example, costs $700. Assuming three years' use, the program works out to roughly $230 per year. A subscription to Photoshop CC runs at $20 per month, or $360 per year, for a total of $1,080."



    Just want to correct your math there. A subscription to Photoshop CC runs at $20 per month, which is $240 per year, or $720 for 3 years. Not much more than buying outright. plus if you had upgraded in that time, it would have cost you more.







    As someone who as used Adobe software professionally for over 8 years, I honestly think this change will benefit a lot of people.


    And if you stop paying your monthly dues to Adobe, everything you did in those three years will be inaccessible.


    And if you already have a creative suite, an upgrade is WAY cheaper than paying Adobe for the rest of your life.


    **********************


    I read on the Adobe forums that an install of CC will work for 6 months without an internet connection. Hum, maybe it is cheaper to pay the "month at a time" subscription one month then never connect to the internet while using it until it expires and upping it again for a month. $150 for a year that way...


    ;)

  • Reply 19 of 89
    studiomusicstudiomusic Posts: 609member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DanielSW View Post


    I'm thinking Adobe has observed the overall response to CC over this past year or so and that it has plenty of good reasons to make this transition with confidence.


     


    We've been CC subscribers for a year now and are now paying the full $50/mo. We consider it to be quite worth it, as we love all the new features which run very well on the new Apple hardware and Mountain Lion.


     



    And if you stop paying, everything you have been making is inaccessible!


    Looks like you are going to be paying Adobe every month for the rest of your life...

  • Reply 20 of 89
    arlorarlor Posts: 496member


    This has everything to do with smoothing and increasing Adobe's revenue and nothing to do with piracy. So long as the applications actually run on a local computer -- which they do (e.g. Adobe's cloud is not processing that filter for you on a remote server) -- pirates will figure out how to make them run locally without a login. Even AutoCAD's old dongle system was cracked back in the day, and within days of release. 


     


    Now, if Adobe makes the apps actually run and process data on the cloud servers -- like any MMO game -- that might have something to do with piracy. But I don't think that's going to workable on current or even reasonably foreseeable broadband bandwidth, as it would take too long to see the results of your filter/whatever. 


     


    Also on that note, you don't have to store your content on Adobe's cloud; you can save it locally instead (and most will prefer to do so because hd/ssd speeds are way faster than uploading/downloading). So you don't give away ownership or even possession of your creations, though you will of course lose legal access to them if you let your subscription lapse. 


     


    All that said, thank goodness I'm eligible for faculty pricing. 

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