Adobe in the Cloud

In Second Life we tend to use open source products. But, some people use the professional products from Adobe, Photoshop being the best known. I think it has no equal. There are other image editors. But, Photoshop (PS) is the industry standard. If you plan to work for a gaming or other company that works with images, you have to know PS. But, Adobe is making big changes that will radically affect casual users.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe is changing how they deliver their software. Until now they have sold their software in a package with a perpetual license. I can still use an old copy of CS3, CS4, CS5.5, and CS6. (CS = Creative Suite) It isn’t cheap. A new version of PS costs US$800. Updates can be $300 to $400 per version come every 12 to 24 months. People can find PS on Amazon and in stores for $650. But, quite often that is the ‘basic’ version not the ‘Extended’ version.

The Extended version is the one with the 3D tools.

How they sell the software is changing. Adobe plans to rent you all their software for $50 per month. Or any single package, like PS, for $20 per month. But, to get that price you must rent for a year. There is no month to month plan. It’s a year or nothing. I suspect they will still do their 30-day free trials.

Your computer will download the program from the cloud. It will check that your ‘rent’ is paid and run. This is very much what the software does now. Each time you start an Adobe product, it checks that your license is valid. If your Internet connection is down for an extended period, you will start to have problems.

Price Increase

For casual and some professional users, this new model seems like a huge price increase. From Adobe’s side they see it as offering the full line of their products at a discount. If you think about it, they probably are. They want to move as many as they can to the Creative Cloud product, so low introductory prices are a way to do that.

Casual users have been buying only what they have to have. Some business users only upgrade when they absolutely have to. So, many feel this change forces them to pay for a ton of stuff they don’t use and obviously that must cost more. But, do the math.

When doing the math, we find it is not as expensive as it seems. Those that typically buy an upgrade within 26 months of their last upgrade will be saving money. Those with Creative Suite packages will be saving money. Only those that wait more than 26 months to upgrade will see costs go up. Single package users are sort of a case-by-case basis as to whether it costs more or less. But, they will have a HUGE temptation to use additional products.

Angry - By ilamont.com via Flickr

Angry – By ilamont.com via Flickr

There is plenty of online outrage. Of course there is all the usual Chicken Little disaster stories and even a petition to have the Obama Administration investigate Adobe and force them to do something different. Those are the low information people reacting.

The real choice in a free market is to use another product. As money flows to the new product it begins to grow and add the features users want. The financial model Adobe is trying to use will then fail as paying customers leave. BUT… if enough people find the new Adobe financial mode acceptable, Adobe will keep it and flourish. Adobe is risking the company on whether this financial model will work.

I think this financial model change is going to be the predominant model. Every software house is trying to go to it. Microsoft has been trying for some time to do this with its products. In general businesses, which are the majority of Microsoft’s customers, have resisted the model as too costly. I have clients that are still running Windows XP and MS Office 2000. There is simply no reason for them to upgrade. Word 2000 does a letter as well as the latest version of MS Word. Most businesses simply do not need the new features in Word that little if any affect on the final product..

Hobbyists are going to tend to behave the same way toward Adobe. They will not want to update a bunch of apps they do not use.

Adobe has been adding features that designers and artists need. The CS6 upgrade to Dreamweaver (DW) was to allow easy design of ‘Responsive’ web sites, sites that work for desktop, tablets, and mobile devices. That feature alone is why I updated. I felt I was getting my money’s worth seeing it as a big time saver. But, if I didn’t design web sites, I would not have updated. In this new model I would have no choice about the update. I would pay for the DW update or move to another product. 

6 thoughts on “Adobe in the Cloud

  1. I’m of the “upgrade only when I had to” school; in the last 10 years I’ve owned two versions of PhotoShop, and Creative Suite was never going to happen. I’m a hobbyist, and I want to own my software, not rent it. So it’s unsurprising I won’t be sticking with Adobe. I have both the Gimp and Pixelmator installed; we’ll see which wins out in the end.

    • I have empathy for your position. I am certain you are not alone.

      I am curious how you like Pixelmator?

  2. I am already subscribed to the creative cloud. If you use several applications of it like I do (Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, Indesign, Acrobat X Pro), it’s not too expensive at all. And I like it to get updates every now and then, not only once or twice every 2 years (as it was before).

    • I use Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Acrobat Pro (which was dropped from CS6 Web Design), and Premier ELements. So, I am thinking this is going to be good for me.

      Plus Edge is looking pretty good.

  3. I haven’t yet used it enough to know. My use of bitmap editors is pretty much limited to SL projects, and right now I’m in animation and script debugging mode.

    (BTW, your Solve media plugin creeps me out. It keeps trying to date me. If it was another avatar I’d mute it.)

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