The Good and the Bad of Adobe Creative Cloud

adobeCreativeCloudAdobe announced today that there will be no future versions of the Creative Suite. CS6 will be the last one. All future versions of their software suite which includes Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Premiere, Flash, Dreamweaver, Audition, and others, will only be available via subscription to what Adobe calls The Creative Cloud for $49/month. There will be no more boxed copy, no CS7. As one would expect, there has been some outcry on the interwebs because of this policy change. I completely understand the change from Adobe's point of view. Not only will it make their software more difficult to pirate, but it will also smooth out their revenue stream so they don't get big bumps when a new version comes down, instead they get a little all the time. It also ensures that all the paying customers (and shouldn't that be all of them in their mind?) have the latest and greatest version running. The end of compatibility problems. Just like Apple with the iPad, there is no Photoshop CS7, there is only Photoshop CC and you'll have the latest.

Unless you are a student, or acted like you were one, Adobe software has always been expensive, the top end 'Master Collection' costs over two grand. So is $600 a year to get access to all of it really that much worse? For professionals who are buying the software every year anyway, then no. In many ways is makes it easier. Much like buying your apps on the Mac App store makes it easier to reinstall your software on a new machine. For them $600 to have access to all those apps is the cost of doing business, already baked in. I pay about $150 for each annual version of Lightroom alone (now included in the Creative Cloud). I could argue that I certainly use Photoshop and a few of the other apps enough to justify $1.65 a day. I spend more than that on egg sandwiches. And the apps are still best of breed and remain up to date. As a bonus, Adobe is trying to smooth over their customers by offering the first year for $29/mo for current Creative Suite users. There is also a $20/mo for students and teachers.

The real people who are going to lose our are the hobbyists. The serious amateur photographer who likes to buy Photoshop for $600 and then use it for 6 years on their G5 tower. Or the gal who uses only Photoshop. Now they'll have to pony up and pay the $20/mo for the single app (you can buy them one at a time if you only use one or two). So $240 per year for Photoshop, which is more than the $199 every 18 months that current upgrades cost.

Personally as someone who has been around computers for 30 years, I don't like the idea of software as a service. There's something unsettling about it. I like buying a piece of software and knowing that I can install it and use it for years without paying the company another cent. It's 'mine' even though I know it's only a license.

I'll admit that when I first read the news I had that 'ut oh' sinking feeling. However it's a brave new world and I don't think any amount of grumbling and shaking of fists is going to turn back the hands of time. Maybe I can use my current status as an SVA Thesis Advisor to sign up for the discount...