Unless you have been on a far-away Tibetan mountain for the last several months, with no contact to the world, then you know that Adobe has gone ‘all in’ for the Creative Cloud. No more boxed software; It’s cloud subscription-only.
Simply put, users won’t be able to buy Photoshop CC (the next upgrade) or other apps individually from Adobe for a flat rate (known in the industry as perpetual licensing). Instead, you will pay a monthly subscription to access all of Adobe’s products. Adobe will continue to sell current versions of Adobe CS6, but those products will not get any future feature updates. The products will get security patches and bug fixes and Adobe will make sure that CS6 is compatible with the next major version of OS X and Windows.
The subscription-only software as a service (SaaS) model is in line with other software providers. Owning a declining value asset, such as software, makes no sense for a provider or user given cloud centric flexibility. Photoshop now costs $20 a month, rather than $650, its recent shelf price. Those who bought the program recently will get a discounted rate. Adobe’s full Creative Suite, which ramps Photoshop with applications like Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, and more, now runs $50 a month, rather than $2,600.
Adobe recognizes that many customers bought the CS6 suites with a perpetual license, believing that they would have a clear upgrade path. For those customers, Adobe will offer deep discounts for the first year if they wish to transition to Adobe CC.
However, there is a bit of a cloud over the cloud. The change has sparked a heated debate with a vocal minority of users who started an on line petition to bring back boxed software. Some have logged congressional complaints and others have requested that the Obama administration investigate the subscription-only practice as predatory pricing. Good luck with that— it’s not happening, nor should it in a free enterprise system.
Nonetheless, the genesis of the complaints is that these users only upgrade their software every other or every third new release (every third— what are you thinking!). They feel that the monthly fee amounts to an Adobe tax. We’ve run the numbers with our CPA and find that even if you upgraded every other version, subscription pricing is a better deal. Moreover, when you consider the time value of money you will quickly recognize that subscription-only is an exceptional cash management tool.
SUBSCRIPTION IS GREAT FOR STUDENTS
But here is why I love the subscription-only program. As an Adobe instructor, I know my students can afford to work with the latest version, which is what we teach. Now, even the least affluent student can manage Photoshop or the entire suite of software. Subscription pricing opens access to almost everyone, and expands the user base. Who knows how many new creative talents will emerge now with such low cost access.
In spite of all the press, tutorials, and a successful year of operation, many folks still do not understand the Creative Cloud and thus they make decisions on false information. This is the simple truth:
First, though you download your software from the cloud, you do not work in the cloud. You download the software and install it on your drive, just as you did in the past.
Second, you do not need an Internet connection to use the software. You use the program on your drive and save your work on your drive(s), not in the cloud, (though Adobe does offer free in the cloud file sharing services and other goodies).
Third, you can update your software automatically through the Adobe Application Manager.
Fourth, your applications are always available as long as you pay your subscription fee.
Fifth, you pay monthly, a great cash management tool.
So, I hope this short blog helps lift the cloud over the cloud.