Adobe announces cloud based CS

Adobe Systems has announced upgrades for its flagship software packages, including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, will now be available only through online subscriptions.
Adobe is the latest traditional software company to make a big bet on the cloud-based subscription model pioneered by companies such as and NetSuite and now common place in the anti-virus and office software markets.

So now you have to pay per month, not one off.

What do people think? Hit or miss? An inconvenience… or is this really a better way to pay?

In my opinion, you can never really tell with these things… But I much prefer owning my car, 3D printer and laptop outright, rather than a nominal fee every month. Why should my Adobe be any different? My only worry is they’ll ‘make us’ move to their new cloud based system via a lack of backwards compatibility (CS7+ files wont with with CS6- etc).

Seems way more expensive to use on a regular basis. Granted, I use ID perhaps 3 times/year, while AI and PS are very periodic - a lot of use for 2 month, then no use at all the next 2. So if you do the math it could be more advantageous, but you get the hassle of canceling and activating the subscription back and forth (which Adobe knows people won’t).

I guess the main argument is that you will always have the latest greatest version. However, I couldn’t care less and could probably do what I do on CS2 (I’m on CS5 now).

My final verdict: nay.

I think it’s a logical step, and we will only see more of this. It helps prevent software piracy, which helps drive more revenue to the company. Never having to worry about being up to date is great because updates will come out automatically, and if you subscribe, you’re getting it for free.

You can still get PS and Illustrator as individuals, but it will cost you 40 a month. For 10 bucks more you get everything.

Think if it this way. Do you currently upgrade every 2 years? If so, this is the same cost as buying the Master Collection every two years.

logical step I guess.

What i liked was this (offtopic?)

While I agree it is a logical step for Adobe, I wouldn’t agree it is a logical step for some (maybe a lot?) customers.

I know it is a more expensive proposition for me. And for what? The “latest and greatest”? I’m not a full-time user, I can get by with older versions. The convenience of the cloud? Adobe moves slow locally, add an internet connection and I can’t see any reason for an improvement.

I see paying more for not more. I’ll just buy a current CS6 and soak it for the next 20 years. Bear with me when I ask you to save in a legacy format.

I did the same calculation and subscribed at the beginning of the year. We needed to upgrade because most of our clients upgraded. I use Illustrator and Photoshop almost daily but you have access to most every program – Adobe Muse for websites is getting very good – like InDesign for websites.

I feel the same way about this as I do cable TV. I have to pay a lot for crap I don’t want to get the small amount of stuff that has value to me.

It makes great sense for Adobe financially, less so for me and my firm personally. First off, we don’t need the master collection, so I am paying more for access to tools that are irrelevant to my needs. Secondly, the software I do use (PSD, AI, ID) hasn’t seen notable improvements since CS3, at least in our work flows. The only reasoning to shell out for the upgrades has been to fix bugs that occur as we update OS that Adobe refuses to apply to older versions of CS. We’ll upgrade to CS 6 and see if the market responds, either through alternative software, or by Adobe back stepping. Their cloud tools are better answered by other tools, I don’t need 20gb of online storage or shitty sharing tools.

For use in a company I could see this as a handy upgrade. The companies I have worked for have arrange of different approaches to upgrades because of there expense. This would make this issue mute.

But I do have a problem with it as a private user. I freelance from time to time. So I like to have legal copies of the software. Also once I buy them that is it I can own and use it indefinitely in till I have to upgrade for some reason. I will upgrade about every 5-7 years this allows me a lot of use from one copy. So I don’t want to pay a month to month subscription it is a lot of hassle you have to set it up make sure your payments are going through and the amount of money there talking about pre-month almost puts it out of my budget.

Also I wonder how this will effect manufacturing. All of the companies I have worked for manufacture over sea. I am sure that they are not using legal copies of the software. Does this mean for the rest of my life I am going to have to down save to CS6 just to accommodate this problem. I think this is a treble idea and I wish there was an alternative. These arguments are also not including the access issue of having to use it online only.

I’ve been using the Creative Cloud on my personal machine at home for the past few months. Mainly I couldn’t stomach the cost of buying a new Design Suite all at once so for the price of a big night at the bars I have Adobe Master Blaster Mac Daddy. I won’t use 90% of it, I’m sure. Just like most Ferrari owners don’t use 90% of their machine’s capability.

It is an interesting move and something I am on the fence about. I am debating whether this is a move to streamline their service or simply a way to cut piracy.

It may help for business users, you would expect they had a legal version anyway but for private users it really harms a lot of people.

As a student it was an added expense on top of everything else I was paying for (fees, rent, living costs). I always budgeted for “materials” which got swallowed up each year with me even taking money out of the bigger pot to cover it.

I just simply couldn’t pay for Adobe - but without it wouldn’t have been able to do my work. So I had to use pirated software and so did 90% of my course - we had a guy that could get you everything (I expect every ID course had that guy).

Now as a grad I can afford it even less but still use it almost daily either to practice or tweak my portfolio. I can’t afford a monthly fee yet without it struggle to find a job - would you all hire someone who’s portfolio was complied in MS Word?

The backwards computability will also be an issue when CS7 is released.

There won’t be a CS7…

Yes you couldn’t afford it then, but you could find a way to swing $30-50 a month for something you can’t live without, right? $50 is much easier to swallow than $1500, right?

You will always be able to save to Legacy formats, but there will be features that don’t work properly. That’s still the case with CS6.

As a company move it’s wise. As other’s have pointed out, it reduces piracy and creates a consistent revenue stream. And for consumers that have played by the rules and bought the full packages, it may be financially worth it. I do like the idea of not having to drop $1500 just to do a little freelance or make a birthday card every now and again.

From a selfish point-of-view, I see it as another marker of the end of the wild wild web. 10 or 12 years ago, sites like Napster flourished and programs like Illustrator were but a cracked disc away. Things on the web have been a sort of free-for-all and in many ways I’m sad/bothered to see that go. Though I suppose this was inevitable and it’s what “progress” is. And truthfully, Adobe and their employees should reap the rewards of the work they do creating these products.

I guess if the only argument against the change is that now you have pay for something that you previously stole, there is no real argument.

Well said. I’m always surprised at the double-standard of creatives who think stealing things that other creatives worked very hard on is okay. I guess my only complaint is the hassle of reactivating a subscription if I don’t need the services for a while and then I need to access old files suddenly.

I do genuinely feel guilt for using illegal software knowing that someone has invested blood, sweat and tears putting it together but the truth simply is at the point in my life where I am just getting started - I cannot afford it.

For instance only half an hour ago I was quoted $5000 for Solidworks now I am no longer a student. I need to use it but can’t afford to pay that amount of money - it’s a Catch 22

Also this is just having it on my personal computer. I’m sure design consultancy around the world will have legal copies available on their machines for staff to use. When it comes to my own time and I need to quickly PS something I can. If I had to pay $30-50 a month for something I might not use personally everyday that money could be better spent…

I can see the model being smart on Adobe’s behalf for all the reasons mentioned (cuts piracy, easy continuous revenue, etc.).

What I don’t see however, is much of a real change in terms of the comodification of the software or the value basis it provides. To me, it feels even more greedy than the $1500 they were asking for previously.

Value-wise I’ve never really understood the proposition for Adobe software, despite being a heavy user of it.

If Naptster (iTunes to follow) did anything, it was move the model of music from $30/album to the $0.99 per song, pick what you like model. Users win when they get what they want, for much cheaper in total.

Likewise for apps. iOS apps at an average of 0.99 (not to mention free trial versions) changed how, when and what people bought, compared to picking up a $50 box of software at your local computer shop.

OS X updates are what? $50 for major updates, free for the interval ones? Windows used to be $500 for major versions.

Mac iWork is $20 an app.

I just still feel the overall cost seems high. At the upgrade path for existing CS3+ Individuals (now at 40% discount) it is equal to paying full price every 4 years. Assuming they don’t jack the price every year… No to mention you don’t own anything, and you lose interest and opportunity cost that $1500 makes in your account during the 4 years.

A change in paradigm for distribution I don’t mind. Apps store and iOS apps I think are smart as you don’t have to worry about what works with your software, when updates are available, what is good, etc. I just don’t see what this fixes aside from Adobe’s bottom line.


I agree with you Richard. Ultimately it seems your main issue is the price, and I admit it seems steep. It’s impossible for us to know how fair of a number that is. And unfortunately, at the moment, the creative world (and it’s a big one) is a captive audience for them. However, perhaps this will open up the way for competition to move in. Alias was the only option until it wasn’t - a $700 seat of Rhino blew them out of the water. So who knows … if it’s actually a fair price then it will probably go unchallenged; if it’s not, then hopefully the market will correct it one way or another.

And to those who are complaining about not being able to afford it, I understand. I was there too, and when I was I used a “free” copy of the software. It’s a complicated issue, and I wish there was a way to support/subsidize those who still haven’t built up the resources to afford it.

Same could hold true for any software purchase, right? What exactly makes SolidWorks cost $4000? Margins at software companies are very, very high. You used to have to pay for discs and manuals - you don’t get those physical artifacts any longer. The ‘manufacturing’ (programming) is done up front and then replicated for nearly free. Then it gets sold for X markup.

Companies like Adobe can find advantages being somewhere between the yearly/one-time subscription, and by-the-second usage from cloud providers like AWS. There wouldn’t be any advantage to Adobe in trying to monetize minute-by-minute usage although consumers would love it - imagine your Illustrator usage timed, and getting a bill at the end of the month.

If you have a monopoly, it makes sense to raise prices as high as people can stomach without going off and starting a competitor. And with our patent laws, that’s not really an option anymore. So I guess we should thank Adobe for not charging more?

Umm, as has been mentioned, it’s really bad form to be using illegal software when one is in what is a business of generating intellectual property. Also, $5K (is it that low these days?) for Solidworks, which of course you don’t actually “need” there are cheaper options, but nonetheless as far as start-up business costs go that’s pretty modest. A mechanics’ chest of tools is worth more than that, I could rattle off a dozen “blue collar” businesses that need many times that investment.