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Adobe Creative Cloud and the Death of Boxed Software
Read the original blog post
May 10, 2013
4:33 am
Tim L

This is a very thoughtful analysis, Eric, and I appreciate the effort that went into it. I certainly understand Adobe's enthusiasm for CC but I have to admit that I don't fully understand yours. Are you really that cash strapped that eliminating the need to come up with a lump sum to upgrade every 18 months is worth agreeing to pay a monthly stipend to Adobe for the rest of your life to retain complete editing access to your image library? It's a rhetorical question, of course, but your reasoning seems like short term thinking to me. And to ignore the risk of price increases that dramatically outstrip the rate of inflation is to ignore the behavior of every unregulated monopoly I've ever encountered. How's that cable bill looking?

Yeah, it might be nice to get new features more than once every 18 months but, again, not at the cost of a lifetime rental agreement. And, yes, to the extent that Adobe can build server-dependent functionality into CC then it could reduce piracy. However, as of now, even Adobe is acknowledging that the core applications of CC can be pirated as easily as CS6 and I have yet to read or hear of any online add-on that would compel someone to pay $50/mo when they would be otherwise inclined to steal the software.

None of this changes the new reality but, unlike you, I'm not buying into it and I never will. I'll use my legitimately obtained copy of CS6 as long as its practical and then I'll have to find something else. Very frustrating after investing 22 years learning and advocating for these Adobe apps.

May 10, 2013
5:02 am
Peter Pal

Re Adobe CC:

Mr Reagan's mention of a 72 year old, long-time Photoshop user took me aback because I too am 72 years of age and have over the years had exactly the same relationship with Photoshop as described for that person.

Photoshop has been an invaluable tool for creative expression for me over those years and I have constantly acknowledged the brilliant work of the Photoshop creators to anyone interested in the images I make. I have happily paid the dollars requested for the right to use this extraordinary tool for self-expression in the reasonable expectation that the resulting images (albeit a collaboration between Photoshop and myself) would be mine to access, refine and propagate or just enjoy at will into the future. Just as a traditional artist who makes any image owes a debt to the paint makers, the canvas makers, the brush makers, the print makers, the stone quarriers etc. I, in the digital age, have had the reasonable expectation that the final product is mine. This reasonable expectation now apparently ends with my current Photoshop CS6 Extended software.

Like many on limited income, including the perennial "struggling young artist", it appears that Adobe is saying, 'Fuck you for your recognition and support, we are now only interested in the pros and others who have plenty of money and are willing to suck up to us for years to come, at whatever cost we will decide upon'.

There are several aspects of the Adobe CC declaration that I find obnoxious or completely unacceptable, but the refusal of editorial access to my images made within the proposed Creative Cloud parameters, unless I pay a substantial and convoluted homage to Adobe, is the absolute deal breaker.

I will not be a party to nor will I support the Creative Cloud concept, most of which I and many others are not interested in and which is really irrelevant to Creativity..... Cloud or otherwise.

May 10, 2013
5:11 am

ok I found the online petition to tell adobe to please reconsider revising their greedy subscriptions go here and MULTIPLY! the more of you guys sign the more power for us to get Adobe to change their minds:

May 10, 2013
6:00 am
Peter Pal

Further to my previous post, which was my first post ever to any forum, I am hoping and suggesting that Adobe will be allowing further plugin application to CS6. If they do or do not, it will clarify their intentions and consideration for past users and supporters, and certainly their real consideration for "Creative" persons.

Specifically, will a plugin developer/creator in future be allowed to make a plugin for CS6 that, for instance, deals with promoted the anti-shake, anti-blur or whatever it is called feature, or for the promoted advanced integration of the Camera Raw or other Raw conversion software, or for any other existing or future enhancement/plugin within CS6? If Adobe does not allow for such future plugin development for CS6, their consideration and respect for past users will be clear. If they do allow for it, there is a great and welcome alternative in future for plugin developers and users of CS6.

Time will tell all.....

May 10, 2013
6:20 am
Fred Ross

Even if it were $5.00 a month I will not use anything on a cloud. I have clients that don't want their things I work on, out on a cloud. One thing that makes me attractive to some clients is I can offer them the ultimate in security. Nothing leaves my private network or gets in without my being in total control, it is only on-line for upgrades.

May 10, 2013
6:29 am

I left Adobe long ago...

May 10, 2013
6:57 am
Bengt Nyman

I totally agree with you Ed.
Eric sounds like an undercover commercial.
I do not think that Adobe fully appreciates it's own market.
Let corporations, advertising agencies and Eric Reagan pay the big bill.
Most photographers can accomplish their every day tasks using Lightroom or Elements with necessary plug-ins.
Meanwhile the market will rearrange itself to fill any voids and to create new and better alternatives.

May 10, 2013
7:03 am
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May 10, 2013



May 10, 2013
7:13 am
Bengt Nyman

Hi Peter Pal,
I agree with you.
I am a devoted D800E raw photographer. I do not use PS. I use Elements. I occasionally use Lightroom but I prefer doing my work in the Raw Bridge leading into Elements with an occasional visit into Elements.
Peter, I would like to know what features exclusive to PS that are you relying on , or could you get the same results using Elements with a few plug-ins.

May 10, 2013
7:18 am
Thomas Baker

I currently own and use Adobe CS5 and Lightroom 3. They are not mystical, magical things... just tools. The best tools I grant y0u, but just tools all the same. I would not for a moment consider renting a pen or pencil to write with, a saw to cut wood with, a vacuum cleaner to clean my carpets with or a brush to paint with. In the same vein I would not consider renting software (for that is what it boils down to) whatever the price. I've worked hard for my money and I want my money to work hard for me. so I suppose this is the parting of the ways as far as Adobe CS goes, but mind you, I could probably get along with Adobe Elements as long as Adobe keep upgrading it.

May 10, 2013
7:23 am
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February 19, 2013

For those of you who are really upset with Adobe please try to remember they are a business and they have been victims to piracy since the internet was born - who knows how much money they lose to it every year. There is a solution to this that is very cheap, it is called Photoshop Elements Its price is approx. $60 it has at least 90% of the features that full Photoshop has and everything that photographers use that along with Lightroom and you are good to go. Lightroom is available in the cloud or as a stand alone product. Listen to this video from Scott Kelby and Matt K they explain it a lot better than I can:



May 10, 2013
7:28 am
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Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
February 19, 2013

Fred Ross said
Even if it were $5.00 a month I will not use anything on a cloud. I have clients that don't want their things I work on, out on a cloud. One thing that makes me attractive to some clients is I can offer them the ultimate in security. Nothing leaves my private network or gets in without my being in total control, it is only on-line for upgrades.

Your work is not done in the cloud you download the applications to your desktop just like always, you save your files to your desktop if you want, or you can save them to the cloud service and sync both your home and work PC's. You might want to listen to the video from Scott Kelby in the post above.

May 10, 2013
8:02 am

Cloud is another word for external server. Nothing new under the sun. There are much cheaper options to save your work on a external server if you want that. For some people that that can be helpful.

I am sure that the day Adobe CC hits the market, pirates would already found away around it. Storing your files in the cloud (the Adobe external server) will be impossible, but who wants that anyway.

"Photoshop CC will run on your computer just like Photoshop CS3, CS4, CS5 and CS6 did. Once per month, the computer connects with Adobe’s servers to validate the subscription. If it doesn’t validate, the software goes into trial mode. You then have 30-days to straighten things out."

Looks to me you do not have to be a rocket scientist to work your way around that.

May 10, 2013
8:08 am
Ashok SenGupta, PhD

This discussion is predicated on the assumption that Adobe Photoshop is the only way to go, and right now it is, for most people. But that can change. The "market" is the most powerful force of all. It makes and breaks corporations. It creates and destroys opportunities.

In one swift step, Adobe has created a terrific opportunity for another company to step in.

That company would make a Photoshop replacement. All upgrades, even major ones, would be free of charge. The money that would have gone into a bloated advertising budget would go directly towards giving customers value: low prices, fast support, and free updates.

How could such a company sell their product at low prices and give so many free updates? This is how: they would rely on satisfied customers as their primary form of advertisement. Because they would place their money into giving their customers more value rather than buying ad space, many would happily spread the word.

Utopian pipe-dream, you say. No, I copied the the two previous paragraphs almost word-for-word from the website of a company owned by a hot-shot genius computer programmer by the name of Dr Albert Yang. That company is Topaz. Their products work flawlessly.

Do it, Dr Yang, do it. We know that if anyone can, it is you. And you're almost there already. I will pay you $500 for your Photoshop replacement with continuous upgrades until your next major revision comes out.

May 10, 2013
8:37 am

Are you kidding? I don't care HOW much money I have, or WHAT the tax break might be - I'm not buying into a system that allows a vendor to perpetually keep his hand in my wallet. It ain't happening, not now, not ever. It's greed, pure and simple; the same kind of bald-faced greed that led Adobe to price the software at a point that led more people to steal it instead of buy it.

All I see here is a way to drive away the diminishing numbers of legitimate customers they did have, and open the door for a more customer-service oriented competitor to take over.

Adobe makes the best photo-editing software for sure - it's the one reason I have always scrimped and saved to keep up with each new release. I won't be doing it again.

May 10, 2013
9:20 am
Greg Henry

I'm not a full time "working pro", so therefore, while the monthly fees for Photoshop seem reasonable to some, for myself, being one of those who upgraded every-other version, this effectively adds up to a measurable increase in my own wallet.

My main complaint however, is not the money - it's the subscription model, itself. The whole, "You must pay every month or else and there are no other options", bit leaves a very sour taste. I would rather that they simply had raised the upgrade price from $199 to $249 and still allowed DVD sales of the software. There are just too many what-ifs in many minds when you leave it at subscription only with no other options.

Other companies are watching Adobe play their hand, and these companies will start playing their cards now to test the game. Microsoft is already experimenting with a subscription Office suite, and rumors have said that Intuit has toyed with the idea of forcing it's Quickbooks users into a subscription format as well. Once the first company is successful in doing this on a large scale with major software, then many, many, others will follow. It is for this reason that Adobe customers should demand choices - a Creative Cloud option of course, along WITH a yearly or biyearly purchase option as well. Unless the idea of renting all of your software one day sounds appealing to everyone, and saying it's the "wave of the future" isn't enough to cut it for me.

Corel and a small handful of other players in this particular market have an extremely good opportunity here - if they are smart, they will bring in more staff, beef up their offerings, and step up with an equal (or better) product to take customers. Corel recently made a statement on their web site regarding Adobe's decision, but it takes more than a statement, so let's hope they can make a dent.

May 10, 2013
9:36 am
Thomas Baker

Take a look at this official site for confusing pricing.

May 10, 2013
9:37 am

Ed I agree w/ you BUT, I think Adobe has crunched the #'s & are headed down this route full speed. They are looking at the savings of dropping all the costs of hard drive (CD's then DVD's then perhaps flash drives, etc) production & distribution. On top of the savings, they look at the increased profits from no longer having to sell their products at large discounts (so the retailer/wholesaler can cover their costs & perhaps make a profit) to Best Buy, Costco, Walmart, Adorama, etc. Mostly likely they will still sell thru those companies but at a MUCH reduced referral fee based pricing arrangement. They have to figure that dropping all the costs & fees based on the "old fashioned" distribution method will more than make up for the loss of users like us.

I also think that Adobe is looking at trends & sees that the younger crowd is more than willing to pay monthly service fees for everything (I can't believe what my children & their friends are willing to pay for cell phone/web service, etc). The younger crowd also seems to shirk the idea of having DVD's, or any other hard copy method of ownership, & doesn't seem to really care about permanent usage or license ownership. For example, most college classes in this area currently encourage & work thru the CC. Often, a certain amount of complementary CC licenses are offered to professors/teachers/instructors if they have a certain number of students that purchase the CC. If not free, the educational discounts are quite significant. Adobe probably figures they can continue to offer their CC services to students, at a sizable discount, have them used to non-ownership & continuing/ongoing & endless service fees & then simply age out the dinosaurs like us & of course, increase their bottom line immensely.

Now that being said, I think Adobe probably plans to back off this strategy to some degree. They are probably doing what a lot of large companies, & believe it or not a fair amount of government bodies, do. Create a policy that causes significant friction, etc. Then after some time has passed, appear to back off & offer a compromise to satisfy those that are upset by they new policy. (Whether the compromise is a temp fix or permanent policy depends mainly on their marketing strategy.) The fix is often something that would have also created dissatisfaction/friction but in comparison to the new policy policy, seems a better alternative. The fix is then often accepted, with some additional grumbling- but still accepted. In Adobe's case I this will take the form of offering individual product licensing/ownership & a somewhat reduced rate. Possibly with reduced functionality & support from the CC equivalent. But in all honesty, I don't see them making many adjustments from their new policy & they will basically just kick the old school/dinosaurs small users to the curb.

One of the things, out of many, that I find rather curious & somewhat upsetting/disturbing is the incredibly uniform acceptance & positive comment by the professional writers/reviewers like Eric from the major sites. If you visit & read a lot of them, it pretty uniform. The writers all talk about the surprising nature of Adobe's move, but they generally write about the "good" of the move. The negative, backward & "resistant to change" comments are almost all coming from readers. Then I've seen the sites almost immediately backing off their initial articles and writing up an article that either lists the downsides to Adobe's move or at least has a more balanced approach. To me its pretty clear that most of the pro's on these sites already use CC (with the company maybe paying the monthly service charge?) & do view this as a natural progression.

Well anyway, I've written way more than anyone has interest in reading but I will mention one last thing as an fyi. We are very fortunate locally to have a museum that puts on Adult art classes. They have local pro's come in and teach classes in a variety of subjects & skill levels @ very reduced rates (ie: 6 three hours classes typically run under $100). The subjects range from very general photo classes for beginners to very specific software classes for more advanced students. I've been taking classes off & on for a while. The reason I mention this is that ALL the instructors use Adobe CC. AND-they all give exactly the same reason: In exchange for the monthly fee (I believe they all probably get an educational discount) they always have the current version & don't have to worry about getting stuck with an outdated version. When I ask about their willingness to give up access to their post processed images if they decide not to use Adobe in future, they all seem non-plussed for a few moments. It's like they've never thought about that, or really any other possible downside to the CC. Then, of course, they invariably say that it will never happen &/or that Adobe will make arrangements for anyone leaving the fold. Mind you, these are all decent people that don't get commissions or try to sell the students on useless equipment/software. But they all have the same mind set as a lot of the writers on the websites/magazines.

May 10, 2013
9:46 am

what do you use?

May 10, 2013
9:51 am

The thing that Adobe is forgetting is that it's not for me to prove loyalty to them by giving them a constant stream of money -- it's for Adobe to prove their loyalty to *me.* Adobe has to prove to me that they have a new and improved product worthy of my hard earned salary.

"Once the first company is successful in doing this on a large scale with major software, then many, many, others will follow."

Absolutely. And I fear for the day that I have to subscribe to my Mac OS.

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