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Adobe Creative Cloud and the Death of Boxed Software
Read the original blog post
May 11, 2013
9:44 pm
Eric Reagan
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I think he makes some good points Ed; however, as an attorney, I take issue with some of his interpretations of the Terms of Service. Perhaps, in the future, I may do an article that breaks down the relevant clauses of the Creative Cloud Terms of Service.

Of course, I think that fact goes further to his point that these click-wrap agreements (which are so common in our software and online service agreements) are very difficult for the average user to completely understand.

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May 12, 2013
2:46 am
Roger
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62

What are you talking about? With this Adobe software you will still be able to store your files wherever you wish such as on your own computers where the software is running (only the Adobe software need be downloaded on the Internet). You will have the option through the software of storing images on a remote computer system managed by Adobe (e.g. in the cloud). But you can store files in cloud now, with or without Adobe.

The issue is ultimately about Adobe switching to a "lease" versus "buy" sales model for their software suite which includes CS6. This is very typical of software sold in the corporate world although it is becoming more common in the comsumer market also. Adobe probably thinks that their primary income generating customers of the CS Suite software are businesses amenable to this new sales model. Elements and Lightroom will still be sold separately (i.e. not on subscription) and are probably considered to be more for the consumer market.

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May 12, 2013
9:36 am
RTF
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63

I use both LR and Aperture. Just decided (finally) to use LR exclusively. About face! As an amateur I am outraged. To think that if I fall on bad time I could loose it all is insane. I believe LR to be a superior product to Aperture and my editor is Elements. Neither program is worth a damn if you can't access your projects. How elitist can you be. Bye!

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May 13, 2013
6:52 pm
PeteGould
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May 13, 2013
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So Eric – here's yet another perspective on this subject (similar to most of the others in most respects):

I'm not a photographer. I own a video production company. I've been in the business for over 30 years. I've worked with computers since I was building them from kits when they were an electronic hobbiest's item in the late 1970s. It's fair to say that I've been around.

The use of the Adobe suite in video is much more complex than in photography. Video projects are often complex webs of files with a Premiere project incorporating nested AfterEffects and Audition projects as well as layered Photoshop and Illustrator files (with the ability to independently animate the layers). Such a web of files cannot be migrated out of Adobe; hence, a company like mine that creates such projects for clients who may want to come back and tweak something six months or a year or even three years later is bound much more tightly to Adobe than you may be. Consider that as you read on…

The role of a publicly held company is different from that of a privately-held entrepreneurial form. The entrepreneur who starts up a business can do what he likes (as long as it generates sufficient profit to keep him going). The publicly held company serves one purpose: increasing shareholder wealth. It does this or it dies, since shareholders bail and buy other stocks if a company fails to show ever-increasing profits. Anything else a publicly-held company does it does in service of this ultimate goal, whether it's creating a new product, adding features to an existing product, advertising, training, WHATEVER: if it does not ultimately enhance the goal of increasing shareholder wealth it should and will be abandoned.

There's nothing wrong with this and I'm not denigrating companies for doing it. I am merely pointing out that they do. I own plenty of stock in a number of companies and I myself would bail on them if they were not profitable.

But with that said there are competing interests at work, and in the packaged software business these competing interests exist in a balance. The customer's interest is to get fabulous new features at a killer price. The company's interest is to pay as little for development as possible and to charge as much as they can. As these competing interests negotiate their usual dance, everyone is ultimately served: the company is forced to innovate and spend more than it would like (remember that innovating costs money and therefore reduces profit). The customer, impressed with the new features, pays a fair price for them so the company (IF it innovates well and IF its price is a fair one) can make a profit and keep its shareholders happy. Charge too much and nobody buys. Release a ho-hum upgrade with few or uninteresting features and nobody buys. So there is pressure on BOTH parties: the company to keep innovating and the customer to keep paying.

What the CC approach does is to profoundly upset this balance by removing the customer's power not to buy (i.e., to keep using the immediately-preceding version for which they previously paid, without paying for the new overpriced or ho-hum upgrade). Over time, this risks a situation in which the company loses the incentive to innovate. Remember, at the moment Adobe pretty much owns the market, so in coming up with new upgrade features it is largely competing with itself. In a software rental marketplace, Adobe then can sit on its laurels and collect the rents without having to do much else UNLESS a competitor arises that poses a threat. And even then, Adobe can simply buy them as it did with Macromedia, Serious Magic, CoSa and 60+ other companies over the course of its existence.

It can also raise the rent to what the market, overall, will bear. Nearly two years ago, Adobe surveyed my company about the CC concept. The monthly fee they floated wasn't $50. It was $150.

So my concern about a CC-only world is one in which Adobe decides this product line is mature and doesn't need a whole lot of innovating and charges a monthly fee starting at $50 and ramping up over a few years to $150 (adjusted upward for inflation). I don't think that's good for anybody – not the customers, not the marketplace overall and not even for Adobe. Meanwhile, if Adobe finds that this approach is acceptable, others are watching. Imagine a world in which you pay a monthly fee for Windows or Mac OS, a monthly fee for Adobe, individual monthly fees for every plugins package you own, a monthly fee for QuickBooks to run your business. Why stop there? There's nothing to say that music and movie companies couldn't go the same route. There's nothing in theory to stop the elimination of BluRay discs and downloadable files. Instead of downloading music from iTunes you could have to pay a monthly fee for every music cut or every movie file you'd like to be able to watch. Yes, it's absurdist to take this to its logical conclusion but that's because the idea itself is absurd.

I would be much less concerned if Adobe incorporated your idea of allowing a subscriber who has continued their subscription for, say, a year, to have permanent access to the version for which, in effect, they have fully paid. But I don't expect Adobe to do that – precisely BECAUSE I believe their motivation is to slow innovation (which reduces costs) and collect steadily increasing rents. If that is their goal, allowing any such thing runs directly against their best interests.

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May 13, 2013
7:27 pm
MarcSr
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65

My photos are my photos, not Adobe's. Even if I use their software to process and change them, they are still mine. I don't like the cloud and most likely never will. The thought of using someone's software and forever legally and financially tying my photographs to them and having to pay just to view or sell one of my photos is ridiculous. I have PS4 and PS5. I would have upgraded to PS6, but the price is $600 and there is no upgrade pricing. I have used Adobe since PS2. but I'm now looking for a replacement.

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May 14, 2013
12:19 am
TimR
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why cant you just use the software to edit then save your photos to your own drive or backup drive rather than leaving them up in the cloud for adobe to get their paws on it.. i know i wouldn't leave nor trust any of my work up there, not just for adobe's cloud, but for ALL cloud services included. I always keep all my work safe in my drives and backups.. no if's and's, nor but's.. period.

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May 14, 2013
1:05 am
sfwrtr
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The lease is tax deductable. As Eric pointed out, businesses can do this.

Me, using PS since version 4 and getting every upgrade since, will have to switch to Lightroom and say bye-bye to the lovely Camera Raw. It can do other post in GIMP or something else.

Sad day indeeds for the small fry.

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May 14, 2013
12:51 pm
Todd
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Wow! This is a very interesting topic and there are so many valid points that have been brought up both in the article and in the comments section. I do have one question and pardon me if it seems amateurish but I am just now getting to the point where I am buying my first SLR and so I am now thinking of getting some editing software as well. My question is does this change affect Lightroom as well? I found one article that said no and another that said yes. However neither one gave any solid basis for those answers. I looked online at pricing and did not see lightroom included in the Creative Suite so I am assuming they will continue this product but I am not sure. Does anyone know?

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May 14, 2013
1:15 pm
Douglas J. Louden
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69

Todd: Adobe's reply to my own question concerning Lightroom was that LR 5 is to be a perpetual license. Meaning that it would be available as a stand alone, not cloud based product.

The real issue here is not LR5 but the future plans for their products. Will LR become only cloud based in the future? I'm not prepared to continue to support Adobe based on their current business model. I choose not to be held hostage so am looking now for other alternatives. What that will be is still up in the air and not the cloud.

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May 14, 2013
1:39 pm
Bengt Nyman
Guest
70

Hi Todd,

Do not buy Photoshop. Not just because of the controversy but because it is in all cases overpriced and the wrong place to start.
Also, do not start with Lightroom because it is a primarily a complement to PS and it does not do everything you are going to want to be able to do.
Buy PS Elements 11.
It is reasonably priced.
It will remain your property.
It does everything you will need for several years.
I have used both Photoshop and Lightroom. Today I use exclusively Elements.

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May 14, 2013
11:46 pm
Eric Reagan
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You have valid concerns Pete; however, I think the competition points are less of an issue on the video software side of things. Adobe HAS to keep innovating with video software and it HAS to be priced competitively.

Just look at what has happened in the past 3 years in the video post-production market: FCP 7 dies, FPC X was introduced, Adobe rises, Avid drops prices absurdly low (for Avid), FCP X starts to grow up. And, Autodesk Smoke gets a reasonable prices tag and becomes more user-friendly. Not to mention options like Lightworks and Novacut.

There are so many opportunities for software companies to totally and completely shake up the NLE market. If Adobe rests on its heels, in another 3 years, it could be completely rooted out of the market. Again, I think Adobe has to keep innovating and developing…

Unlike Photoshop, Premiere Pro is not the 800lb gorilla – although it has grown wildly in the past 3 years. There are still serious players waiting for Adobe to misstep and will jump at the chance to take Adobe's place.

If Creative Cloud isn't the right move for you (or anyone else), I'd suggest hanging out with Production Premium CS6 and see what happens next. There are still a ton of editors working in FCP 7 – and doing awesome work…

Personally, I think the most interesting market to see a shake up is the enthusiast photography market and those in it who have been committed to Photoshop for so many years.

As long as there is a market of a significant number of consumers unwilling to subscribe to software, I think we'll see other companies rise to fill any gaps that Adobe (or any other software provider) leaves open. One of the big questions remaining is how open is the gap with Photoshop when you have Photoshop Elements catering to enthusiasts. I guess we'll find out soon enough…

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May 23, 2013
7:01 am
me
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72

Well here you go the death of adobe nobody i repeat nobody accept people with money will pay 50 dollars a month to keep updated. what were they thinking this will not move them ahead of the game at all back to FCP/Motion

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May 31, 2013
12:09 pm
Earl
Guest
73

Ed this article mentions cracking software. Adobe themselves have said this new model in no way hinders piracy. Arrr Matie long live the pirates

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July 4, 2013
9:25 am
streetdirectory
Guest
74

An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you need to publish more about this subject matter, it might not be a taboo matter but usually people
don't speak about such issues. To the next! Many thanks!!streetdirectory

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