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Adobe announces plan to switch to subscription service

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Adobe has recently announced that it will be abandoning the Creative Suite structure and moving towards a subscription only service called CC (Creative Cloud). What does this mean exactly?

Previously Adobe sold their programs individually. You bought Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. separately. As Adobe moved forward and created newer applications that applied to the diversifying field of Creative arts they began to sell their programs in suites. Suites were package sets that combined the most useful programs based on the specific job or discipline of that user.  For example a web developer would generally use a different set of programs than a photographer might. The suites were set up and specialized for the needs of their individual fields. These suites could cost in the thousands of dollars depending on the number of programs included.

The programs were released in versions; 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, etc. Every couple of years the programs would update or change. These updates weren’t mandatory but if you did choose to update and had a previous version (within two generations) you could update at a discounted amount rather than having to completely rebuy the set of programs.  The upgrade cost was generally around $200-300. With the addition of the Creative Cloud, Adobe dropped the upgrade cheaper option in favor of customers being required to buy the suites at full price regardless of whether they had the previous version or not. Now even that model has been dropped in favor of a subscription only model.

With Adobe abandoning this system and going to a cloud format, you will essentially be renting the programs from now until perpetuity rather than being able to buy it outright.  The average cost being $30-$75 dollars per month. The advantage at this point will be that with this subscription you will have access to any and all programs that Adobe has to offer. (Depending on the model you choose.) You’ll also automatically get the latest versions of the programs immediately upon release. You also get 20 GB of storage space online for your files.  Please see payment formats below.

Upgrade to Creative Cloud Membership – save 40%

For existing CS3* or later customers

  • Full new versions of every Adobe creative desktop application
  • 20GB of cloud storage
  • Full access to services
  • Requires annual commitment and CS3 or later serial number*
US $29.99
per month
Complete — annual

For new Creative Cloud members

  • Full new versions of every Adobe creative desktop application
  • 20GB of cloud storage
  • Full access to services
  • Requires annual commitment; billed monthly
US $49.99
per month
Complete — month to month

Month-to-month membership to Creative Cloud

  • Full new versions of every Adobe creative desktop application
  • 20GB of cloud storage
  • Full access to services
  • Can be canceled at any time
US $74.99
per month
Single app — annual

Full version of one desktop application

  • Full new version of Photoshop CC
  • 20GB of cloud storage
  • Limited access to services
  • Requires annual commitment; billed monthly†
US $19.99
per month
Creative Cloud Student and Teacher Edition — save 60%

Special education pricing for individuals

  • Reduced price through June 25; normally US$29.99/month‡
  • Full new versions of every Adobe creative desktop application
  • 20GB of cloud storage
  • Full access to services
  • Requires institutional affiliation and annual commitment; billed monthly
US $19.99
per month

So why is Adobe doing this? They have stated that it’s to stay on the cusp of new technology and it’s evolving formats. They’ve also cited that it’s a way to help them counteract the high levels of piracy that occur with their products.  With the programs being required to check in monthly and confirm that the owner has a subscription, piracy would become a thing of the past.

This announcement has created a lot of controversy. Many artists don’t want to be forced into a system that forces them to rent the integral software they need to run their businesses from day to day. Especially without the option to buy the programs they need outright and only upgrade or change their software when it becomes necessary and affordable for them.  They also balk at paying for a large assortment of programs that they don’t need and would never use and being forced to pay for software updates that may not be relevant or impact-ful on their specific industry.

Others think the new format will be great. They feel that the cost of the package offered is comparable to what they would have paid had they purchased the full programs themselves. This tends to be the kind of professional though that updates with every new release and uses the majority if not all of the programs that Adobe offers.

So where do you stand? What concerns do you have if any?

Many are starting to look hard at alternative programs that can substitute for Adobe products. Many expect this move from Adobe to actually fuel their competition to come up with cheaper and more affordable alternatives for consumers. Others plan on buying the latest version of the Adobe programs that they use. (Adobe CS 6 is the latest version and it is still available to be bought outright. But future versions will not be.) And use it as long as they can until they have to buy into the system with the hope that better alternatives will surface in the meantime.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Some other articles on this subject;

Adobe is killing Creative Suites and here’s why

Some Photoshop CC Mathematics.

Frequently Asked Questions Adobe Page for more details regarding Creative Cloud.

30 Comments

  1. Dima

    I bought Photoshop Cs5 last year and it’s the only tool I use for my work so I will stick with it for a few more years or maybe forever because it has everything I need.There is no way I would pay a monthly subscription,I can’t even think about it..paying to work it’s like paying your employer.
    I hate you Adobe

    Reply
  2. Ex Adobe fan

    It’s significantly more expensive if you live outside the US. It’s not nearly flexible enough if I only want 2, or 3 applications. I’d pay the US price for CC, but not the UK price. The single app options are utterly pointless for me.

    Reply
  3. Jim Metcalfe

    So at $50 per month adobe will be more expensive then my computer, operating system and office suite combined. I replace them all about every 4 years. I am switching to gimp.

    Reply
  4. E

    I don’t normally upgrade until the “kinks” are worked out. Being a freelancer without in house tech support I don’t want technical issues to slow me down every time the system upgrades.

    Reply
  5. Mel

    I’m just getting started with adobe however I live in a developing country. A cloud alternative and rental could make it out of reach or counter productive as we are charged high rates for our Internet useage.

    Reply
    • WilsonWJr

      Yes, we have gotten notes form others in regards to the big change of cost depending on which country you originate from. That will make it much harder for many individuals.

      Reply
  6. Jane Miller

    I hate this idea!I use Photoshop, Illustrator and Ind Design but still must buy Dreamweaver as it is. I only update when I have the cash to do so. I would resent a monthly fee. How will higher education pay for this? They can’t charge a per student fee, it would be outrageously expensive. Has there been any attempt to survey uses as to their preferences?

    Reply
  7. Jane Miller

    Sorry, I garbled my response. I guess I was a little upset. I meant to say, I use…..
    and InDesign…. Has there been any attempt to survey users…
    Thanks for your patience!

    Reply
    • WilsonWJr

      Not a problem Jane. We understand your frustration. I’m not sure if they surveyed users before, but I’m fairly positive they are getting an earful now! 😉

      Reply
  8. Wendy Myers

    I think it stinks. I will not pay for a subscription. There should be options. I have CS5 and will keep it until it’s no longer useful. Hopefully there will be another option by then-meaning another product by someone else.

    Reply
  9. Kathryn

    Having started using Adobe products in 1994, I tend to upgrade regularly to the latest CS. Putting a pencil to the new system, it’s about the same for what I pay now, but only because I am an existing customer living in the US. I think this move will limit Adobe’s customers to just businesses in the US who are previous Adobe diehards. In fact, I think this will force even more people into acquiring pirated software, and the current owners to hold onto them as long as possible.

    Reply
  10. Giorgio De Michele

    I think it’s a very bad idea.
    First of all, people will continue pirate Adobe products, since even now the products “phone” home, and it could be disabled, it will just require more tinkering.
    Also there are lots of softwares that are becoming better and better, and do the same things as Adobe softwares.

    But the reason I hate this idea, is because I’m a little artist, and I change computer and softwares when I can afford it. I couldn’t think of paying for automatic upgrade and maybe find that the software stops working because I must change my computer because is too old for them.

    Anyway, this move will make only 2 things for Adobe:
    A) loose a lot of users and potential upgrades
    B) leave more potential market to concurrent products and producers, both open source and normal development.

    We will wellcome both. Until then, I will stick to my last Adobe suite and old computer >__<

    Reply
  11. Louise

    It’s just another step from the ‘big boys’ at controlling technology. I switched to Linux and Ubuntu last year…I use Audacity for recording, Libre Office for all my office needs and editing work, Gimp and Inkwell for my design stuff, Shotwell to manage my photo’s, PDF Mod to fiddle with PDF’s for book page layouts (you can add and remove pages!), and Pitivi Video Editor to make YouTube stuff…all FREE!!!

    Open source is the way to go guys, forget Microsoft and Adobe…

    Reply
  12. PETER

    I LOVE PHOTOSHOP BUT WOULD NEVER TAKE A MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION. I AGREE WITH OTHERS, USING THE CURRENT VERSION FOREVER IS A BETTER DEAL…LOL

    Reply
  13. Vicky

    Wow! This frustrates me… I’ll find a way to produce without Adobe. Will never buy in their monthly registration, NEVER. So I’ll use my CS5 until I can’t anymore. i hate you Adobe.

    Reply
    • Sue

      I switched to Corel Painter 12 and it does amazing things for a fraction of the price. Plus they are offering a deal right now for users of CS4 and up.

      Reply
  14. Bruce

    Good-Bye Adobe

    Reply
  15. Mili

    Well, as long as they keep the cost to $50/month or less, I think CC sounds great. I do believe they should leave the purchase option to their customers. There are people out there who only use one or two of their programs and for them purchase may be cheaper. However, as someone who intends to use practically all of their programs I’ve been looking into the CC option. It is much more economic than purchasing the programs outright, especially since they update them every year or so. $50/month is $600/year. That is less than purchasing Photoshop outright. With the renting system they also promise support, and your software gets automatic updates. I intend to sign up for the year subscription soon and will see how it goes.

    Reply
  16. Dylan Edwards

    This is a terrible idea for freelancers. I don’t want to be forced to use the most recent version of Adobe software, I need to know what my tools are and how to use them effectively to be competitive. Once I get a contract, I don’t want to be hamstrung by a new version of the software that may or may not perform the way I need it to. If Adobe does this I will be looking for an open-source option

    Reply
  17. Diana

    Just bought CS6 last year. mainly Use photoshop and Indesign. I usually only buy/upgrade when I have too or when I have the extra cash. So this will be another extra cost that goes against my bottom line. very frustrating. Wish the price for the subscription was less.
    Unfortunately having the latest upgrades at your fingertips (the only advantage to the subscription) doesn’t automatically come with a guarantee that you’ll get the contracts or assignments that pays for the subscription.

    Reply
  18. Suzanne Bowyer

    Interesting conversation. I’m going to be using one of these alternatives mentioned above. I’m a senior who uses my computer every day, and I can’t pay their upgrade fee, nor do I want to. Shame on you Adobe. GREED

    Reply
  19. John

    I started using Photoshop when it came out in the early 90’s with a multi-floppy disk install on a MacII running at 16Mhz with a 20Mb hard drive and 4Mb ram as a state of the art machine costing $3500 in Australia. It had six filters. I worked in desktop publishing. All artists loved it right away.
    As a media teacher these many years later, I am not surprised at this move. Over the years I have seen people become Adobe devotees. “I’m an Adobe person!” students would say and I would warn them to keep their options open, that one day when a giant company had gathered a global market of dependent followers, they could easily close the net on them. Well, here it is. Pay up fishes, pay up forever!!!
    Oh, one more thing. Over the years $3500 has bought me faster, more incredible, smaller and more portable hardware. Photoshop on the other hand, has got bigger and fatter requiring more disk space for ever new version install. How much bigger will this ‘fat-ass’ approach to programming get once it’s hidden behind ‘the cloud’?
    I’m reminded of the Wizard of Oz here for some reason. Perhaps the modern version is that Dorothy and her friends have to step off the yellow brick road and demand reinstatement of personal ownership the of the ‘means-of-production’ from the great and venerable Tsar Adobe.

    Reply
  20. Lisa

    I find the subscription plan very frustrating. I’m a freelance animator/designer and fine artist. I can’t afford to upgrade each year, so I make the most out the updates I can pay for when needed. The new Adobe plan will be much more expensive than a small business artist like me can manage, as I wouldn’t need the entire creative suite for the work I do. I’m sure the new program versions will not be backwards-compatible either, so that if a client with the CC version sends me a Photoshop or Flash file, I’ll have no option to open it in my installed version. I’m sure this will drive users to opensource products, but it will be a nightmare for independent designers waiting for those products to catch up to Adobe’s next version.

    Reply
  21. Allison

    I do not like this at all. This is high way robbery. They need to find a way of reducing the prices of their products to the consumer. This will reduce piracy. I am not into this rental scheme at all.

    Reply
  22. Dima

    Disguisting

    Reply
  23. Brian

    Generally, I only upgrade after several more versions have been released. The software is just too expensive! Paying by the month will dramatically increase my costs. I am really frustrated by this.

    Adobe, please make this optional!

    Reply
  24. JAQUI MILES

    The subscription is simply out of my budget. I love Adobe products, but would be forced to use open source options if I could not purchase the software anymore. Adobe will lose a faithful customer.

    Reply
  25. Mindy

    As an amateur photographer I only use Photoshop and Lightroom and upgrade those only when I can afford to and it’s worth it. I am trying to REDUCE my monthly expenses not increase them! (I won’t even do Netflix because it’s a monthly fee!) Sorry Adobe, you’ve blown it. I’ll use what I have until I can’t any longer and meanwhile start looking around for non-Adobe alternatives

    Reply
  26. Chris Lauria

    I had a feeling this would happen. Adobe complains about piracy, yet they charge such a high price to purchase their software. If the software cost was more reasonable, piracy would reduce dramatically. There is no need to obtain a pirated version if you can easily afford the legit copy. I’ve always wondered why the staple Adobe products cost so much when each new version contains only a few extra bells & whistles built on top of a software structure that they’ve had for years.

    The only thing that the new CC subscription will do is drive away customers, encourage competitor alternatives (not a bad thing), and make hackers get more creative. Yes, I believe hackers will figure a way around the new Adobe plan. They always do.

    Soon, Adobe will complain their revenue is down and blame it on someone else.

    I guess I’ll buy CS6 and ride it as far as i can.

    Reply

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