An announcement made by Adobe nearly 2 weeks ago appears to have many in the photographic community up in arms. Why?
In amongst the announcement about the new Creative Cloud subscription was a section which said:
For customers who prefer to remain on the current licensing model, we will continue to offer our individual point products and Adobe Creative Suite editions as perpetual licenses. With regards to upgrades, we are changing our policy for perpetual license customers. In order to qualify for upgrade pricing when CS6 releases, customers will need to be on the latest version of our software (either CS5 or CS5.5 editions). If our customers are not yet on those versions, we’re offering a 20% discount through December 31, 2011 which will qualify them for upgrade pricing when we release CS6.
Ok, so who does this affect?
- If you upgrade every version anyway, nothing changes.
- If you use more than one or two Adobe programs, you may want to consider the Creative Cloud offerings once we have a bit more information, particularly if you’re not currently on CS5.
- If you are still using CS2, CS3 or CS4, it’s time to sit up and take notice. When CS6 arrives, you’ll no longer be eligible for upgrade pricing. So what are your options?
- You can upgrade to CS5 now, at a 20% discount, and then you’ll be free to upgrade to CS6 at upgrade price.
- You can upgrade to CS5 now and then not upgrade again for years, and pay full price when you do want to upgrade.
- You can do nothing – just keep using your current version, and pay full price when you do want to upgrade.
- Or you can wait and see what the Creative Cloud has to offer on a subscription basis.
As far as Lightroom’s concerned, we have no reason to anticipate any changes to the licensing at this point in time.
The Creative Cloud sounds interesting, and we only have very basic information so far. The idea is that you’ll pay a monthly subscription, and get access to the current shipping versions of the products. You’ll always be up-to-date, without having to worry about paying for upgrades.
According to the initial announcement, the Creative Cloud consists of:
- Desktop Applications — Every tool that is currently in Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection, such as Photoshop®, InDesign®, Illustrator®, Dreamweaver®, Premiere® Pro, After Effects®, as well as innovative new tools that are currently in beta, such as Adobe Edge and Muse.
- Touch Apps – Starting with the six Adobe Touch Apps announced at MAX , 2011 – Adobe Collage, Adobe Kuler, Adobe Carousel, Photoshop Touch, Adobe Debut, Adobe Proto and Adobe Ideas.
- Services – A version of Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite for delivering interactive publications on tablets, a tier of Adobe Business Catalyst for building and managing websites, and access to cloud-based fonts for website design from our acquisition of Typekit.
- Community –Collaboration features that allow members to share their creative work with other Creative Cloud members and forums to discuss and inspire new ideas.
Why would Adobe want to lead people towards a subscription basis? Is it greed? Well, they are a publicly trading company, so they do have a responsibility towards their shareholders as well as their customers. I wouldn’t fancy being in the boss’s shoes! You can read more about their viewpoint in this post. But there are benefits to us, the users, too.
- If they’re not having to focus on putting in big marketing features to the same degree, in order to sell the upgrades, then they can focus on fixing some of those silly little bugs that drive us mad and smoothing the rough edges off current features.
- If they’re not focused on upgrade schedules, we may get earlier access to new features rather than having to wait until the next upgrade is due – the new deblur technology, for example.
- If they’re not rushing to get the entire suite ready for upgrade release at the same time, they can share more code, resulting in a more unified suite.
- We can spread the cost over a longer period, rather than paying out for an upgrade every 18 months.
- If you use more than a couple of their programs and upgrade regularly, the new pricing is a really good deal.
Information is still very limited at the moment – this was only an initial announcement. I’ve been able to gather some additional information, which I’m told I’m allowed to share with you. As I hear more, I’ll be very pleased to share anything I’m allowed to.
So what else do we know about the Creative Cloud so far?
- The Creative Cloud won’t require you to be connected to the internet at all times. Of course some of the cloud features need internet access, but the normal desktop applications will only need to ‘phone home’ about once a month, and there’s at least a couple of days grace if your internet connection’s down.
- Although not part of the Master Collection, and not listed in the initial press release, Lightroom is expected to be included in the Creative Cloud subscription package, although its upgrade policy isn’t expected to change. (It was mentioned in the Financial Analysts meeting)
- Other programs not listed, and not in the Master Collection, are expected to stay on their current licensing.
- The current subscriptions, which have been available for around 9 months, will be transferred to the new Creative Cloud subscriptions – which are much less expensive to the end user.
- The Creative Cloud is expected to be cross-platform – so all those users who have a Windows desktop and Mac laptop or vice versa, rejoice! Perpetual licenses (current style) appear to be staying single-platform.
- If you don’t need the Touch apps right now, and you’re planning on moving to the Creative Cloud, hold off buying as there’s no way they can refund/compensate you for Touch apps that you’ve already purchased.
- There’s a lot more pricing yet to be announced. That means that there may yet be smaller subscription packages too – with less programs at a cheaper price, far better suited to photographers. We’ve only seen the basic announcement so far, and if there are smaller packages, they may turn out to be a brilliant deal that makes the upgrade policy a moot point.
This is undoubtedly a controversial move, and I’m not going to bring my personal feelings into this blog post. All I will say is WE DON’T HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION YET. We have an initial announcement, which has caused uproar all over the web. Not Adobe’s PR department’s finest hour, for sure. But before you make your mind up, let’s wait and see what else is yet to come.