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Adobe Creative Suite Going Subscription-Only 658

First time accepted submitter JDG1980 writes "According to CNET and various other sources, CS6 will be the last version of Adobe's Creative Suite that will be sold in the traditional manner. All future versions will be available by subscription only, through Adobe's so-called 'Creative Cloud' service. This means that before too long, anyone who wants an up-to-date version of Photoshop won't be able to buy it – they will have to pay $50 per month (minimum subscription term: one year). Can Adobe complete the switch to subscription-only, or will the backlash be too great? Will this finally spur the creation of a real competitor to Photoshop?"
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Adobe Creative Suite Going Subscription-Only

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  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:30PM (#43645913)
    Corporate suicide Microsoft style, only they are not nearly as entrenched.
  • Oh fuckoff. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:32PM (#43645937)

    I have never known a release of creative cloud subscription CS apps to stay working 100% for *anybody* for several months at a time, let alone a whole year. From Internet outages, adobe's abysmal registration and support, to paying but finding day or week long delays until the apps actually detect registration is valid. I gave up after less than a year and bought cs6 in February this year.

    And I'm a total adobe fan otherwise.

    What the hell are adobe thinking? Of ways to make sure their apps are pirated even harder?

  • Re:I love it... (Score:5, Informative)

    by cdrnet ( 1582149 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:40PM (#43646041)

    They are doing this already, e.g. Office 365 for $9.99 per month (includes licenses for up to 5 PCs)

  • Piracy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dancindan84 ( 1056246 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:42PM (#43646075)

    My guess is this is a move to combat widespread piracy among home users. The benefit to home user's pirating your software is that people get to know your product, and then want to use it at work. That's one of the big reasons why MS has turned a blind eye to small time home piracy. Those home users aren't going to pay a $200+ license (or a $50/month subscription) so allowing them to pirate doesn't equate to a lost sale, it encourages companies to stick with a product their workforce is familiar with, and it ultimately get the vendor sales through those companies.

    Basically I think they may be shooting themselves in the foot, but not in the way the summary implies. The companies who buy adobe products probably aren't going to baulk at the switch (and in fact a subscription makes things easier on start-ups since they don't have the overhead of a much more expensive license). It's going to hurt them because there will likely be less people familiar with their product in/entering the workforce. They can offset that somewhat by giving it away/giving heavy discounts to education sectors, but at the end of the day if the person can't fire it up on their home computer free/cheap it's going to make a difference.

  • Re:Already there (Score:5, Informative)

    by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:50PM (#43646181)

    The main one From Apple itself is Aperture. It's not really a photoshop competitor exactly, but where it does become one is the range of plugins that support it now - pretty much most of the powerful image editing tools have Aperture plugins, so I can do fairly advanced editing in Aperture without ever touching Photoshop.

    Aperture is competitive with Adobe's Lightroom, not Photoshop. Neither program supports even basic features like layers, which are necessary for many types of graphical manipulation work. Instead, they're meant as the first step of the workflow for raw image files that have just been taken off the camera.

  • Pricing (Score:5, Informative)

    by proxima ( 165692 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:50PM (#43646191)

    This means that before too long, anyone who wants an up-to-date version of Photoshop won't be able to buy it – they will have to pay $50 per month (minimum subscription term: one year).

    This pricing seemed off. Sure enough, TFA:

    For those who don't want the entire suite, Adobe offers subscriptions to individual programs. And now they're cheaper, down from $20 a month to $10 a month, Morris said.

    So if you want Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. etc., the suite will be $50/mo. If you only want Photoshop, it's $10/mo. Furthermore, if you really only need software for a month, you can rent the suite for $75.

    I can't say I'm a big fan of subscription only (even MS is keeping some purchase options for Office), but pricing like this does create some winners (besides Adobe). Short term projects, for example, may benefit from being able to purchase what was a $2500 package for only a month or two at $75/month. The losers, of course, are those that purchase upgrades infrequently and use their software for years.

    Frankly, I'm tempted by $10/mo for Illustrator. The retail box of CS6 is $540, and I have no product from which to upgrade. So for the cost of the boxed version (with its potential resale or upgrade value factored in), I get 4 1/2 years of use of the latest version. One key difference is I can easily drop it after 1 year (and $120), if I don't need it any more. Still, I understand how abandoning box sales will make some people unhappy.

  • Re:Piracy (Score:3, Informative)

    by raymondcamden ( 2916197 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:13PM (#43646491)
    There *is* educational prices. Currently 19.99 for students/teachers.
  • Re:Yes (Score:4, Informative)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:29PM (#43646771)

    Uhm no. Customers are idiots. Witness what the videogames industry has manged to get out of videogamers.

    The videogame industry mostly sells to teenage boys. You can get away with a lot more when you're selling an entertainment product to kids than when you're selling a business product to other businesses.

    Businesses will dismiss it as the cost of doing business. $50 is a tiny fraction of what a graphic designer costs them every year.

  • Re:I love it... (Score:5, Informative)

    by MoGrapher ( 2658463 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:39PM (#43646913)

    It seems you don't understand how this model works. I have been operating with Creative Cloud for over a year now and it's nothing like you've described.

    I don't want to have my UI move around arbitrarily.

    Don't click the update button then... no one is forcing you to take the updates, you're just a luddite if you don't.

    I don't want to work more in the cloud. I have invested a considerable amount of money in building a high performance system here, with robust storage, networking, back-ups etc. And my system and devices don't trust anyone outside my company with access to material I'm working on for clients.

    I still burden my "high performance system" every day, and even expanded my system to take advantage of the new RayTracing features in After Effects with great results. The software runs locally it's just licensed in the cloud.

    Oh theres another huge benefit... the license is platform agnostic. So for the artist who has Windows and Apple they don't have to get screwed by buying two completely different software packages that never stay in sync.

    If you can predict anything with 100% confidence it is that you don't know as much as you think you know.

  • Re:I tried this... (Score:2, Informative)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:44PM (#43646985) Homepage Journal
    Adobe only made 16 bit channels in Photoshop because somebody added them to a fork of Gimp...
  • Re:Piracy (Score:4, Informative)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:10PM (#43647279)

    Adobe underestimates how much it benefits from piracy. If poor college students can't cut their teeth on the full Adobe suite, they're likely to learn how to use something else.

    Adobe Creative Cloud: Student and Teacher Edition []

    $20/mo for access to every pro grade tool and service Adobe has to offer.

  • by rayharris ( 1571543 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:32PM (#43647515)

    It seems there's a lot of confusion as to what the Adobe Creative Cloud is. I currently subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud at the $50 per month rate. Here's what I get...

    Adobe CS6 Master Collection
    -- Everything, not just Photoshop
    -- Usually around $2600 when purchased as a standalone program
          -- At $50 per month, I could only upgrade every 4 1/3 years
          -- But I get continuous updates
    -- I can install ACC on two computers
          -- One can be OSX and the other Windows
          -- You can't do this with purchased apps
    -- Apps are installed locally
          -- Don't have to be online to use apps
          -- Unless you're past the current expiration of your subscription
    -- Data files are stored locally
          -- Don't have to use cloud storage

    Subscription options:
    -- $20/month - One Application, No Commitment
    -- $20/month - All Applications, Annual Commitment, Students and Teachers (K-12 and College)
    -- $50/month - All Applications, Annual Commitment (What I have)
    -- $75/month - All Applications, No Commitment

    So, while you may still have some qualms about a subscription model, remember not to spread FUD or inaccurate information.

  • Re:I love it... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dynedain ( 141758 ) <slashdot2@anthon ... m ['mcl' in gap]> on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:00PM (#43647889) Homepage

    I remember a little over a decade ago Adobe came from nowhere to own the desktop publishing market with InDesign, against an entrenched challenger which had a virtual monopoly at the time (Quark)... The contrast to the Adobe of today could not be more marked.

    They won because they came to market with a fully-functional new product that had no legacy holdovers, and most importantly ran on OSX. Quark was refusing to build an OSX version of their product, completely alienating their core customer base. Of course it also helps that InDesign could be bundled with and integrated well with Photoshop and Illustrator, which almost every Quark user had running on their desktop as well. Adobe's previous product in the marketplace (PageMaker) had long since died off.

  • by Khopesh ( 112447 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:40PM (#43648387) Homepage Journal

    Still no support for 16-bit per channel after all these years.

    Isn't that implemented by the Generic Graphics Library (GEGL) [], partially implemented in GIMP 2.6 with a migration path that should end with GIMP 2.10 (the next version) fully utilizing it? 2.10 has been specifically noted [] as supporting 16 (and 32!) bits per color channel. That link, from a year ago, even has a screen shot. Still, 2.10 doesn't have a release schedule, and despite that the developers are committed to "shorter development cycles," it looks more like it's still a ways out (2.9, the dev pre-release, is still several months out at the earliest). Still, it's heartening to know they're on the right path (and that they've gotten around the design flaws that preiviously made this kind of feature impossible to implement).

    The worst thing about GIMP is that its existence leads the FOSS community into complacency. People need to realize that there really is no good open-source competitor to Photoshop and start working on one, rather than pretending that GIMP fits the bill and then arguing with creative professionals who repeatedly point out why it doesn't.

    Again, GEGL comes to the rescue. The whole point of it is to make it a library so it can be used from GIMP or any other utility. It represents that ground-up rewrite you so desperately plea for.

    Regarding a professional-grade tool ... Free Software never really offers that. You can get close, and sometimes you get lucky, but for the most part, there is no free ride. Generally, the best you can hope for is a commercial closed-source application that works well in an otherwise Free Software environment. It's icing on the cake when the vendor of such software offers a Free version of it (e.g. Codeweavers and Crossover vs WINE).

    There's always "more" work needed, and for high-end items like the Photoshop features missing from GIMP, there's rarely enough community-driven (read: volunteer) time and energy to make it happen. It's worth noting when a major feature is missing, as car mechanics tend not to be racecar drivers (as mentioned elsewhere in the comments), but it's not worth complaining unless you're rolling up your sleeves and/or putting up a bounty to make developers' time easier to allocate.

  • Re:I love it... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:50PM (#43648505) Journal
    There won't be a $499 student version. Our department is flipping out - if you think the small fry designer is getting screwed on this, it ain't nothing compared to academia seat licensing. The last I heard was Adobe wants to shake us down for $587,000 ***A YEAR***.

    We feel screwed. Pros use Adobe software, but where the fuck are we going to get the $$$ for that? The administration is saying they want to download the expense to the departments. That would be catastrophic to our already stretched budgets. My guess is we'll bite the bullet for a year while we scramble to find alternatives. Photoshop will be hard to get around...


  • Re:I tried this... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Khopesh ( 112447 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:57PM (#43648575) Homepage Journal
    For that list, you've only got a year or two left to wait:

    1. 16bpc [] (and 32bpc) (native, pending for GIMP 2.9+)
    2. CMYK [] (Plugin, supporting GIMP 2.4+)
    3. Single-window mode [] for GUI (native, GIMP 2.7.3+)

    You only used one out of three, you guys are putting less effort into this as the years go by. Guess Gimp has been winning for a while now :)

    Now who's not putting in enough effort? ;-)

  • Good Point (Score:4, Informative)

    by turkeyfish ( 950384 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @07:39PM (#43648897)

    I was a buying Adobe Creative suite and updating for a while, but their business model is now simply too predatory for my tastes. I'll wait for others now with an incentive to build similar, but much cheaper software. I and I suspect most users don't use more than 20-30% of the functionality in the suite as it is. Why pay to rent something you are not going to use?

    The real problem with renting software is essentially that you are locked in. Once you stop paying, your software "goes away". They have zero incentive to let you stay using older versions, so expect once they lock in the market, the window to upgrade before you are shut out will grow shorter, while the price to rent grows larger. You can see this already in their price increases over the past few years. This year it will be $600/yr, the next $700 and so on. Count on it.

    Looks as if Adobe is giving other software vendors a real incentive to displace them in all but the high end niche of the market.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN