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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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  • I love it... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by click2005 ( 921437 ) * on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:28PM (#43645895)

    For this to work Adobe will have to 'break' older versions with patches.

    Adobe beat Microsoft to it... Adobe Rent for $50 per month.

    Microsoft said they would be doing this years ago (after people found ways to avoid paying MS Tax).
    I wonder how much Microsoft Rent will be for Windows & Office.

  • by i_ate_god ( 899684 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:40PM (#43646039)

    I doubt it'll spur competition, because everyone will just stick with CS6.

    I'm not a multi media production expert, but CS6 seems to be pretty feature complete, and if you ever wanted to go further than that, there is always Processing or max/msp, and third party plugins for After Effects, Premeire, and Photoshop.

  • Already there (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:44PM (#43646109)

    There are already a lot of smaller competitors to Photoshop, at least for photographic work.

    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.

    I always bought Photoshop before because it was still useful in some cases, but don't see any need to pay forever for Photoshop after version 6.0 - or at any rate not yearly, I think you can buy access for just a single month, which I many do at some point in the distant future.

    What is really needed now to help bury Photoshop is for Aperture to offer some easier mechanism to turn on and off adjustments made by plugins, right now they just finish with a new TIFF version of your image.

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

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @03:46PM (#43646139) Homepage

    Adobe Rent for $50 per month.

    Where's the incentive to improve the software on a subscription model? Once they have your money they can just sit around without adding new features, or add features nobody really wants, or...basically whatever they feel like doing. There's no pressure at all to make new versions which are good enough to make people part with more many.

  • Re:Piracy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:12PM (#43646481) Journal

    I wouldn't be surprised if those poor college students get their Adobe suite indoctrination as part of their tuition and fees. Maybe at an educational discount, but nowadays, who knows and why would it matter? Just add another $5k to your undergrad student loan debt!

    As to jobs... again, if a workplace needs CS, they'll pay the monthly license (per-seat, probably) as part of their operating cost. It's going to work out a lot like leasing computer hardware instead of buying it and then disposing of it when it needs to be upgraded.

    As much as I really prefer the model of "one up-front payment, perpetual license" (as close to "buying" as you can get with proprietary software), the idea of software lease MUST be irresistable to SW vendors. Steady cashflow, inherent anti-piracy (if a cloud-based online-heavy implementation), separation of feature developent and marketing plans...well, maybe not so much that one. Time will tell.

  • Re:I tried this... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:31PM (#43646799) Homepage Journal

    I own Photoshop CS6, legally. I will not even consider using Photoshop on a subscription basis because although I am using it for things that I will eventually make money on, I already do not make enough money to justify buying a Photoshop upgrade for $250 every five or six years (three versions) as I currently do. I will never in my life make enough money off of Photoshop to justify spending $240 every year (which is the absolute minimum cost of subscriptions for a single product). And if Lightroom goes the same way, they're gone, too. I prefer Lightroom to Aperture, but not enough to be forced into such an overpriced subscription model.

    But it's not just the cost. Even if Adobe rented it to me for $20 a year instead of $20 a month, I still would not consider it. Here's why: I regularly work on projects that span many, many years. One of my projects is well over a decade old, and still in progress. With a purchase, I can still use a copy of Photoshop from ten years ago on an old machine, if I have to. Adobe could go out of business tomorrow, and there's no problem.

    With a subscription-based app, if Adobe goes away, my copy of the app stops working. Immediately. Given how badly Adobe has screwed up Flash and Acrobat, I truly do not trust Adobe to still be in business in ten years when the last of the major PDF patents start to expire. Therefore, I cannot trust any DRM scheme in which Adobe ceasing to exist can cause me to suddenly and permanently lose access to everything I'm working on.

    And even if Adobe is still around in a decade, there's the problem of Adobe's willingness to continue support. In five years, they could decide that OS X support costs too much, and they could become Windows-only or iOS-only, and I'd be SOL. They could decide that they'll only support each version of the app up until the new version comes out, at which point I'm then forced to do a very painful migration experience three times as often as I currently do. And so on. It just isn't worth it.

    To make a long story short, CS6 will be the last version of Photoshop that I will use until such time as Adobe gets bought by a company who has more common sense. In the meantime, I look forward to helping the Pixelmator team improve their software so that it will be capable of opening the handful of my existing documents that it cannot yet handle.

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

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @04:49PM (#43647035)

    You have no choice. What are you going to do, stop using Photoshop?

    No, but luckily, we already bought enough copies and ours don't stop working at the end of the month.

    And as I noted, buying legal buy second-hand copies is also a possibility, and nothing Adobe does is likely to change the legal position on that in Europe on the evidence so far.

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

    by Serious Callers Only ( 1022605 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:15PM (#43647341)

    You have no choice. What are you going to do, stop using Photoshop? I don't think so.

    There are plenty of choices - some only perform a subset of the work that photoshop does, but for many professionals that will be enough. Some examples:

    For many professional photographers, Lightroom (available separately) provides better tools for photo manipulation and cataloging.
    For many image manipulators, other software like Pixelmator or Seashore/GIMP would provide enough control at a fraction of the price. It's missing some features like layer styles, but it has the basics, and comparing 'cloud' pricing to buying and owning software would make many people consider living with the lost features.
    For many designers, they don't need the many features of photoshop and would be happy with more basic tools for image adjustments.
    For many illustrators, a tool like Inkscape might be a better fit

    Adobe could very easily lose this market within a few years - they've already lost the trust of most of their professional customers, and for many this move will be the last straw. It's a gift for their competitors, this is the perfect time for them to step up a gear and poach a lot of the userbase of Adobe software. I know I'll be looking at competitors with renewed vigour and am not in any way interested in subsidising Adobe's middle-managers with a monthly subscription. The CS suite in general as become more bloated, and less user-friendly with every release, and Creative Cloud is a joke - as a customer I have *zero* interest in automatic updates from Adobe, and I want to be in control of when I give them money - as do many huge institutional buyers/customers - many skip versions for example if the features are not compelling enough. This quote from the OP sums up my attitude to them (as a current customer) too:

    They aren't trustworthy, their pricing model is predatory, and their track record of improvements/bug fixes -- or rather the unspectacular lack thereof -- doesn't speak well of how much value any of us are going to get out of renting our software.

    The lack of backwards/forwards compatability in their file formats is also an issue which illustrates the contempt they hold their customers in - it's a blatant attempt to force upgrades (as is Creative Cloud) - there is nothing in it for customers, so why should they play along?

    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) - nowadays Quark software is the legacy software which everyone loves to hate and hardly anyone uses, and InDesign is the incumbent, that happened very quickly over the space of 5-10 years. They won because their software was better, they listened to customers, and they built a great product which had features (like transparency) that customers had been crying out for. The contrast to the Adobe of today could not be more marked.

    The near monopoly they have on image manipulation can easily change, and I suspect it will, as Adobe have already lost touch with their customers, and are adding all sorts of crap to their products and switching the UI round every year (as a professional user, I wish they'd take half the features out, and focus on making them rock solid and performant). They've started to see their customers as a cash-cow too stupid to look at competition, and that's very dangerous for them - sure they'll coast for the next decade on old customers too lazy to upgrade and repeating revenue fro upgrades, but they've started the downhill slide of spending more effort on wringing money out of customers than on making good products.

  • Re:I love it... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:13PM (#43648063)

    So you are basically betting your company on luck and hope?

    On the contrary, I'm betting it on keeping our situation under our own control and making rational purchasing decisions based on expected ROI and watching the bottom line.

    I hope you wont suffer from feature envy when the newest whiz bang features get released for PS

    Well, we haven't so far, we so we'll take our chances, thanks.

    FWIW, I hope you won't suffer from purchase envy if the newest whiz bang features turn out not to be so whizzy after all when there's no longer any meaningful incentive to improve the product and the subscription fees are up 50% in a year or two anyway. Which of our hypothetical futures do you think will be closer to reality?

  • by LVSlushdat ( 854194 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:42PM (#43648423)

    Or how about this one.. Somebody with lots of $$$ (or lots of backers with $$$$) decides to get with the GIMP crew and fund them to develop/add to GIMP the features/tools that make professional users of Photoshop stick with Photoshop, even though GIMP has, what? 80% of the features of Photoshop?? These somebodies who perhaps are fed up with Adobe and its bullshit antics, and wants to give them a comeupance???? It would be fun to watch...

APL hackers do it in the quad.