The Creative Cloud

You may have read that Adobe products are now available as part of the “Creative Cloud”. That mainly means a rental price instead of a “buy once” (really, “license once”) model. Under this model, instead of paying $1,000 for Photoshop, you pay $50 per month. The software still resides on your computer, but it is updated regularly, and the computer checks regularly via the Internet to ensure you have been paying.

What do I think?

There are advantages to CC (namely the number of included apps; the constant updates; and the fact there is no capital outlay required), but on the whole, I am not a fan:

  1. Adobe is forcing this change on their clients. Photoshop is no longer available as a stand-alone app (mercifully, Lightroom still is – but for how long?). Adobe has a virtual monopoly, and monopolists should be held against a higher standard than smaller players. Adobe says “jump!”, we say “how high?”. We have no choice.
  2. For most, this will be a price hike. The $50 is an annual commitment (so the minimum is $600!) and it recurs month after month after month – forever. I still use Photoshop CS3 when I use photoshop, which is not often: I do 99% of my work in Lightroom. I do not need most apps.
  3. I have the feeling that when I buy an app, I buy that app, not the right to use it. I know, I know, it is licensing, but is sure feels like buying.
  4. Having to get permission to run my app. What if something goes wrong? or I am not online that once a month (e.g. I am traveling)? Software is mission critical to a photographer. Oh, nothing ever goes wrong? The other day, Facebook would not let me log in, giving me an “incorrect password” error. It was a facebook problem, and there is nothing I was able to do. The day after that, Netflix was down. Again, nothing I could do. Later that week, Tumblr was down for hours. And Adobe will somehow never malfunction? And I will always be online where Adobe can get through (e.g. in hotels, only browsing is allowed).

Of course, CC has already been pirated, so it will make little difference in practice. I do wish that the customer’s interest was paramount, though, not the need for corporations like Adobe to squeeze every penny out of that customer. I am glad Lightroom is still a paid app, and I hope it stays that way for a while.


3 thoughts on “The Creative Cloud

  1. bought photoshop cs6 upgrade just in time, so I can use the comming years PS.
    like you, I only use LR and PS and hear that sound of many colleges.
    I think Adobe will lose many costumers [photographers] with this stupide politics.
    they will awake the next years, I’m sure of that and maybe an other developer is coming taking the free place.

  2. To be fair to Adobe, the full suite may be $600/year, but they do offer Photoshop alone at $240/year (with annual commitment).

    Most professionals, I think, will suck it up and pay. Most students and home users will continue to crack it. (Adobe, like Autodesk, gained its dominance through students who became familiar with the software via cracked licence managers and took that familiarity with them when they moved to the workplace. Adobe knows that and will likely continue to turn a blind eye to non-commercial infringement.)

    I suspect (hope?) that the biggest effect of this change will be on the GIMP developer team, who will now be under much more pressure to finish up their app’s feature list and come up with a somewhat logical / not totally sucky user interface for it. GIMP’s odd interface is, IMHO, the main reason it’s not yet a serious competitor to PS in the professional sector.

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