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Adobe Ditches Creative Suite

Adobe goes all in on the cloud

According to zdnet.com, the latest version of Adobe’s Creative Suite—the exceedingly popular design, web and multimedia software suite that includes Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, After Effects, Dreamweaver and Acrobat—will be its last, the company announced at its MAX conference in Los Angeles.

adobe-creative-cloud-splashIllustration courtesy Adobe

Moving forward, the company will double down on its Creative Cloud software-as-a-service offering, introduced last year.

Creative Suite 6 — the current version of the desktop-based offering — will still be available for purchase, but it is the final version and will not be updated beyond routine maintenance.

Goodbye, CS. Hello, CC.

This is a big step for Adobe and its customers. For one, the company is finally ditching the boxed software concept, even though it has offered downloadable versions for some time. Secondly, the move triggers a major revenue shift, from the one-and-done model of old to the subscription based one so in vogue in recent years. Finally, the decision indicates that connectivity is ubiquitous enough—at least for the group that spends $1,300 or more on professional software—that it can be fully and deeply integrated into the default experience.

As an architectural illustrator Photoshop has become a mainstay in my process. Let’s just say it out loud.. “I couldn’t live without it!”. Many artists in my profession rely on Photoshop to create architectural renderings. Whether they are traditional or digital artists, the program has many uses and functions that use in our daily business undertakings.

Customers’ early reactions have been mixed. “I really can’t see this working out too well,” one self-proclaimed “art nerd” wrote on Twitter. “A brave move,” another person tweeted. Adobe is “moving to a new model called BS,” a third wrote. And most damningly, professional photographer David Hobby wrote that the decision “feels like the biggest money grab in the history of software.”

He has a point. Individual licenses for the software suite, which comes in various configurations suited to different creative roles, range from $20 to $70 per month in a one-year contract. That’s as low as $240 and upwards of $840 per year—far less than the $1,299 to $2,599 you might spend on the desktop suite.

The catch: just how many professionals (or companies) actually upgrade their software each year? (Adobe has traditionally introduced a new full version of the Creative Suite every two years.) If individual users or companies were slow to upgrade (and many are, including this author), this move is ultimately a price hike. On the other hand, for occasional users and power users, the extremes of the usage spectrum, it becomes a deal: you always get the newest and best stuff for less than you used to pay, or you get access to Adobe’s software for far less than it used to cost.

For Adobe, the benefits are clear. A subscription model ensures regular, stable revenue streams. Focus on a cloud offering allows it to update its entire customer base immediately. Dropping the desktop offering allows it to focus on the cloud and deeper integration of its products. And the new pricing and distribution scheme could result in reduced piracy.

Our company has just switch to Office365, so we are very familiar with this concept of cloud based subscription platforms.

What do you think about this concept?

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