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Buying Adobe Photoshop CS6 (patdryburgh.com)
200 points by petercooper on May 28, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 123 comments



Many years ago the number one page layout program was Quark Xpress. The company decided to save money by firing all their employees who developed the program and were familiar with the code base and save money by outsourcing all development to a code team overseas who was not familiar with page layout software or the Mac platform Quark ran on. This outsourcing team would appear on development boards asking extremely simple questions about coding. An OS X compatible version of the program was delayed for so many years that they lost almost all their customer base to Adobe.

Adobe in the last 5 years has now let go many of the core developers of their critical products and outsourced their key products to development teams overseas who were not familiar with the product or the fields of graphic design and illustration.

What we see now is the predictable result of getting rid of the people who are familiar with the code base, under the theory that developers are interchangeable so one should get the least expensive one.

What is the correct way to do this? The original designers that have the product vision and have created the architecture that supports the market winning product should have been mentoring the next generation of developers at the company on site. This is a practice of apprenticeship which takes a few years. This is what is needed to transfer the knowledge and philosophy of design for which the company is known.


"Adobe in the last 5 years has now let go many of the core developers of their critical products and outsourced their key products to development teams overseas who were not familiar with the product or the fields of graphic design and illustration."

I don't know if that's true, but even if I take your word that it is, this really has nothing to do with the OP's problem, which is order fulfillment and not the actual Creative Suite software.

And as a user of quite a bit of Adobe's CS software (I have a full CS6 Creative Cloud license for a year due to attending Adobe Max last year and had CS5.0 prior to that), I don't see too many signs of what occurred with Quark when it comes to the quality of new releases. The Creative Suite software is all pretty good year over year and generally improves more than regresses, and this is true up to and including CS6, IMO. Granted, one could argue each new release doesn't offer a ton more than the past release (especially considering the premium upgrade pricing), but that's true of virtually any mature commercial software product.


Arguably a company strategy of moving work from skilled people to unskilled people is likely to apply in more than one area of the company, and therefore could well explain problems such as a poor shopping experience.


I can assure you that every person he talked to during the order process was in an offshore call center somewhere. The order processing is probably outsourced to a third party too. I see no other explanation for something that should be:

    if (validatePayment()) {
      emailCustomer(generatedSerial);
    }


I went through the process of helping someone attempt to get license codes for the 32 bit, CS 4-ish versions of some programs that are included, for compatibility with older systems, with the CS 5.5 Suite -- it says so right on the tin that they are included, and the installation programs for them are right there on the DVD's.

The process was atrocious. Each phone call essentially started from scratch. One time, I actually got a U.S. representative, and while they were more coherent, ultimately they were no more help, insisting I go back into the other support "flow", which dumped my right back into an Indian (I'm assuming) support center.

It took a fucking month. By which point, the person's original deadline and need had passed.

At the end, I was explaining to the support staff what they needed to do. I finally got someone with a bit of initiative, and after they went to their manager once and received the wrong information, I convinced them to make a second attempt, again with my clarification.

These "managers" have access to a system that generates keys. All the manager had to do was look up and generate the right kind of key. Which they finally found, after my strong insistence and detailed description.

This was one of many support center "managers" consulted by staff during multiple calls, none of whom had a fucking clue about their own product.

If they had, and had demonstrated any motivation, let alone initiative, this month of purgatory would have been reduced to one 10 minute support call.

You can see why they "need" to shift support overseas. It must be the only way they can afford endless hours of utterly useless support staff time.

Fuck Adobe. I'm generally reserved on HN. But these bozos really deserve the outrage.

P.S. I've nothing against overseas (for me) staff. The staff were consistently polite and patient on the phone. They were just utterly untrained and unempowered to solve the problem. (The "managers", OTOH, were in front of the fucking key generation system. They merely had to actually identify the right product and generate a key for it.)


Even if you were able to talk directly to the manager, you'd have been stuck. (I talked to a woman who claimed to be "manager of customer care and sales in North America", and she didn't even know how to work their systems.)

There seems to be no support management team in any normal sense, and no upper-management concern about the lack of support management.

Here's 59 ways they failed to deliver me a working product:

http://consumerist.com/2008/03/adobe-needs-eight-employees-t...


To clarify, I never did speak to a "manager". That quite apparently simply is not allowed.

I did, finally and purely by chance, end up speaking with a front line support representative who not only came to understand what I was describing but who also demonstrated some initiative.

When they, after my lengthy -- starting "from the top", once again -- explanation, inevitably "went to their manager", they were given an incorrect response. I explained this, and how I had encountered it before, and what was actually needed. And this person actually went to the manager a second time and "pushed back" enough to get the manager to look again. Lo and behold, they found the right product in the licensing system (a special combo installer created for the CS 5.5 32-bit support) and finally supplied me with a working key for that installer.

Unfortunately, my intuition is that that front line representative was probably not long for that job.

P.S. Upon reflection, I now recall that I may have spoken to such a manager, once. Just long enough to get the brush off.


I don't doubt that they are using offshore call centers, but I still don't think the situation is the same as Quark, where the actual end-user product suffered mightily due to the poorly executed offshoring. Adobe's CS products are still pretty great. Overpriced, maybe, but hardly the unusable buggy mess that Quark became.


No. These days, in these types of corporations, when you are asked to "mentor" someone, start looking for your next job.

Sorry, but that's the way it works. Especially if you are mentoring someone overseas.

It's not (just) a matter of spite. Particularly if you're a bit older, and you're staying in or locked into that sort of corporate environment: You are much more employable when you are already employed. (You need a job to get a job.)

This is all, of course, from a U.S. perspective. YMMV.

P.S. I am all for mentoring and have been the mentor more than once. But these days and in these types of organizations, it is often not fostered or rewarded. And it is not up to you to make up the difference with your own sacrifice.

I don't think I'm at odds with what the parent says (who is, I think, describing a different organizational attitude, as opposed to working differently within the one that actually exists). But, as someone who was brought up to "pay his dues" -- I'm not sure whether people even learn or believe that attitude, anymore -- I'm saying, "pay your dues" is no longer a general rule and is often used as a lever of exploitation.

No great surprise, my saying that. But it bears repeating.


Mentoring in a startup (or growing company) is totally different, though -- even if it is training someone to do your job, it's because they need more people to do your job, or because you could move up once a replacement is trained.


I remember that so well! Adobe was brilliant: They gave away InDesign for next to nothing -- made it THE upgrade path to their PageMaker users and owned the market. My understanding was that Quark was a private company so they never had the cash to go after Adobe, also unlike Adobe they were a one product company (and their multimedia offering was terrible).


Believe it or not, Quark initiated a takeover attempt of Adobe around 1998 or so. Adobe had been hurting pretty badly at the time, and their stock was so low that Quark thought that they might be able to buy them and take them private.

I was there...they herded everyone down to an all-hands meeting, and announced that they had made an unsolicited offer to buy Adobe. The room went nuts, but I remember a few of the more senior developers grumbling that it was insane (which it was. Adobe had a poison pill, and even if it hadn't, the stock leapt as soon as the news of the offer hit the wire. Quark never had a chance.)

Three years later, of course, Fred Ebrahimi fired most of the development staff, and the rest is history.


Interesting story.

For anyone else wondering what a "poison pill" is, in this context:

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/poisonpill.asp


Quark very nearly purchased Adobe. Adobe rebuffed the offer and instead focused on developing InDesign, which would be the first mac osx native DTP title, effectively dealing a massive blow to the sedentary Quark. I don't believe Adobe are in a position where they are safe from competition however.

As for Adobe's shitty software, it doesn't help that Adobe have acquired most of their titles via acquisitions, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisition...

Some of the software (such as flash) are handed down many times, ensuring the loss of those who knew the code best, which were often the company owners who cashed out after the initial sale.

Adobe's software titles and portfolio are so massive now that it's no surprise that they're laden with bugs, overly focused on new features and notorious for their CPU requirements, memory footprint and ancient code.

The best Adobe software titles have always been their home grown, more recent titles, such as Lightbox and InDesign. It's clear they know the code here and how to revise it.

Adobe's risk is that, like Quark, their main business is in relatively few titles. They could be competed effectively by anyone who is willing to take on the big 3 design requirements. (Raster Editing/Vector Editing/DTP for PDF/postscript output.)

The reason gimp fails to make a sizeable dent in photoshop is because it has next to no support for CMYK images(or spots), which are essential to print.


Adobe offshores their "mature" but profitable products to Adobe's Bangalore offices they can milk the cash cow with minimal maintenance costs. Examples include Director, Cold Fusion, the Flash authoring tool, and (I think) Flex Builder and Fireworks.


Just noticing, all of those happen to be former Macromedia products.


Also helped that InDesign was less than half the price of Quark and that Quark had been gouging customers for years. Most design departments would remember the premium charged just for the PowerPC version of XPress over the 68k version.

The one thing that really held back InDesign at first was the hideous amounts of RAM it required just to say hello.


Or maybe a better way is “optimizing for outsourcing”—diligent documentation, strict coding guidelines, etc. That would help to improve communication, get new people up-to-speed quickly, keep things consistent.

I'm not sure why there's a need for apprenticeship today, when there are so many ways to record and exchange information. There just needs to be a culture giving value to documents and documenting practices. This doesn't reduce the need to hire good people, but is likely to increase their work efficiency, regardless of how much development is outsourced.


> What is the correct way to do this? The original designers ... should have been mentoring the next generation of developers at the company on site.

... and then being fired? Great piece of advice!


I've been trying to buy Creative Cloud for the last month. And frankly I've given up. I've gone back to Pixelmator.

I own CS3 and was entitled to the one year discount. However my account at adobe where my copy of CS3 is registered was created many years go and appears to be incompatible with their current systems. My account information says I'm from the USA, which is incorrect, I'm from Australia. So when I try to buy Creative Cloud at the Australian Adobe store it redirects me to the American store and when i try to buy it at the American store it say I'm not allowed (because my ip is from Australia).

Right, so I just assumed I'd login and change my country to Australia. Wrong! Their admin panel breaks when I login. JS errors, tried many browsers to no avail. I assume this is because I am missing half the information it assumes I should have.

OK, I'll just call Adobe and they can change my details manually. Wrong! I spent 1hr and 20mins on the phone while they transfered me about. Eventually someone tells me that someone else will fix my account shortly and then I will be able to buy Creative Cloud. Well it's been 3 weeks now and my account still isn't fixed and I can't bring myself to give money to such an incompetent company.


This reminds me of Microsoft's "cloud" offerings.

The last version of Office I bought, I bought online, its undownloadable. There is no CD key in the account. A few years ago I used Office Live. Its shut down and (may be) named 365 or you are supposed to use Office 365. I don't know.

I once used "Microsoft Online" which was just a hosted Exchange server. The goal was to use the web based email, along with Outlook on my desktop, and synced to my phone. They told me to call support to get Outlook to work with the hosted exchange account on my Windows machine. No thanks.

Nothing with Microsoft's "cloud" services make sense. There are a bunch of different names that continually change. Multiple accounts access multiple services. And in the end, most of it barely works.

Its surprising and disturbing to hear the same thing happening at Adobe.

The bones of these bloated bureaucracies are creaking very loudly. The managers of these companies are begging for customer assisted suicide. That's good for small start ups who have no trouble staying on message.


Adobe has started to remind me of Microsoft in other ways in the last few years. Lots of applications that you have no idea what they are for, stuff that doesn't work or gives you some awful experience that sidetracks you from the simple task of what you were trying to originally do. Lots of interrupting dialog boxes and a lack of consistency. Oh and reinventing everything with every iteration.

So for example, a very MS experience in an Adobe app might be wanting to view the online help. Loads Help application. Oh, Help needs updating waits. Help is an Air app. Oh, now Air wants to update waits. Right, all done. Oh, no local help files, and can't seem to see the ones that are local for other apps. Whoa 700mb of help files to be downloaded, I think I'll just view the online version. Taking ages... Now nothing is showing. Gets's some content. Why was I here again? It's honestly easier to just open a browser and google it.


I bought the student edition of Microsoft Office 2007 back when that was the current version and the entire process was simply:

1) Pay

2) Receive email

3) Use download link to get installer (1 .exe package)

4) Use serial included in the email during install


There are some parts of MS that work, some that don't. It's a roll of the dice every time.

Like my BizSpark ran out a few months ago and I only just realised. But I've not heard a peep from them about it. As I was clicking around the MSDN site the whole thing seem to be in two minds about whether I was an existing customer or not.

Or when my credit card was cancelled and they locked my XBox account from adding a new credit card and after two weeks they still couldn't figure out how to unlock it so I effectively lost that account because I couldn't buy gold membership for it. Good thing I care little for achievements.

Add to that the fact that all their sites are built on the very broken ASP.Net membership that means you should never attempt to change your username or your email address as you're likely to lose control of your account.


This is why I only buy software on CD, even if the option costs extra.


For me, this is why I am extremely reluctant to ever rely on proprietary software for important things.

Sometimes, of course, it is unavoidable. The more narrow the problem, the more likely that the software available that solves the problem is somebody's proprietary vertical app. But, at the very least, that gut-level mistrust of relying on non-free software ensures that if I do press the "Buy" button, it is because I've exhausted all other options.


The ironic thing is that until recently photoshop's was cheaper to buy on disk than it was to download. Madness. At least they seem to have fixed that little bug, though the difference is still only £7.


We're in a digital age. You shouldn't have to do this.


You shouldn't /have/ to. But I still do, at least for the important tools.

I've also stopped buying music digitally. I have a Zune pass, but the music I really care about, I buy on CD and rip.

I've utterly stopped buying audio books from Audible. While you /can/ burn CDs and so on, I've basically had it with that nonsense. The last audio book I bought, I had to "turn pirate" in order to listen to (the CD write borked, and I didn't have any apparent recourse other than to rip the audio stream directly).


I agree completely. The last two pieces of software I bought were both for a computer that doesn't even have a CD drive. But it still makes me feel better to have the files, in a way that more or less guarantees there's no prerequisite of having a functioning internet connection (implying their server will also need to work in order for the software to)


Having your software come in a box doesn't always mean anything. Take a look at Diablo III. Even though the particular software that you use may work if you have the disk, there's a good chance that the next version won't even have a physical option.


Unfortunately true. TBH The only two things I've needed/bought in the last couple years were an adobe suite (wanted to get one while I was still a student) and parallels, both for my macbook. I run linux on all of my other PCs and use free (as in proprietary but at no cost) or open source software pretty much exclusively so I'll be alright.

Buying software has just left a bad taste in my mouth most of the time in the last couple of years. Good thing I'm not a gamer I suppose.


Hah, I was in a very similar situation to you last week, wanting to start a Photoshop subscription.

My first issue was that there were two descriptions of what happens when you cancel an annual subscription early. I thought about calling up to ask which one actually applied, but I couldn't stand the thought of fighting through a phone-menu/customer-service/hold dance to actually get an answer, and more importantly, I don't have any trust that the answer I would have received would have been correct anyway!

> Right, so I just assumed I'd login and change my country to Australia. Wrong!

The admin interface "worked" for me, but the problem is, you can't change your registered country anyway. I went round and round in circles, and would actually end up at the South African store regularly, for some reason. Not to mention that if you visit the business store, the Photoshop subscription plan isn't even present.

I was too lazy to bother calling them up to change it, so I just registered another account (I didn't have any previous purchases). Then I ran into the next problem: I had no idea how to actually download the program! The Adobe store redirected me to... a blank page. And in the 5 emails they sent me regarding the subscription there were no links to download the program. Somehow I discovered the Adobe Creative Cloud Client, which finally let me put in my login and download/install the software.

God help someone like my (artistically inclined) mother if she ever wanted to do the same. It really is amazing how a process can be so broken. It's broken enough that I'd consider going and searching for a pirate version purely to avoid having to deal with Adobe. And that saddens me, that a company with such a tight grip on a market can treat it's customers and users with such contempt.


Perhaps this kind of stories is what makes the App Store very successful.


But it's not without its idiotic blunders. Topping the list is Apple's insistence that your user ID be an E-mail address. That's not just a bad idea, but it has resulted in untold numbers of people with numerous Apple IDs and content bought with all of them.


I actually think this is a good idea. An email address is unique and easy to remember for the user.

The stupid stuff is the following:

This was not always required. I think there was a transition period were it was not enforced but only advised on the register page. And also somewhat ambigous like "Enter here your Apple ID username eg. BruceWayne@mac.com" I know two people who entered their (company) name in such a way, but without really having a dotmac address! And then dotmac was changed to Mobile Me and even though me.com was retained for iCloud I couldn't use an "old" Mobile Me email-adress, which was sad because it was a nice address with the initials of my name, but had to make a new me.com iCloud account/address. Really Confusing.


Which you can merge to the same account [edit: actually, no, you can just use in tandem].

But, really, how would that be different if the user ID was a random name? People could still have "numerous Apple IDs and content bought with all of them".


As far as I'm aware you can't merge Apple IDs and it has been said a few times that it isn't likely to happen, I might be wrong however.

If it does exist, do you happen to know the URL as I've been looking to do this for a while.


>As far as I'm aware you can't merge Apple IDs and it has been said a few times that it isn't likely to happen, I might be wrong however.

Checking again, that feature does not exist. I was certain I has seen info about doing so, but the official Apple docs say "nope".


You can't use them in tandem anymore if you want to enable automatic download. Then iOS locks you to one account for 90 days.


They're just as bad with the downloaded copies.

I bought Photoshop Elements online for the Mac a couple of years ago, and it took two days for them to email me my serial number.


I'm about 90% sure that Adobe makes their software very easy to pirate in order to keep their monopoly. For CS4 and CS5 there were no cracks to install, just map the sites it uses to call home to localhost and enter a fake serial number. You could even run the updates. They could have very easily disabled this in an update, but they never did.

Businesses will still pay for it, and there isn't much room for competition in the individual/very small business/student market because it's hard to compete with free.

No one's really clamoring for a reasonably priced alternative b/c it's basically free.


Pixelmator is a reasonably priced alternative that has been making some headway.


This seems like another arena that's incredibly practical, ripe for disruption and one of those "hard ideas" that PG talks about that people naturally shy away from, but has real market potential.

Forget the next SoLoMo craze - who wants to disrupt Adobe? They need it.

"Adobe is Lazy" - Steve Jobs (http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/01/googles-dont-be-evil-...)


> Forget the next SoLoMo craze - who wants to disrupt Adobe? They need it.

I agree. As a photographer, I use Lightroom and Photoshop for most of my post-processing needs. Lightroom, when it hit, barely felt like an Adobe application (it's great), but Photoshop has always been a nightmare of crashes. CS5 on OS X is especially bad.

As an experiment, I tried to use (only) Lightroom and Pixelmator[1], which is the closest "indie" alternative to Photoshop I could find/had experience with. Note that GIMP was out as 2.8 wasn't released by then, and older versions were horribly clunky. Pixelmator gets a lot of things right; it's fast, has a clean UI and supports a raft of layer blending types. But it lacks a lot of useful keyboard shortcuts-and I don't mean "Photoshop shortcuts", I mean shortcuts, period.

This in itself slowed me down considerably; I have a small set of Actions in PS that I use for some final tweaks on most images. Having to re-create those layers manually, for each image, isn't that fun.

I would definitely say that for most users, Pixelmator (or Acorn, etc.) can definitely replace Photoshop. But it's difficult to move away from PS when there's such a large ecosystem attached to it (as unfortunate as that realisation may be).

[1] http://pixelmator.com/


I couldn't agree more with the sentiment that Lightroom doesn't feel like an Adobe product because it just works so well (barring speed issues that crop up on some machines). The purchase process for Lightroom 3 a year or two ago, however, was a stark reminder of who I was dealing with.

I purchased an education license online, going through the convoluted student status verification process (which was incredibly unintuitive at times, e.g. I had to open a support ticket to request verification). After I put in the payment details, I was told that the purchase was successful, and that I should be expecting the license key in my e-mail shortly. Few weeks pass with no e-mail, and no indication that anything had gone wrong, so I called them up. Turns out they had never received the payment, and the representative on the phone actually made me go through my bank transactions to verify that the transfer didn't take place, rather than confirming it on their end. Finally, I just gave up and used a pirate version until the version 4 beta became available. I hope the process goes smoother when version 4 becomes available for purchase.


Lightroom 4 is available to purchase now, but the buying process is still unintuive (at least as far as the education verification process is concerned). In a moment of madness I decided go for the physical copy, but that just yielded a ridiculous level of nested packaging for what was just a cd in a sleeve with a key stuck to the back.


When it's such a hassle to buy a legitimate copy, they wonder why the hell people pirate. Don't blame you!


Photoshop CS6 is a huge improvement over CS5. A lot of small changes that I think as a whole are long overdue. I'm one of the most anti-Adobe guys out there (as my Facebook feed is 50% jokes, and 50% screenshots of stupid things Photoshop does) but I have to give kudos to them.


Considering that gimp is out as 2.8 now, and will properly hit 3.0 before this mythical competitor can be written, what does Photoshop have that Gimp doesn't?


Quite a bit. Looking at GIMP's roadmap:

- Improvements in the text handling

- Automatic layer boundary management

- Filter layers and "Layer effects"

- Non-destructive editing

- Auto-anchoring of floating selection - or better, get rid of floating selections!

- Script recording and playback

- "Smart objects"

Even for me as a mere moderate power-user (I design websites/apps and do photo adjustments), there's four things on that list that are absolutely essential. And I'm willing to pay the extra dollars for it given how it enhances the final product.


That's quite a list. I wonder why it takes so long for these features to be supported. Perhaps what's necessary is a new paradigm of development: a core application with composable modules developed by a community on the basis of need. Evolution of standards will be tricky to manage but it seems likely to be inevitable.


It takes so long because the GIMP developers have a long-standing tradition of telling people with requests to go jump off a cliff if the feature being requested isn't directly useful to the developers. They have a fairly typical failing in assuming that because the source is available, anyone asking for features has the ability and the time to implement those features themselves, when often that is not the case.


So I'm thinking one way to reduce the barrier for entry into participation is to have the bulk of the application's features in a higher level language (rather than C), with the core in a high performance language. Unfortunately this is not something I'd have the time to pursue.


If they're not being paid to work on it, why would you expect them to prioritize things they're not interested in working on or not going to use?


Because they want people to use their software?

Of course, if you don't care whether or not anyone uses your software, telling people with questions and requests to jump off a cliff is entirely reasonable.


I don't expect them to. I'm just answering the question as to why features take so long to get implemented.


I tried the Gimp out in October last year in relation to photography. I found it pretty horrible. I had to download a third party RAW plugin. The plugin didn't support one of my newer cameras RAW files. With the files it did support the UI was a mess, and vastly less intuitive then Adobes raw offering.

Once I had a photo in the Gimp, the most obvious thing missing was non destructive smart objects and filters/adjustment layers. These are a pretty big deal for me, which is a shame, because I would like to see the Gimp progress - it still has a long way to go.


Sometimes I wish I could disrupt Adobe, but I can't figure out how. They have /so much/ inertia it is absurd.


For what its worth, I use aperture and pixelmator together to do all my photo processing.


As a photo / design professional or a casual user?


CodeMirror for graphics?


Oh, with Adobe there are different kinds of hell: "Adobe’s rep told me that she’s very sorry, but I simply cannot buy CS 5.5 via the website. I must have an American billing address, or else they can’t sell me the product. Can’t buy it on the site, big deal. But wait, the plot thickens." http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/adobe-actively-encouraging-inte...

Or: Why are UK prices nearly double US prices? It's cheaper to fly the team up to New York and buy the software there. https://getsatisfaction.com/adobe/topics/why_are_uk_prices_n...


This happens in all sort of markets. You charge based on the cost of living. I don't like it, but it happens. It is usually linked to a contractual obligation in the locality, which means they have to charge higher to support the costs of their local representatives.


So photoshop is 2x the price in the UK (where I live) due to cost of living, but my colleagues in the states earn 1.5x my salary also due to cost of living? Does not compute.


It's not the cost of living nor the cost of technical support as one of the responses discussed, but the fact that EU law places so many additional constraints on businesses that the cost of doing business there is vastly higher than doing business in the US; accordingly, US companies make up for the difference by charging EU customers more for their products.


The EU does certainly not place restrains on vendors which DOUBLE their costs. Is Windows twice as expensive? Are apps on any appstore twice as expensive?

This is just Adobe trying to rake more cash in. They are betting that companies are not going to switch from Adobe products to something else because a licence is twice as expensive. So far, it seems to have worked.


Except in countries like Australia your support is frequently based in West Coast US and India / Philippines yet your still charged an uplift.

If Support location mattered, you would have hawaii being charged differently from the other 49 states for every bit of software. As it is I have at least 2 hours of cross over with US business hours. If I bought the US software and had to call in during US hours, THAT would be understandable. No local free call number... that is understandable. But NOT just not selling it.

In the modern environment, if your entire transaction is via the website and the support rep is in india, why does it matter if I am buying from the US or Australia through your US store?

Surely the only cost is currency exchange, which I have to cover anyway on my Credit Card.


What is new (at least to me) is that Adobe keeps the price difference for their subscription plan. You can install whatever language you want - but you have to pay the local price.


In my long gone youth one of the most exciting things in the world was an upgrade to Photoshop -- each release brought out a new killer feature that you couldn't even get from a Quantel Paintbox which would have cost you more than you could have imagined.

Now in my old age I feel like I'm being held hostage to ever damn upgrade with few killer features that blow me out of the water. In fact just seeing a headline about an Adobe upgrade makes my blood boil because I know my credit card will be involved. And I've got no choice because you can't really afford to be behind one release if your work with other people.

So if any of you are looking for "that disruptive opportunity" just come up with a CS killer that doesn't feature an extortion business model. I'm frankly shocked that Apple hasn't done this yet, my guess is that it has something to do with patents or perhaps even blackmail material (because I can't think of a good reason why they haven't done it).


In CS6, they finally corrected a lot of outstanding annoyances that pervaded previous versions, like vector pixel snapping, changing multiple layers colors at once, layer styles on groups, fixed 90 degree rotating... the rest of the changes are here:

http://bjango.com/articles/photoshopcs6/


>I'm frankly shocked that Apple hasn't done this yet

My guess is that Apple has basically decided the pro market for anything is not worth their while. Apple makes virtually all their money from mass consumer products like the iPod and iPhone. The spectacular growth in those segments has been paired with a steady decline in Apple's interest in servers, desktops, pro video, pro photography, etc. Good for shareholders no doubt, but I think it's sort of a shame.


Not sure if it's just me, but I had absolutely no trouble going through the checkout process and just finished installing several of the apps. I was never asked for a serial number for Photoshop - it seems to be baked in if you install through their installer and log in with your Adobe ID.

(Also, paying $30 per month vs $1900+ up front seems to be a hell of a deal.)


$1900 (which version?)

Are you buying new or upgrading? Checking their website the upgrade is only $525. As they only come out with a new version about once every 2 years that. $525 to upgrade vs $720 for a 2 year subscription.

Even if you were purchasing new it's still cheaper to pay outright.

6 years at $30 a month for the first year + $50 for the next 5 is $3360

1900 + 2 upgrades at 525 is $2950


Buying new. I needed Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects for a ~12 month project. Buying each individually would have been more expensive than the suite.

Even if I decide to keep the subscription after the project is over, paying just $400 more over 6 years for the benefit of amortizing my business expenses, not having to worry about being out of date, and not having to predict ahead of time which tools I will need in the future (e.g. if I had purchased the Web Suite a year ago, I wouldn't get After Effects) is totally worth it (to me).


Same here. I signed up for Adobe Creative Cloud yesterday. Easy peasy.

The first step after getting a Creative Cloud subscription is to install the "Adobe Application Manager." With that installed, it's one click to install whatever Adobe app you want. There's no bothering with serial numbers.


I had no trouble either. Do hackers hate Adobe?


Same here. Two of us bought Creative Cloud a week ago. We were up and running as quickly as we could download it.


Same thing happened to me a few years ago when I purchased CS4 via download. I guess Adobe still hasn't cleaned up their fulfillment system.

I chose the download option just because I thought it would've been really simple: I assumed I would pay, then their shopping cart system would immediately give me a license key and a download URL. This assumption was based on the fact that I was going to spend $800 on a piece of software and it seemed like a reasonable expectation that there'd be a quick turnaround.

Noope. Someone apparently had to manually review the order, so that a license key and download link would make it to my email at some indeterminate period of time in the future. And of course, I bought it on the Saturday of a 3-day holiday weekend, so it wasn't until that Tuesday afternoon that a human punched the magical "fulfill order" button.


My company uses volume license keys. It takes at least 24 hours to get an order filled, usually more.

Of course, if you are only adding extra licenses onto a key you already have, no big deal.

In any case, it's inexcusable. But that's what you get with a monopoly.


I wonder if they have a payment fraud problem that necessitates manual review of every order. Not that it would excuse the process or the support.


But this is software as a service -- if fraud is detected 48 hours later, it seems like Adobe should just be able to disable the user's access at that time. They didn't lose anything by letting the user use Photoshop for two days.


> They didn't lose anything by letting the user use Photoshop for two days.

But they did. If they don't catch the fraud before capturing the funds, then they'll find out about it when the real card holder charges back the unauthorized payment. Now they:

1) Lose the $10-25 chargeback fee.

2) Risk their ability to accept Visa and MasterCard cards at all if their chargeback rate exceeds 1% for multiple months.

The harm of payment fraud is not the lost product or service. Payment fraud is a direct threat to the very existence of an eCommerce business; the ability to accept payments from customers. If your merchant account is terminated for too many chargebacks, your company and all its principles are added to the MATCH/TMF (Terminated Merchant File) lists which all banks/issuers must consult before opening an account. They're essentially banned from accepting credit cards for life, for that business or any future venture.

Considering Adobe's software has historically been among the most pirated, I wouldn't be surprised if they have a significant number of people trying to buy it with stolen card numbers. Brand new phished CC#s can sell for just $1-2, the software's worth $500-1000... I imagine if they didn't have some serious mitigation effort in place they'd already be out of business.


Then why can't Adobe send a key, wait to verify 24 hours and then if it's fraudulent then take the money out 24-48 hours later. It means the user would get to use the program for 24 hours if they ARE fraudulent but then they can de-authorise the key. Seems like an easy way to provide a good service to the customer and alleviates the problems with fraud to the same level they have now.

Also keep in mind that this is a pretty expensive software package, so I would think they should have a team that works on this.



Sadly Gimp is no alternative for people who want to buy Photoshop and Creative Cloud.

While I agree that most private users and to some point professionals can also accomplish the same results in Gimp as in Photoshop stuff like Bridge, the Creative Cloud and all those tools around the core applications makes the suites so valuable for designers that just do not want to roll their own sync / management / foo solution with even more software.


it's very possible that gimp might not be able to cut it for a lot of creative professionals, especially if they already have a lot of process and money invested in the adobe stack.

it's definitely my experience that a lot of more of my professional/creative friends rely on photoshop than gimp.

with this latest push to 2.8, i'd say the gimp folks still have a bit of kick in them and it's hard to argue with their licensing strategy. since the latter is what the original article was addressing, offering up the gimp as a good alternative seemed prudent. and, possibly, if facing a situation where i couldn't get photoshop licenesed over the weekend, it seems gimp would do in a pinch.


About as useful as running a Geo Metro in the Indy 500.


I've used GIMP for as long as I've been making websites it seems (about 12 years) and it works fine. I'm not a graphic designer though, so I'm not doing anything radical.


My neighbor is an attorney that handles their licensing contracts (came in as part of an acquisition). He is quite impressed with the licensing process/infrastructure, but I wonder if that's the problem: the processes are set up for major deals with huge licensees and, as a result, the individual gets screwed.

I'll have to ask him about it.


Try to find out what the licensing is for Creative Cloud.

I spent a couple of hours on their help forum - which is manned (and womanned) by frustrated users and some adobe employees (probably contractors) who don't seem to understand the questions.

I finally succeeded in finding a pdf document containing all the terms and conditions in N (where N is large) languages. No index, toc, or hyperlinks. English language (actually attorney-eeze) was way down in the doc.

Ordering isn't the only thing Adobe has screwed up. Their CS6 documentation has no index nor table of contents. I've wasted hours simply trying to find answers to simple 'how do I . . .' questions.

This is a real startup opportunity - if you can negotiate the IP nightmare.


That's been my view on things. Not that I know your neighbor, but... for a company that has that much marketshare, they concern themselves primarily with catering to getting large amounts of money from larger companies. They've optimized for the fewer use cases, and seem to not understand there's a larger audience who'd be willing to pay them money if the process was easier (even at current prices).


Wait until a professional engineer review the version and publish it on piratebay. Probably the process on downloading, and make it work on your machine, is faster through piratebay than from the official webpage.


If he thinks buying Adobe software is a nightmare wait until he needs to return it. Spent hours on the phone, eventually they had to call in a special team to handle the request. kafka has nothing on adobe.


And if you happen to live outside of the U.S., you get to pay twice a much for the exact same digital download.

Adobe make it really difficult to want to buy their products.


So I saw this on /r/australia recently: http://i.imgur.com/zhLJO.jpg

http://www.reddit.com/r/australia/comments/tcx5s/i_unknowing...

Not quite legal -- but possibly close enough.


Trying to get a trial account for Adobe Digital Publishing Suite was nigh-on impossible. The stated time was "5 working days". Unfortunately the exact time we needed it was over the long thanksgiving break in the States.

Even after 5 working days we never got access and have to resort to using the Adobe reseller's account to actually try out the software.


The real reason your Photoshop experience sucks is that has a monopoly. The problems would all go away if that changed.


My Photoshop CS6 Beta had expired as well. I followed the purchase link, signed up for the discounted $29.99 a month plan and followed the instructions in the confirmation email I received within a few minutes. I ended up downloading a new version of the Adobe Application Manager and then downloading a new (non Beta) copy of Photoshop CS6. This version gave me the option to sign in with my Adobe ID which immediately activated my copy. No serial number required. I think Adobe could make this process more clear than they have, but I can't fault them for delaying my activation.


Actually, you can get started on Creative Cloud immediately (I did with CS6...just an online signup and confirmation through email), and in any case you can use the software for 30 days without a serial number.

Not saying Adobe support is great though. I had a nightmare experience some years back: my CS3 had license issues after installing trial CS4, and the good folks in India insisted I was ineligible to use my CS3! It was the single worst customer support experience for me EVER. A subsequent follow-up call resolved it easily though, so it's only a few bad apples IMO.


Why on earth EA was voted worst company is beyond me. Actually I'm under the impression the Ballot boxes against EA were stuffed by religious groups unhappy with EA morality.


>Actually I'm under the impression the Ballot boxes against EA were stuffed by religious groups unhappy with EA morality.

From what I've read that didn't actually happen. EA spun it that way to make it look like they were the victims, and it appears to have worked.

Here's a forbes blog article about it http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/04/05/ea-in-full-d...

Basically the only proof that EA has is some anti-gay hate mail they received that has nothing to do with the poll. There are no indications that the people voting in the consumerist poll were some kind of anti-gay mob.


It pains me when css is used to make text less readable.

Yes #333333 and 0.875em thin text looks cool on a grey background, but it is hard to read even with these young eyes.


Feel free to bump the text size up. The site's layout will adjust accordingly :)

And, for the record, the background is white, and #333333 meets the criteria of both the W3C and the WCAG (http://www.snook.ca/technical/colour_contrast/colour.html?fg...)

Thanks for reading!


the color contrast might meet the criteria, but the font weight and font face certainly aren't helping.


Again, feel free to bump up the text size if it doesn't work for you. The site is designed to adjust its layout based on the font size, so the line length will never change. One of the best features of the web is it gives users the ability to adjust these types of things based on their own personal needs.

All of that said, I do intend to redesign the site with a larger font size. But, in the meantime, a little CMD (or CRTL) + + will go a long way ;)


You're being a bit of an idiot telling people to bump the text size up. Just say 'Yes, I mean to fix that at some point'.


We sell software online using PayPal. Occasionally PayPal will hold up the sale for mysterious reasons for up to 5 days. Then we have to tell the user that sorry, we know we just need to send them an email with a license key but PayPal are holding it up. I guess payment systems are just slow, probably for security/fraud prevention reasons.


We do sell software, too. But we send the key immediately. In case the payment gets declined later by our processor we just lose one license which is no real cost to us. But a good customer experience is important enough to us to warrant this risk.


Contrast this with ordering something from Amazon with a Prime account -- you can usually place an order, pay, and receive the physical product within 24-48 hours.

It's absurd that Adobe can't even do this for a digital product.


The article is just a rant. I came to comments to see something thought provoking. Like deep analysis on the corrupting factor of monopoly or the problems of large corporations.

I'm disappointed.


An update to my Creative Cloud confusion: http://patdryburgh.com/blog/no-serial-number-needed/


Maybe their support sucks or they don't really understand your issue - but you do not need any serial number for Photoshop CS6 with monthly plan.


For what it's worth, I got my key within 10 minutes.


>within seconds, a serial number for the update was in my inbox.

Emailed serials? Surely that is not a good plan. Email isn't exactly secure.


I tried to buy CS6 subscription five times, each approach took me 10-15 tries. Not the representative on the phone nor the web chat could help me: "we cannot process your order".

The same card was successfully used to buy Lightroom4.

Noone at adobe could tell me why my payment doesn't go thru.

Screw 'em, I have pirated the photoshop CS6. :(


Adobe fucks another hostage^H^H^Hcustomer. News at eleven.


>And then, the nightmare began. I asked the support person when I should expect my serial number. Expecting an answer somewhere in the neighbourhood of 5-10 minutes, you can imagine my surprise when I was told “in the next 24–48 hours.”

We really have trivialized words like "nightmare" to death in the first world.


LOL, yes we have.


People's nightmares are relative. Nightmares can often be about trivial things gone awry.

Promising a client concepts, then immediately asking for an extended time, only to learn that you may have to ask again can be considered a nightmare, depending on the client.


Same thing happened to me.

Bought latest Lightroom a month ago directly from their site, and it took 3 days for them to acknowledge the purchase and give me the license key.

Very odd.


The last two times I've reinstalled CS4 on my PC, I've had to call Adobe support (I recall having to root around the website for a phone number). Both times, the support person requested to remote log into my computer so they could reinstate the serial number.

I allowed it, but wasn't happy about the invasion of privacy.


Have they fixed the "won't install on case-sensitive filesystems" bug that has been in every version of Photoshop for the Mac?




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