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I'm looking forward to switching to Creative Cloud at work - I'll never have to make the case for upgrading again, always getting new features as they're released, and I'm sure my employer will be as happy to smooth out one more expenditure timeline as Adobe will be to smooth out its revenue timeline. Going CC-only makes sense for business.

However, this totally kills my hobbyist usage at home about three to five years from now. I only ever use Photoshop, Illustrator, and occasionally After Effects for my independent design projects, and was finally able to justify upgrading from CS4 to CS6 a few months ago. A few hundred dollars every few years is worth it to pursue my own experimental work.

But I'm not going to justify $50 per month for that, and I have a hard time imagining others justifying it. I think Adobe just priced themselves solidly out of the prosumer market.

(Just to add a little math to this: A $700 upgrade every three years comes to $20/month. If Adobe can offer an a-la-carte Creative Cloud where I can get three or so apps when CS6 finally no longer cuts it, I suppose this will ultimately be a non-issue.)

Yes, this is exactly the situation I find myself in. I'm not really much of a designer, but I bought Creative Suite when it was called Design Collection when I started my first company, did my own flyers and booklets in InDesign, business cards in Illustrator and earned money doing Photoshop and Illustrator work even though I'm really a software engineer.

Now I'm a nearly-40 year old software engineer with enough disposable income to flatter myself by upgrading Creative Suite on the trailing edge, but hell will freeze over before I pay for Creative Cloud at those prices.

Adobe have also screwed over Audition in the later versions to the point where I'll just use Cubase in preference; so much for the fast, elegant, simple workflow they inherited from CoolEdit.

"I think Adobe just priced themselves solidly out of the prosumer market." I think what they did, or at least what they wanted to do, was find a fix for the rampant theft of their products. What this now does is open up the domestic image processing market, while businesses can be milked for all they're worth. I'll stick with Photoshop CS3 until it stops working.

And by "fixed the rampant copyright violation" you mean "closed the top of the funnel to newcomers". I don't know a single college student or new home experimenter who paid for Photoshop, but I also don't know a single professional user who didn't pay for it.

Photoshop has always been way too expensive for hobbyists or people just dipping their toes in the water. The people who pirated it and got serious about it eventually bought a copy, but the people who said "that's nice" and uninstalled it never would have paid for a copy anyway.

This will make their numbers look good in the near future, but I'd stake cash money that it's going to screw with their long-term user base.

> The people who pirated it and got serious about it eventually bought a copy, but the people who said "that's nice" and uninstalled it never would have paid for a copy anyway.

Except the entire industry claims that the number of people that would have bought it if they could not have pirated it is GREATER than the number of people that pirated it, used it as some kind of month or year long trial-ware, and eventually paid for it.

My own experience - the day a warez copy came out on Google's front page results for my software, was the day sales got cut in half, and stayed cut.

People pirate because it's easy to do, and fewer people will buy it if it's being given away for free by some site that generates its revenue from stealing other peoples work and showing you ads in the process.

businesses are different from people. They are "much" more likely to get caught through auditing or the like. Never mind the fact that companies have budgets allocated for this sort of thing, so there's no real incentive to pirate it unless it's actually a big time-saver.

I really dislike the "it brings new users" argument for piracy. If it made business sense to provide a free entry to their product they would. Pirates aren't somehow doing them a favor and its moral acrobatics to pretend like they are.

For students they have heavily discounted licenses and I know a few low-quality(I don't know anyone worth their salt who pirates it), professional graphic designers who use pirated copies. It is lost revenue and if they wanted to provide demos that should be up to them not the pirates.

It's a mistake to use the "if it made business sense ... they would" line of thinking when interpreting the decision-making of any organization, especially large established ones.

As Marc Andreessen has noted:

"The behavior of any big company is largely inexplicable when viewed from the outside. I always laugh when someone says, "Microsoft is going to do X", or "Google is going to do Y", or "Yahoo is going to do Z". Odds are, nobody inside Microsoft, Google, or Yahoo knows what Microsoft, Google, or Yahoo is going to do in any given circumstance on any given issue.


"The inside of any big company is a very, very complex system consisting of many thousands of people, of whom at least hundreds and probably thousands are executives who think they have some level of decision-making authority. On any given issue, many people inside the company are going to get some kind of vote on what happens -- maybe 8 people, maybe 10, 15, 20, sometimes many more.


"You can count on there being a whole host of impinging forces that will affect the dynamic of decision-making on any issue at a big company.


"You can't possibly even identify all the factors that will come to bear on a big company's decision, much less try to understand them, much less try to influence them very much at all."


You are right. I've been away from megacorps for too long. Thinking of them as rational actors is a huge mistake. :)

My point still stands that it is their product and it should be their choice even if they piss it away.

Anecdotes are not data, but here's some anecdata to support the "it brings new users" piracy argument:

I've been using Illustrator for about ten years. It's my main artistic medium; I'm currently engaged in drawing a comic book entirely in it. I'm at the point where I can pretty confidently say I've mastered it.

I've been paying for Illustrator for about five or six years. When I started using it, I was not a student, and there was no way I could afford a full-price legal copy.

If I hadn't pirated it, I would have not learnt it to the point where I could make enough money using it to buy it and keep it up to date. I would have used some other program, or gone with physical media. And I would not have been buying the thing for the past several years.

The piracy amounted to blocking a few urls in the hosts file, between versions they never changed these urls, not even between updates. I'm going to draw the conclusion that making it so easy is at least a tacit acknowledgement of Adobe being OK with having such an effective funnel.

It is up to them, but the parent is arguing that it's a bad business decision, and I agree. Even their "student" versions are wayyy too expensive for people to dabble with (especially penny-pinching students).

but I also don't know a single professional user who didn't pay for it.

I suppose it depends on your definition of 'professional' but I know a few. Maybe not in the AE realm but among web designers and graphic artists, and especially freelancers and small business owners...

I'm ok with this because it means those newcomers will be forced to learn on other tools. Maybe this will weaken Adobe's chokehold on web developers.

I welcome the day I don't have to use photoshop just because that's what the designer used.

Cloud pricing provides some interesting alternative remedies for his problem. For example, it might make it easier to offer schools discount pricing so all their students get CC. More creatively, if they could offer "student" pricing for say 5-10/mo, I think you enter the territory where it's easier to pay than to steal. If you imagine an ideal in the future where photoshop was just a website you loaded, this pricing model is how it would work probably.

>but I also don't know a single professional user who didn't pay for it.

You'd be surprised.

And there will be competitors.

Oh for God's sake! The "piracy is a gateway to purchase" argument is asinine and only believed by people trying to justify their own thieving. Any "backlash" to Adobe's move will come from the thieves, who were never going to be customers anyway.

As I said, what is good is that the lower end of the market may have been opened up.

>The "piracy is a gateway to purchase" argument is asinine and only believed by people trying to justify their own thieving

For my benefit, please explain what is wrong with his rationale.

It might be that rampant piracy of Photoshop is part of the reason it is so dominant though.

Every kid who had some desire to edit images pirated Photoshop, and thus they get used to using that particular tool.

If they actually end up working in a real business doing this for a job then they will demand the use of Photoshop because it's what they already know and few businesses pirate their software.

"I think what they did, or at least what they wanted to do, was find a fix for the rampant theft of their products."

I don't see how this accomplishes that. The programs still get downloaded to people's desktops where they'll be able to be cracked in a way that allows for unauthorized installations. The whole "cloud" terminology with their Creative Suite doesn't require any sort of always-connected status to use their apps. You literally just download and install like any other application.

If that was their goal, they are doing it about as wrong as could be possibly done. The Cloud stuff doesn't run in a browser, it's just digital distribution. You download a helper app which lists the apps you have access to, and you download and install them from there.

If anyone thinks that when whatever CS7 equivalent comes out that there won't be cracks in the usual places just like CS6, they're sorely mistaken.

“I'm not going to justify $50 per month for [hobby usage at home], [...] A $700 upgrade every three years comes to $20/month.”

“upgrading from CS4 to CS6 [...] A few hundred dollars every few years”

As you use Photoshop, Illustrator, and AfterEffects, that means you probably have the Production Premium or Master Collection bundle. Upgrades for those bundles did not come cheap.

Adobe releases a new major version of CS every year, and has done so since CS3. CS4 is 5 years old. If Adobe kept its perpetual upgrade plans, you would have to first upgrade to CS6 to be able to upgrade to this year’s version (‘CS7’) – having to buy two upgrades would’ve cost way more than $700. Instead, Adobe gives users of CS3 or newer a discount to Creative Cloud, all Adobe apps for $30 a month.

Obviously he wasn't upgrading every release.

Adobe has always allowed for 1 skipped major version. For instance, if you had Photoshop 5, you could skip version 6 and you would still be eligible for upgrade pricing for version 7.

If GP were to upgrade now from CS4 to CS6, he would also have to upgrade to CS8 next year (if Adobe still offered perpetual upgrades). That would be more expensive than Creative Cloud, he would get less apps, and fewer updates.

Adobe used to allow upgrades fron any version to the latest for the same upgrade price. That changed somewhere around the time of CS1 to only allow upgrades from 2 versions back, then down to 1. As a longtime Illustrator (v88) and Photoshop (v2.5) user, this is the end of my Adobe purchases.

You’re right, I remembered it incorrectly.

I started using Photoshop at version 2.5 and Illustrator at version 5, but I had forgotten that the upgrade policy used to be more liberal and that Adobe’s installers weren’t atrocious. It’s all coming back to me now. On the flipside: stupid ATM and screen fonts, buggy QuarkXpress, monitors with thousands of colors, and having to do preflight – ugh.

Some things really have improved. The Creative Cloud application installer is a delight. Updates are released often and the updating process is painless. No more hassle dealing with DVDs and serial numbers. Also, international pricing used to be way out of whack with US prices, the difference is a lot smaller now.

The upgrade path used to be pretty liberal, until last year you could skip two releases and still catch an upgrade. I think I've spent about $1800 total over 11 years: Macromedia MX Studio (2002) > CS3 Web Premium (2007) > CS6 (2012). That's a just over $13 a month. Not cheap when time comes to upgrade or lose eligibility, yes, but much cheaper than $50 per month in the long run. It really depends on the user's upgrade cycle.

Agreed, but it did mean that most of the time you were working with an outdated version. Also, you had less than half of the apps that are available in the Creative Cloud.

For folks like me, who bought the Master Collection once, and then upgraded every year, the Creative Cloud is way, way cheaper.

Your case, buying the most expensive product Adobe offers and then upgrading with the greatest frequency possible, is about the only thing Creative Cloud is cheaper than.

At $600/year, it's roughly competitive with upgrading to a new version of one of the Premium collections every 18 months. It's more expensive than upgrading to the latest Design Standard has been on that timeframe.

Right, the annual price you pay for Creative Cloud is comparable to buying Adobe’s upgrades in the past (a major release every 18 months). New users never have to ‘buy in’, so they save $1300 (Design Standard) to $2600 (Master Collection). Customers who bought the boxed versions don’t save as much. They get a discount of $240 to $360 in the first year.

Working with an outdated version is frequently not a problem.

I'm a professional animated filmmaker, and I've spent most of my career using versions of Adobe products that were two or three versions behind the cutting edge. Aside from the DeBlur tool, for example, I don't even know what's in CS6.

If you only use the software occasionally you can pay $75/month only in the months that you use the software. (The individual app subscription can work out as well if you only use one or two apps, but by the time you get to 3 it's cheaper to get the whole suite).

I don't know if that'll work out for these sorts of prosumer scenarios. Speaking for myself, I use Photoshop several times a week for photo editing, but total usage per week is probably only a couple hours max. Generously, if I use Photoshop 10 hours a month, I'm paying $7.50 an hour for the privilege.

If you upgraded your Creative Suite on any kind of a schedule, the price per hour isn't much different, depending on which package you purchased.

Have you tried Lightroom? I prefer it for photo editing, the process is way more streamlined.

which is just about equivalent to hiring somebody for minimum wage

And how is that relevant?

Comparing 10 hours use of Photoshop per month vs hiring somebody for minimum wage for a month?

That's not even Apple's to Oranges, it's Apples to Universes.

Software is supposed to make getting stuff done a lot cheaper than with a real person.

The question we have to beg is: "What's in it for them?"

Is the market big enough for people who aren't willing to spill $50 for the full suite? Will those of us who just drop using the apps because of price balance out to those who have now picked it up for the exact same reason?

I think that the reason they are doing this is that VDI and application virtualization is reducing the enterprise licensing count.

There are many casual Adobe CS users within companies, and it's cheap and effective to virtualize the app and provide it to employees for limited periods.

Creative Cloud basically delivers this functionality to everyone, with a licensing model that makes it more challenging to cheat.

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