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Still irked with Adobe…

May 7, 2013

It is a day later and I still have very little positive to say about Adobe’s move to a full subscription model.

A couple of positives:  Photoshop CS6 will continue to be sold with the perpetual license (i.e. you own it to use it not to tear it apart…aka the standard way most people purchase software today).  Lightroom 5 likely will be released according to the the Lightroom Blog.  With that there is some hope that they will also continue to support new Camera RAW updates.  Fingers crossed there.

However, Adobe’s spin machine has been in full force today, trying to convince various forums that this is a good deal to the consumer.  Let there be no doubt–it isn’t.

Sadly, Scott Kelby has gotten in on the bandwagon in support of this move.  For anyone who has read this blog for any length of time, I am a big fan of Mr. Kelby, his training, and his books.  And to his credit, in his blog entry today along with providing his commentary he did identify that he is on the Adobe advisory board.  I could go point by point on his blog, but let me identify 2 places where he was either completely off or a bit ingenuous.

He suggested rather strongly that this is not a new model for software and many folks are doing it now.  Of that set, only Microsoft and Autodesk are companies that are doing this with software.

Autodesk is a unique case because frankly there just aren’t that many people doing CAD applications at home.  If you’re using Autodesk’s software, you’re probably making money with it and while I don’t like it I’m willing to hold my nose on that one.

Microsoft’s foray into cloud-based software renting for Office has been, at best, poorly received.  Companies that are using their cloud-based software from the Evil Empire of Redmond are generally paying a significant discount under the advertised price (trust me on this one–I’ve seen some of the invoices).  Not many home users have chosen to go that route, especially since there are some great alternatives available.  And Microsoft will still sell you their software.

The others (Audible, iTunes Match, and Amazon Prime) are content providers.  Content is really a secondary nice to have things for Amazon Prime.  Audible has been struggling along for years.  And iTunes Match has not exactly been a roaring success.  Like so many of the subscription-based schemes for music (i.e. Napster 2.0, Rhapsody, etc.), people want to buy their music.  They don’t want to rent it.  Just as they like to buy their software, not rent it.

The second part that was disingenuous dealt with the price for Photoshop CS6.  Yes, indeed, a new copy of CS6 runs $700.  But for those of us who have been using it for years and gone through multiple upgrade cycles, that price is $199.  Or, less than the cost of a year’s worth of renting through the Creative Cloud.  What a horrible deal for the loyal, long-term users of their software.

Scott Kelby, you got this one wrong.  Adobe, you really got this one wrong.

My prediction:  New users to Adobe products may try it out for a while, but I don’t see anyone outside of corporations putting up with the bill that never ends for software that doesn’t get used enough to make it worth the price.  Cutting edge legacy users might go the cloud way if only to make sure that not having access to new features won’t put them behind.  But most legacy users are going to tell Adobe to plant a kiss on their rosy cheeks and will stay with what they know (or look for alternatives).

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