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Adobe users to Adobe: take your cloud and shove it

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Some users of Adobe’s(s adbe) Creative Suite software aren’t taking the company’s planned move to the cloud laying down.

A petition posted on Monday after Adobe announced a shift to all-cloud delivery of new Creative Suite features and versions has 3,000 4,000 signatures as of Thursday. Creative Suite — a bundle of software tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver etc. — is a popular among artists, designers, publishers and others. But the current Creative Suite Version 6 will be frozen with no more updates and users wanting new features will have to shift to Creative Cloud. That requires a subscription costing  $20 to $50 per user per month. If the user stops paying, the software stops working.

According to a petition posted by Derek Schoffstall, the issue is this:

” … all of Adobe’s consumers will not be able to make such a large payment every month on the CC subscription model. In the short term, the subscription model looks to be okay, but over time the only entity that is benefiting from this is Adobe. The (no longer) current model: paying a one time fee for infinite access is a much better business model and is better for the consumer.”

Some comments on the petition echoed what GigaOM readers had said earlier. Namely that freelance artists and designers — a key Adobe constituency — don’t want to rent the tools of their craft. Some threatened to stick with their existing Creative Suite product as long as possible and then seek alternatives like Corel.

One commenter, Lee Whitman, wrote:

“Due to the nature of the ‘upgrade at gun point’ nature of the change, and the forced ‘renting’ of software at prices that could be jacked up at anytime, I will not continue with the Adobe brand. It’s suicide for a small business model.”

Three thousand people isn’t a huge number out of an estimated installed base of 12.4 million Creative Suite users, but this is certainly not the kind of PR Adobe must have hoped for. The company has not responded to request for comment.

This isn’t the first time has been used to push tech vendors for change. Other petitions ask Verizon to cancel its wireless contracts and for LinkedIn(s lnkd) to protect its users from stalkers.

48 Responses to “Adobe users to Adobe: take your cloud and shove it”

  1. Aaron

    $600 is a deal if you’re used to buying the Master Collection each and every version it comes out.

    Now re-run the numbers if you were upgrading a Suite every other version (which is what I’m doing). Per month, it was about $25, but I got access to my most popular software (never being more than 2 versions out of date) Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Acrobat….

    Now, to buy the programs I need, I can pay per app ($160/mo), or pay for the Master Collection at $50/mo (100% increase in price) and be given tons of apps I’ll never want or use.

    It’s like wanting to buy 1 car, being charged 2, and being given 3. You can only use 1 car at a time, you cannot let others use the car, and if you sell 1, you have to sell them all. (Not to mention, once you stop making the car payment, all 3 are taken away).

    CC works for those who can easily drop thousands for the software, but the CC is by far not a solution for the large majority of users.

  2. PhotoCop

    I’m a crime scene investigator. Photoshop has been the preferred environment for forensic photographers since it first came out. I believe the CC will change this, not simply for the difficulty in funding (grants often pay one-time expenditures such as purchase or upgrade, but generally cannot be relied upon for long-term expenditures), but also for security issues. How secure is the CC? Will Adobe send reps to EVERY case where image security is questioned? This is Adobe being stupid and greedy, and subsequently shooting themselves in the foot.

  3. Such a weak argument.

    So instead of paying $2600 (list price for Master Collection) to upgrade every 3 or 4 years, a company pays $840 (business version) to have access annually. You’re not paying any more, you’re just paying more often. Also, you can write it off as an expense now.

    Adobe is still a business who wants to make money. Of course they want a regular cash flow versus the big jumps in revenue every 2 years when they did a new release.

  4. Joshua Vizzacco

    I became a professional graphic designer only after years of practice on adobe products and as a teenager messed around and taught myself photoshop and illustrator. I furthered my education at RISD and am now a successful designer. I can afford the subscription based model but my younger self; the kid in his early teens learning the tools and practicing with them for over a decade could not afford this subscription plan. Adobe is strangling young creativity and will ultimately destroy its new user base in the process. Adobe should be ashamed of themselves for this business model. And I will be taking this issue up with the college to get their view point.

    – Joshua Vizzacco

  5. guest

    The real problem that I see, beyond the pricing structure, is performance and availability. How many people have fast enough and reliable enough network connections to handle the constant myriad tweaks they are making in CS?

    I’ve used much simpler online editing tools (like – boo that you sold out to Google!), and even they often lagged in rendering edits. And what about when don’t have internet access at all? You just can’t work?

    I like that they’re going in this direction, but this was a dumb, DUMB way to do it. And this is coming from someone who currently makes all his money selling cloud infrastructure solutions.

  6. Aaron

    The Cloud is great if: (1) You only want 1 program or (2) You have the Master Collection and need every piece of software Adobe has.

    But the vast majority of customers have need of a specific number of software. For me, I have Web Premium CS5 (I upgrade every 2 versions). Not only has Adobe stopped CS production, but they forced upgrades to be 1 version behind; so I would have had to upgrade to CS6 and THEN CS7.

    Adobe’s ala carte pricing is pathetic. $20 per app per month? At 2.5 apps, you might as well purchase the $50/mo plan for everything. Such a drastic rise in pricing in a non-uniform manner. I only need 7-8 apps, so that means either $150/mo (at per-app pricing), $50/mo for all apps (having access to apps I don’t even want) at a cost that is 100% more than my budgeted $900 I spent every 2 versions.

    On top of it, you’re now RENTING software. You don’t own a perpetual license. The moment you stop paying, all your CC files will be unable to open in any software.

    Adobe knows it is a monopoly in creative software, and has made its assault on its consumer base during one of the worst recessions. I will stick with my CS5 software indefinitely. Adobe is not getting another cent from me until they rescind this draconian price hike, the CEO steps down and they issue an apology that doesn’t mince words; they have to admit their greed and disrespect.

    Every customer that swears off Adobe should be allowed a parting punch on any and all members of Adobe’s command staff. The phrase “Criminal Ineptitude” comes to mind.

  7. I own a video production company. My company has been in business since 2000 and I have been in the industry since the late 1980s. I have been involved with computers since I was building them from kits in the 1970s. In other words, I’m not new to the party.

    I also don’t (ever) work with pirated software. I have owned a license every single bit of software I have EVER possessed. This is not about wanting something for nothing.

    So here’s the problem. The relationship between software company and customer exists in a balance. Each party has an amount of power in that relationship, as well as competing motivations and needs. As a publicly held company, the software company wants to minimize expenses and maximize revenue, because these things are necessary to hold its share price up (otherwise stockholders bail and the company goes bust). There’s NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS as long as the other side of the equation also works. To wit: customers want cool new features that make their work easier or more lucrative or enhance their creativity, and they want them for the lowest possible price.

    When (in the traditional model) the software company comes out with an upgrade, customers will pay for it IF the features are attractive to them and IF the price is acceptable to them. If the features are uninteresting or the price is too high, they won’t buy. This motivates the company to continue innovating and keep control over prices.

    What forced migration to the cloud does is to transfer most of the customers’ power to the company. This is at least true in my industry; maybe it’s not in yours. You be the judge. In video production, a “project” consists of an Adobe Premiere project file, often with one or more imported Adobe AfterEffects projects and Adobe Audition projects as well as layered Photoshop and/or Illustrator files whose layers can be independently animated. These file formats are all proprietary to Adobe as is the relationship between the files. A project created a year from now is likely to contain attributes unrecognizable to CS6 applications and therefore is unlikely to be backward-compatible.

    This means that the pain of subsequent migration to another platform is much greater in a CC model than a CS model (where the user always has a perpetual license to the software that was used to create any existing projects). Under CC, if one stops paying, one loses access to the applications and therefore to all the projects that depend upon them.

    This increased migration pain means customers are likely to endure more abuse under CC than they would under CS before they finally migrate. Merely failing to have attractive innovations in future upgrades will probably not provide sufficient incentive. Slowly increasing the subscription fee will also not move people who are already trapped into a CC-only relationship, at least not right away.

    So how high could those fees go? Well, I can tell you that my company was surveyed by Adobe about making this move nearly two years ago, and at the time the fee they were floating was not $50/month. It was $150/month. I believe the $50 monthly fee announced this year is a lowball fee intended to get the majority of customers to switch over quietly. I believe if this happens without incident the rate will go to $150 pretty quickly. No doubt Adobe intends to tune the amount to maximize revenue, where increased fees from people who remain exceed what is lost from customers who leave.

    So my prediction for Adobe if they succeed in this move: innovation will stagnate since they make the same money whether they innovate or not (one of the primary risks of the subscription model), rates rapidly increase over the next two years or so and then increase more slowly (but never remain the same), and no user will ever have access to their software again without paying an unending monthly fee.

    Also, if this works for Adobe, other software companies will follow suit. Expect to pay a monthly fee for Windows or Mac OS, for every plugins package you own and for all other productivity software from Office suites to Quickbooks or whatever you happen to use to manage your business. And each of those fees will be tuned upward as companies explore what the market will bear.

    Those of you who are fine with this move by Adobe may want to consider whether you are also fine with where this leads.

  8. Donna

    I’m a web designer on the downside of working to make web sites. I also teach Photoshop. I can not afford to pay this for whatever time I have left. I’ve been paying for Photoshop and other adobe products for a very long time, but at least they were mine and I could upgrade if I chose to or not. I have to save the money for the upgrades every time I wanted or needed to do so. They made a fortune on all of us and I won’t contribute to them tripling or quadrupling their profits any longer.

    What will cash strapped schools do? As usual, it’s the educators and students who will suffer.

    • The sad part is that if the educators can’t afford the tools to use for teaching, and the students can’t afford to buy them for use for their course work, isn’t it Adobe who ultimately loses? Because when the students graduate, they won’t be using Adobe products anymore – they’ll be using someone else’s. There goes your future revenue.

  9. The James! Yeah!!!

    The 3000 or now 4000 people that signed this petition is just a small portion of those who arent happy with this move.

    You be sure that there are at least 10x more unhappy customers.

  10. Kory Sutherland

    I honestly don’t understand what people are all up-in-arms about.

    As a web designer/developer of 15 years, I know as well as anyone how Adobe’s products are imperative in the creative industry, no matter how wildly expensive they may be.

    However, $600 per year is a pittance compared to the money I make using them. Especially compared to the $1,800 – $2,500 I’ve paid for the full Creative Suite in the past, only to have the new edition released a year or even just a few months later.

    One subscription lets you install and use it on 2 different computers, and unlike buying a disc, you can have one be a Mac and one be a PC, or both be the same.

    It downloads from “the cloud”, but it’s installed on your hard drive and you can use it, even disconnected, for up to 180 days without re-validation.

    You can still save your files to your hard drive, but you get a few gigabytes of online storage too. If you cancel or your subscription lapses, you still have 2gb free for life.

    You get access to EVERY Adobe app, and when the new version arrives, there’s no cost for the upgrade. Don’t like the new version? You can switch back to the previous one instantly.

    I’m no Adobe fanboy… hell, I was upset when they bought Aldus. Acrobat is bloated like a decade-old corpse, Flash (bad as it was already) has really gone to hell, and Air, Bridge, and Version Cue are utter garbage. Often times I wonder if Adobe’s programmers only write code when they can no longer afford crack.

    No less, their apps are a necessary evil, and in my eyes Creative Cloud is a step (and a more affordable one at that) forward, not back.

  11. Sean Lawrence

    Who rememberd Quark? They did the whole central licensing system years ago and drove a lot of people to InDesign. Let’s see how Adobe does.

  12. Sean O'Grady

    The situation is even worse in Europe. No delivery issues because of the online nature of the software, and somehow we are paying about 100% more than our US counterparts.

  13. I recently attended an art exhibit by a septuagenerian painter/photographer who occasionally sells paintings, but very few photographs. His exquisite photographs are truly a labor of love. Just prior to retiring a few years ago, he purchased a digital SLR, a photo quality printer and a copy of Photoshop in order to pursue his passion. He, like many artists, does not use Adobe’s products to generate significant cash-flow and necessarily regards the purchase of that software a major investment to be distributed over as long a time span as feasible.

    Ah well, at least paint brushes can still be purchased and used without an attendant monthly fee. (Please, Adobe, don’t purchase Grumbacher!)

    • Adobe has a near-monopoly in this sector and sees a ton of people pirating. The pirates are who are affected most by this change, in my opinion.

      I think this will in the end be a good thing, because I hope that this will open the door for healthier competition and better alternatives. Or at the very least a larger user-base for the competition that does exist.

      The example you’re painting is a perfect case of someone who could probably achieve much of the same things with open-source tools. It will be a bit of a learning curve, but in the end he will be better off. If enough people do this, everyone will be better off.

      • You’re a complete moron if you think this will end the piracy of adobe products… the bay will always find a way. It is likely Adobe’s blatant disregard for the people that want to use their products will only increase piracy, look at Game of Thrones or any other HBO show.

      • Untitled-1961

        This will have have as much effect on ‘piracy’ as the anti piracy warning that you, the paying customer, is forced to watch on the DVD’s and BluRays that you’ve carried home from the shop.

        What is the evidence that a significant number of those who collect pirated software, would have paid for it, if it were impossible to rip off, actually? – Piracy is used as a marketing tool by these companies, claiming lost revinue, to get paying customers to accept price hikes and totally one sided business practices like the ‘creative cloud’. – It is customers, like myself, on variable income who will be affected most by this rent only model. The ‘pirates’ will be largely unaffected.

        It takes years to become proficient in the use of some of these programmes, a large investment of time and expense on assosiated educational material. I’ve used Photoshop since 1998 and Illustrator since about 2002. I upgrade as and when I can afford it, about every 3 to 5 years. It may not be as often as Adobe would like, but it’s a damn site more revinue than they get from the pirates. If they don’t reintroduce a purchasing option for their product, they’ve seen the last of my money.

  14. ctrezza

    I’ve read a lot of the complaints regarding the change, and if you peel back the emotion, you find that it really boils down to Adobe’s customers are coming into the software at a number of price points per month. Some may be giddy with the idea of paying $75 a month because they no longer have to buy a full seat for their temporary team. Some are happy with $50 a month because it keeps them to date and they’re doing it anyway. But the continuum goes all the way down to the businesses that need some base capability but not the new version every year to the students and others who realistically can only justify $5/month because their needs are not the same as a design house. These people currently gain access to the functionality they need and control their costs by delaying their upgrades until it meets their price point or some shotgun event like an OS upgrade. The new Adobe pricing model removes the ability for the customer to negotiate their own cost per month and still gain access to new features when it makes sense for them. It’s those customers who are complaining. If you don’t need every new feature, you can ride CS6 for a looong time and get your price point per month to where you need it. Adobe has made the calculation that the segment of customers who are at a low cost per month and yet still need access to new features every month is not a segment that is profitable to them. Everybody else can make this model work.

    • Jessica Sprague

      Well said here! Totally agree. I teach online classes to hobbyists, who love Photoshop but probably can’t justify the monthly cost for “just a hobby”. For me, however, in order to teach them, I had to buy 5 suites every upgrade. CC for Teams makes sense for me, but not for the majority of my students.

    • O'reilly Hurt

      Sounds like an Adobe apologist stooge. The fact is that the first item Adobe asks for is your date of birth (read their fine print) for the new model and you don’t own your creation either, regardless of you’re paying them to infinity and beyond. I know I sound harsh but do read the license agreement or google it and you will not be so soft on them again.

  15. Matt Kuhns

    I believe Adobe persuaded themselves that there would be some measure of “resistance,” which they further convinced themselves they could and would ignore, because they had convinced themselves that what’s best for Adobe is what’s best for everyone. (I love the quote from one of their flacks about “this will make life easier for our engineers;” what happened to making life easier for customers because they’re paying you?)

    I don’t believe Adobe expected the degree they have genuinely infuriated a substantial number of their customers, though. “The company has not responded to request for comment” doesn’t sound like an organization that is 100% calm and confident.

  16. I have no intention of renting Adobe’s suite. It costs too much for my needs, and I don’t need most of the programs.

    A lot of people are voicing outrage now, but the real question is who has the guts to stick it out? Remember the Sony rootkit fiasco? How many of you vowed to never buy another Sony product but eventually did so? I vowed a boycott. I still won’t buy their digital products.

    • O'reilly Hurt

      That’s an easy one. If you’ve ever worked for several companies that sometimes used Adobe and sometimes used Corel you’d know that both are adequate. It’s only at the very high end that Adobe makes a difference and there are not enough customers at the high end for Adobe to be profitable so this is a colossal fail for Adobe but a boost to graphics software development for everyone else. Go Adobe!

  17. macertx

    For sale : Adobe Photoshop 1.07 boxed version with manuals and 2 original floppies that still work . Ad coming soon on Youtube. Free Mac SE with the deal.

    • macertx

      PS: and chances are that decision made to sell subscription-only based software was made
      using a non- updated , nonsubscription-only software from another company ( ; ) …

  18. Guest

    The following DPR interview with Adobe shows that Adobe fully expected and predicted this fallout, but felt that their calculations mean this was the pain needed to gain the expected financial benefits to Adobe of regular income. So please be reassured that Adobe are not now in panic and damage control. No. Adobe foresaw the storm, and are bracing themselves to ride it out. The big bet, therefore, is whether Adobe sinks or swims. I, for one, am not ever committing to Adobe products since I no longer trust that they will stop me from using their software to open my files if I do not pay them a lifetime of monthly fees. Think about it, when I am retired and unable to afford high monthly fees, under the Adobe CC scheme, I won’t be able to run the software to open the files I’ve created over a lifetime. Sure, the files will be on my computer. It’s just that I can’t run the software unless I keep paying till my dying day. No way. No way. People that commit to this haven’t seen the lifetime implications.

    • O'reilly Hurt

      I agree with your conclusion but not with your premise. There is no way Adobe could have foreseen that everyone would want to dump them as a result of this outrage. Try having paid off your mortgage on your house and having the builder come back and say, sorry, give me X amount of dollars a month or I’ll debuild your house.

  19. serge

    Adobe knows that Photoshop, Indesign, Dreamweaver are essentially not going to change in any big ways. They are out of innovation, most of the new features in CS5 over CS1 (my first version) are useless. Some of them make tasks a little simpler to do, but overall its a gimmic.

    So someone like me upgrades every 7 or 8 years. Meaning I pay around $1,800 for my software in that time. With subscription I will be paying $4,200 – $4,800. A price increase of around 250%. AND if I stop paying I have NOTHING. I cannot even access my own files!

    You wanna talk outrage….. Adobe can stick their cloud where the sun don’t shine.

    • This is exactly it. Adobe knows they can’t stop the newer graphic packages from catching up any longer so their new business strategy is to try and lock their customers in to the Adobe ecosystem.

    • lesile

      I agree. My corporation does not allow us to utilize cloud technology for security reasons. Now I could see adobe using cloud to complement its software, But for them to completely abandon a license model is nonsense. But the awful fact is that many users will succumb. Consumers are very forgiving. Adobe is banking this and our need for immediate satisfaction.

  20. tboettiger

    Now the argument that the cloud is a killing small business model is crap. When you use a tool and make money with it, you are able to pay for the tool. As easy as it sounds. If you cannot afford the tool because you do not earn enough, you should reconsider your business.

    • Chinchuleen

      I used CS for 10 years until hardware issues compelled me to upgrade, which I did but until then, I did well with the software I had. And, I am still able to edit all of my old files with CS6.

      Moving forward, I’ll be paying tens of thousands of dollars over the course of my career just to have acces to work created with Adobe CC. Because without a subscription to it, your files become READ-ONLY and will not be editable nor compatible with any previous Adobe products. The only people who believe this model is fair are Adobe employees and those whom Adobe’s massive PR campaign has worked on.

    • SteveQ

      While you and I may make enough using the software to easily pay the fees, that doesn’t mean it’s not a raw deal. But if enough successful but pathetically dismissive people like you cave in, it only serves to embolden them. And what happens when the rate increases, and then increases again, and then again. It reminds me of a poem, which I’ll modify for this situation:

      First they offered Creative Cloud
      And I didn’t subscribe because I already owned Creative Suite.

      Then they stopped selling perpetual licenses
      So I subscribed to Creative Cloud, because I could easily afford the price.

      Then they increased CC to $100 a month
      And I didn’t speak out, because I could still afford it.

      Then they increased CC to $500 a month
      And I said nothing, because I could still afford it.

      Then they stopped improving the software
      And I didn’t speak out, because it still enabled my business to operate

      Then they increased CC to $1000 a month
      And I did nothing, because I had no choice

      Then I went through a few slow months and had to cancel my subscription
      And I said nothing, because I was too busy trying to bring in business

      Then I got a call for an update to something I worked on last year
      And I had to turn it down, because I couldn’t afford to restart my subscription

      Then I had to close my business down
      And no one cared enough to speak for me.

    • Carol Kiser

      That is an elitist attitude! I dont make that kind of money, I use the creative suite for fine art. I rarely break even. That being said creativity is my therapy, its what keeps me out of myself. The idea that only money making enterprises should have access to the Adobe suites is a load of crap…..

    • Chris Pettit

      Why is it that every time some company goes too far (Adobe), ignorant hacks come out and lecture other developers with condescension like “reconsider your business”?

      These are SERIOUS issues. If you have an opposing viewpoint, by all means express it. But please don’t imply the rest of us don’t know what we’re talking about.

      I’m in the business my friend, and my business model has worked for 20 years

    • Cbadland

      Tools can be owned. Photoshop, Illustrator and the rest of the CS apps can now be considered a service. And when that service ends, you’ll have limited access to your creations.

    • O'reilly Hurt

      You sound like an Adobe Stooge. But you’re right, only professional photogs can afford Adobe. Let’s hope that Adobe can afford to stay in business with them as the only customers.