Adobe Embraces Cloud, Perhaps A Tad Bit Too Early?

The big news is that we won’t be able to purchase and download Photoshop anymore, except through a US $20 (for now) monthly subscription. [A full subscription to Adobe CC costs US $50/month] Dubbed Creative Cloud, the new Photoshop CC gives the impression that it resides and operates in the cloud though you really do download the program and can work offline… but Adobe checks regularly (30 days for monthly subscribers, about 99 days for annual subscribers) to see if your license is up-to-date.

Reading the “reviews” on Adobe’s site, it seems that some people do not understand that the cloud option costs the same (currently) as the purchase option. In fact, buy once and use forvever is what most non-pro PS users do since there is no need to constantly upgrade to the latest versions every 2 years. With the cloud option, you are “renting” and will never stop paying, forever upgrading for features you may never care about.

We’ve no doubt that Adobe’s bean counters and number crunchers have figured out that a subscription model will earn them more money, but there’s danger lurking. While most organizations may be able to justify a one-time purchase of Photoshop if there’s money in the budget and based on current image processing needs, it will be much more difficult to escape the ever watchful accountant’s eyes that see an expenditure line item of $240 (or more) every single year — and require justification every year. Get something cheaper or free, they might order — and you’ve just lost a subscriber and user of Photoshop.

Eventually, everything will inevitably move to the cloud, but not yet, just not quite yet. Adobe may be moving just a tad bit too early for many users. It should continue to offer two versions of Photoshop: the purchase & download version and the cloud version, with the cloud version providing more frequent features updates and enhancements. Priced at par with the purchase version (assuming a 2-year upgrade path), the cloud version may eventually convince many users that, in the long run, it is the “better value for the money” (especially for those who MUST use PS all the time).

So, what do you think Adobe, there’s still time to listen to your customers and do a discreete backpedaling after considering the various scenarios? Anticipate and fend off a potential looming crisis?

Those who are stuck on Adobe software really have no choice. Others can easily find other alternatives (and if none satisfy you today, just give it some time, they will come).

If you are a Photoshop user and are incensed about this move to a subscription model, then you can still purchase and download a stand alone version of Photoshop CS6 until Adobe removes this option for good.