The Great Adobe Creative Cloud Furor. Or, "How I learned to love dis-attachment and get on with my creative life."

The anguish of learning that all our software is only licensed and not owned.

Many years ago I started accepting American Express cards in my business. My Mac based business. The move was driven by my biggest client at the time, the company then known as Motorola. They used corporate Amex cards to pay small suppliers. You know, invoices that were under a million dollars. The person I did most of my event work for strongly suggested that my accepting the card would make her life easier and, predictably, lead to more and more business. Mission accomplished. 

I got in touch with Amex and they set me up. They delivered a free software product to me called,  MacAuthorize. It worked only on my Mac. It was secure and used a modem connection. It ran on system 9. Or Carbon or whatever was out there before OS X. It was a very nice and succint little program and it wasn't supported in OS X. I got in touch with the software people once I upgraded over to the dark side and they very nicely told me that they had no plans to support or update it. Our relationship was over. I had to find another way to do the processing. I sighed, because really, who wants to change a successful way of doing business? 

Now there are many ways to process corporate cards from the comfort and safety of your Mac computer. I will also note that Wordstar, the program I first started writing advertising copy on with my IBM PC (equipped with two floppies and an 8086 processor) didn't make the transition to the next gen of PC system software in 1984 either. Just didn't. They stopped supporting the product.

But now there's much bigger news on the software front. After years of using PhotoShop as a perpetually licensed tool Adobe has decided to change the way they deliver the capabilities to their customers. From a certain point onward all new encounters with PhotoShop will be by subscription, delivered to you from the Adobe  Creative Cloud. You won't buy the disk, pay for upgrades and "own" the program. Once CS 6 is replaced you'll have the choice of staying with the CS 6 you "licensed" on disk or download, or upgrading to the subscription method.

If you are perfectly happy with CS 6 (or earlier variations) there is no need for you to do anything. Keep using it forever. Or until you upgrade your computer system to a future operating system that (most probably) will not be supporting older versions of software and apps. So, to drill right down: If you never plan to change operating systems, never need to upgrade raw conversion capabilities within PhotoShop and don't need any new features you are pretty much set. You can ride along for years doing just what you are doing right now, and with no consequences.

On the other hand, if you are in the business you'll probably find that you need to upgrade to the new cloud system as soon as you buy the next generation of raw file happy digital cameras. Or you may need to deliver newer .PSDs to clients. Or you may WANT the new stuff they keep inventing.... In that case you'll (under the current system) need to pay about $20 a month for a subscription. You'll still have the software resident on your desktop but the system will check in with the mother ship about once a month to make sure your recent check cleared and that you are authorized to use the latest version. $20 bucks a month for the latest, latest, latest PhotoShop. Going with my international currency scale that's about four Venti Lattes per month from Starbucks. Not a big deal. Less that an evening's parking in downtown.

Why did Adobe do this? Probably lots of reasons. One is that they are including new tech like motion correction to deal with the number one reason for unsharp photos. But a filter like that takes a lot of processing power. More than you're likely to want to pony up for, so the filter can run on dedicated servers in the cloud and then put the result back on your desktop. And one assumes it can do this seamlessly. You can also share with other CC users more easily as well as transfer files to clients quickly. The minute the latest raw profiles become available they are updated to your system. New capabilities? The same. In fact, the system will probably be a time saver for real, professional users who are Adobe's target market.

But there's a darker motive at Adobe. They're tired of being hosed by millions of people who wish all software (and alcohol and sex partners and cars and .......) was free and available and they think nothing of stealing it. And, of course, if they are stealing it then Adobe is not getting paid for it. Which is really counter-productive for a for profit business. We haven't reached the point yet when image processing software is considered a "safety net item guaranteed by the government for all people...." (maybe it is in Denmark, I don't know.) If someone can't afford to buy the premium product there are any number of less expensive alternatives to choose from. But I'd hate to see Adobe do what many book authors have done in the face of piracy, and that is to throw up their hands and stop publishing.....because it is no longer profitable. And now we don't get to read their books. And some of us were fans....

So they hosed the stealers right back. And the rest of us were kind of in the splash zone. We get to choose how we'll manage going forward. 

Many of the stuck-in-the-20th- century, knuckle dragging, portrait studio and pro-amateur neanderthals on the forums are in full rage mode right now. They would never let a bride or a mom walk away with "the photographer's raw files or negatives" because they own the copyright but they don't seem to be able to make the intellectual leap that Adobe has the same privilege: they own the copyright to PhotoShop and they are ready to implement a strategy that will work to the productive advantage of daily working professionals (at a very fair price point) while sticking it to the thieves who've spent over a decade helping themselves to someone else's property without the realization that they are as addicted to the stolen product as crack addicts or oxycontin broadcasters and they have  set themselves up for severe withdrawals once the owners crack down on the people who've been stealing their stuff.

It seems that photographers have two choices. They can look into the future and figure out how to leverage the new stuff that arrives on the ever changing landscape or they can lock themselves into the irrational "security" of the past. For those who don't need layers and clipping paths and frames, etc. there are more creative image processing programs (at a much lower cost) than ever before. Lightroom, Aperture, Picassa, Pixelmator, Corel, iPhoto and a hundred more that I don't even know about. I used Aperture every day. I open PhotoShop when I need to do something special. Perhaps Adobe will even introduce a day rate for the use of the software so that those of you who spend weeks at a time in the wild, and who mainly use cataloging programs like Lightroom can "rent" PS by the day when you need something special. It might even be tremendously cost effective.

When I hear a collective whine about a change that costs money I always compare the cost of the new service or subscription to the cost of America's most shameless addiction: Cable Television. It's an enormous time sink hole. It's a lure that pulls people away from shooting, writing, post processing, fine dining, relationships and higher brain use. And the average American household pays a MONTHLY subscription of $128  to turn their own brains into mush and effectively prevent their children from going to top tier universities with droll and useless programming aimed at selling product and addicting people to the watching cycle. Which is totally passive. And introduces unempowering information loops to their brains. So, passive acceptance of absolute crap for $128 per month versus $20 a month for a powerful productivity tool that stimulates creativity and brain activity. And they want to scream and bitch about the cost.

Here's a suggestion. Resign from cable TV prison, put most of the money you will save into your retirement or college funds and spend a small fraction of that on a cutting edge tool custom made of the expansion of your consciousness and potential. Easy choice in my mind.

The idea that you own someone else's intellectual property until the end of time is ludicrous. If you figured out how long it would take you to program your own image post processing software at this level you'd probably quickly come to the conclusion that you would have been dead for a decade or two before you were able to create an equally elegant copy.

So, if you posture as a pro then work as a pro and subscribe to the tools you need in order to be profitable. If you aren't making enough money to swing $20 a month then having a state of the art piece of software isn't going to help anyway because there is something much more seriously wrong with your business plan than a slight overall cost increase in your overhead budget.

If you are one of my typical non-pro-photographer readers then you do this as a glorious and fun hobby and, demographically speaking (according to conversations I've had with readers) you are at the top of your game in a technical or medical field and the price of the monthly subscription falls into "Rounding Error." 

Love or hate Adobe but don't cut off your nose to spite your face. Buy what you need to use and use it well. Make pretty pictures not statements of irrelevant discontent. The pricing and structure is what it is. Pay for it or move on.

Please use our Amazon links to buy your camera gear (and anything else you like at Amazon). We'll get a small commission which helps defray my time and cost while costing you zero extra.
Thank you very much.


Michael Ferron said...

Get about the piracy and theft. Don't get Adobe's too quick, lets give the consumer the finger when it comes to supporting PS versions longer than 18 months or so. Just sayin'.

Ti@go said...

While I agree in general with the sentiment of your post (leverage your business, if you need it you can pay it, if you are a professional), I cant stop making some comments. And by the way, I'm and amateur photographer, my main income is Software Development, so I know a bit of that.

While you very correctly put the word "OWN" to make an ironic comment, and show that you don't really own the software, just the license to use it in certain conditions (only one machine, or two, depending on the license, only for a certain computer for OEM licenses) you are not so correct, and make the mistake you are correcting about owning when you talk about piracy.

Software piracy is not stealing. You should also use "Stealing" to show it is not. No one Steals a software. That is a mistake. You use it without permission. You can steal a car. but you cant steal a soft (the same way you can steal a film negative but you camt steal a digital picture, you make a copy). The difference between stealing and ilegal copy may be not easy to distinguish to some people, but is the same difference as owning and licencing. For starters, you dont loose your good when someone makes an illegal copy. But when someone steals your car you loose it. You don't stop making money, but what you are loosing is a possible client. Again, you didn't loose money. You lost the possibility of making money (and lets not start on how possible that sell was, cause it is almost zero possible).

Piracy fight in software is mostly PR. There is no loose of money. In fact, most companies accept piracy in many cases. It was shown in internal memos that Microsoft preferred people downloading windows illegally for their homes than installing linux for instance. Again, for home, cause they assume those people wouldnt pay for windows. Different is for companies. And they were more afraid of people learning to use Linux at home and making it a viable option for companies than loosing a couple of licenses, that mostly were not going to happen. Remember that one of the reasons Microsoft used in the beginning of 2000 to not use Linux is that people where used to windows. If they got used to Linux, then it made Linux a more viable option and competition. And piracy is just such an ugly word, again, related to stealing (and killing) and that is not what software piracy does. We need a new name there.

But of course, they would never recognize that for legal and PR reasons. But the truth is that most companies prefer that normal users (not companies) pirate their software than use the competitions.

The reason adobe does this is mostly cause right not they have no competition. The moment a real competition arrives, cost of the software will be lower, and they will make it a lot easier to get (in legal and illegal ways).

Also, about what you said of time to make it yourself, that could be said about anythng now a days. time to make a complete modern car by yourself, including all the tecnology used now a dais in cars could take ages for just one person. The same can be said about anything now a days.

Finally, a personal note on adobe decisions. I don't think it is good or bad, as a software developer that mostly works for companies I can tell you that there is no bad or good in it. It depends on the model you decide to use. It is just business. Customers decide if it is good or bad for them with their wallets. Thats all.

Santiago Reil.

John Bour said...

Most people are lucky to not have to pay 20 dollars a night to park their car.
Most of the world does not have cable television (let alone pay 128$ for it).
Photographers, be it pro or amateur, who express their worry about future support, file legacy issues and a 100% price hike are not neanderthalers.
And, Adobe's new scheme will not prevent piracy.

Even if all the 'whiners' would be wrong wrong, I guess a company failes per definition marketingwise if their decision provokes such a strong, broadly felt negative reaction.

Claire said...

Guess I belong to the white trash segment of your readership, lol, so I'd never in a million years pay 20 bucks a month to use PS. But heck, I use a CS2 version I downloaded for free (legit) a million years ago, so I'm not really involved in this storm. OTOH I admit I gladly pay 5 bucks/month to have a Fotothing pro account so I can upload pictures with no limit... To each their priorities.

John Krumm said...

It's funny, I could never bring myself to buy Photoshop because it just cost too much up front, always felt guilty about it, but I finally got a subscription a while back. I really should cancel it because at the rate I use it I think I pay about $20 each time, kind of like my gym membership. But like the health club, it's hard to quit because you think you really should be a serious photographer and start getting some hard core layers going. And then another month goes by and I'm still just using Lightroom.

atmtx said...

I just use a different tack. I don't use any Adobe software for my post processing.

No Adobe product was used to process this photo

Peter F. said...

This will be a tough call for me. I am hoping for a per-use license fee. Otherwise I will just stick with LR (and updates to LR) and CS5. All the great new features coming in photoshop are very attractive features, but I just have to remember that they don't make CS5 work any "less well" than it ever did!

Peter F.

mobius32 said...

I'm a little surprised, Mr. Tuck, at the tone in this article. First, Adobe can do whatever it thinks best for its business, that's a given. It can charge whatever it wants for its products, that's a given. Equally, consumers are not necessarily "whiners" for criticizing a particular polic(ies)y. Just because people decide that a policy doesn't advantage them doesn't mean they're luddites or incapable of developing new ways to work or have no concept of the meaning of an end users license agreement. And let me say upfront: I don't think that the cost is the number one issue. Sure, for some it is, and that's real for them. But for many others the cost is actually less important than other concerns. For the very serious but "non-pro" photographer, this new policy is more than simply getting blowback from an attempt to get at the pirates (oh, is Adobe experiencing more theft than Microsoft?). To me, it seems to be saying that Adobe isn't interested in my segment anymore -- which, again, is its right to say, and my right to lament. Again, however, we'll all move on and get on if it's to be.

Consumers and businesses want the most flexibility. For example, in the U.S. consumers have been pushing for years for a la carte cable tv; hasn't happened and it might not, but it would be great if it did. Consumers had to push to get unlocked cell phones; yes, you pay more for the phone but if you are okay with that why should there have been a practice preventing it? What's wrong with asking why Adobe didn't include a purchase option, which might offer all parties more flexibility? Why is it whining to ask such question, even if the questions don't result in a satisfactory answer for the consumer? What's wrong with at least feeling like you "own" the software even if the EULA says you don't? Just because one "wants" doesn't mean one will "get" or should "get"; but what' wrong with examining how a particular business practice affects the consumer? Adobe has not answered a number of valid and significant questions about what the CC means for users (e.g., access to files, pricing after introductory offers, buyout options). In time, I suspect that Adobe will provide more details, simply because of all the commentary. But I find it inexcusable that Adobe didn't list the price you'd pay for the CC after the first year discount (for some). Even cable TV tells you the price after the introductory period. Even credit card companies tell you the interest rate after the introductory period. It's not unreasonable or whiny that people might look askance because of next year's uncertainty. It's not unreasonable that people don't want to rent, in perpetuity, a product; that might be the future, but it's more than fair to question such an approach. Even a professional business person wants to know, as much as possible, what his/her exact costs will be.

Sure, Adobe can tinker and add new features and tell me why I need those features -- but why would I want to be in a position of effectively saying, "Adobe, I'm going to support you regardless of whether you're delivering?" Business is like sports in this way: teams and fans look at the athletes and say "what have you done for me today?" If you don't perform today, they're not interested in paying you for what you did yesterday. If anything, it's Adobe, not the consumer, who wants to be treated like a utility.

Jim said...

I've been a cloud subscriber since last fall. There have been a few (very minor) bumps in the road and I'm not sure I'll continue subscribing to the whole cloud option. I may drop back to just the PS subscription when it is time to renew but mostly I like it. And I'm a retired guy who is not making a boatload (or even a dinky dingy) of money off photography. Why will I continue? Because there isn't another program out there that does what PS does and does it as well.

I see Ti@go doesn't get it re: ownership of intellectual property. I do. I've had images 'stolen'. Yes, I said stolen. When you put work out there with a copyright notice and someone makes a copy, then uses it without permission, that's theft. Read the copyright law. You can argue all around it but the reality is that it isn't yours to use unless you have the permission of the person or company that created it. It isn't about loss of money. It doesn't matter that it isn't a physical thing. It's not yours to use.

I don't see Adobe having any ulterior motives here. Back in the '90s I was doing network administration and there was a lot of talk about computing in the cloud, a vision of where computing was going. If anything the move to the cloud has taken longer than I expected given the usual warp speed of technological advance.

If you are wedded to licensed software you could go with Corel's Paint Shop Pro. PS plugins work with it but PSP lost me when they changed the interface (I had been a user since Paint Shop 3). Most of the other photo editors I've tried are way less sophisticated or are clunky to use, the latter being largely a matter of what you are used to. Of course there's always Photoshop Elements which I presume will continue to be available and I understand that Lightroom will continue have the option to be a licensed product. It's an open question how much having Elements will add as a supplement to Lightroom which is already as much as most photographers need anyway. I know people who use nothing else.

The photo editing world is not coming to an end with this decision by Adobe. The photopocolypse is not at hand.

Orchard Light said...

Has anyone thought about the fact that with CC it's an easy monthly expense to track for tax purposes instead of having to figure in depreciation? Also a line item on your CODB and budgets. Rent studio space and you can set up an editing station to rent out also and cut out a third of the up front cost that would come just from Adobe software. Lemons to lemonade folks.

Dave said...

As an IT person I can see all kinds of issues with cloud services, like when there's no cloud or hackers break their stuff. But the reality is that if you were able to look, there's all kinds of stuff already in your house reaching out to the Internet. Your word processor, all the software looking for automatic updates, your Bluray player, possibly your TV and who knows what else.

We don't give a second thought to letting Google spread our bits all over the planet -- sometimes even our naughty bits.

As a photography wannabe I have reservations about this move by Adobe. After years of scrimping, saving and countless hours of learning the Photoshop dance they're changing the music. Its a little upsetting, change usually is.

On the other hand, I ponder liking the ability to rent software when I need it but I seriously doubt Adobe will let that fly. Do they want thousands of people paying to use something for a month each year like a time share condo? No they will want a constant stream of technology addicts paying at the rate and in the amount they deem.

In the end its about control I guess. Cloud services are like car leases and some people want to own instead of rent. Leases and rent are designed around what they termed "drink your milkshake" in the movie "There Will be Blood". In this case the milkshake is our bank account :)

The piracy aspect will not go away. The Internet will laugh at their attempts to keep them out. Trust me it will be cracked just for the fun of it. The corporate dregs who design the protection schemes for their masters in general are shown up by the Internet smart alecs.

So it really boils down to the business model and whether these services and fees will work for the various strata of photographers and videographers. For my part I would rather know the price, pay it up front and be done. Perhaps that makes me a dinosaur, or it could make me smart. It doesn't matter, Adobe will do as they see fit and maybe in the end we will wind up with more competitors trying to fill the void? Or maybe we'll all just wind up with Adobe drinking our milkshakes.

Carlo Santin said...

As a consumer I have the right to express my displeasure at a product, or a change in a corporate philosophy that impacts me the buying consumer. I don't need you to tell me that my discontent is irrelevant, or to just pay for it or move on. Really Kirk, the entire tone and direction of your article is completely misguided. Microsoft is moving towards this subscription based service with its Microsoft 360, and now Adobe. It's a bullshit move that makes the consumer a fish on a hook. Yet another monthly payment? Ya right. Fortunately there are other alternatives and I've been experimenting with several of them. I'll make a decision soon and continue to use CS5 at least until this machine dies. Then I'll take my knuckle-dragging, 20th century mentality elsewhere.

Frank Grygier said...

GIMP Along:

Frank Grygier said...

A very reasoned response and well thought out business approach to the new Creative Cloud.

Gregg Mack said...

At first I was pretty upset about this announcement from Adobe. Now, I’m pretty indifferent to it. I switched from the Bridge – Camera Raw – Photoshop workflow to the Lightroom workflow years ago. I do have Photoshop CS6, but rarely take my photos into it. I do like and use the Content Aware Fill feature to add in stuff around the edges after I merge a panoramic photo. I’m fine with keeping Photoshop CS6 for several more years, while I continue upgrading Lightroom. When my CS6 will no longer run after a computer upgrade, I'll just get on the CC subscription bus.
For those who do not use Lightroom, and want to continue using Camera Raw, even after they acquire a new camera, Adobe says that they will continue updating the free Adobe DNG Converter that will allow you to process your new camera’s RAW files in older versions of Photoshop. Yea, I know that some people don’t like DNG, but this solution exists, and doesn’t cost anything.

Frank Grygier said...

Run the numbers:
"Another case is someone who uses just a single title -- Photoshop, most obviously.
That costs $818 for a new version and an upgrade, compared to $720 for a single-product subscription over three years."

Ranjit Grover said...

I am not troubled a bit by the move by Adobe. Living in the under developed world we have the choice of using "free and open" software, that is Linux. Linux is very popular and I use Linux and the free software to do the raw conversion and processing of files. It is probably not as smooth as Adobe's software but I am happy. All that I have to do is to download the latest OS and the applications as soon as they appear in the horizon and install them. It is all totally free.
In fact it has it in the grape wine that many proprietary softwares use the code from the open software movement for their products.
There are plenty of free photo editing softwares that run on MS Windows and I am sure for Mac OS too. But I suggest using Linux. One is always up to date with the OS and the apps. The softwares are truly world class. One need not buy what comes free. It makes sense to me. Ranjit Grover, India

Anonymous said...

In a sense for me this is impetus to try to get it right in camera, which was why I picked up a camera in the first place.

Klarno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Klarno said...

I find it rather difficult to pony up the $600 for a piece of software as a lump sum. Heck, I found it difficult to warrant upgrading from CS4 as a student (the student licence for Photoshop CS6 runs $320), but $20 a month makes this piece of software quite affordable. Sometimes I do consider going to the full $50 a month for the complete creative cloud subscription; my partner would be using Illustrator out of the whole suite, and I'd be using Muse. Whereas if one were to buy all of CS6 in one go, it would be basically $2600.

I'm actually using Lightroom for the majority of my workflow, but Photoshop just does things I can't do in Lightroom. Like Smart Sharpen. Here's hoping Lightroom stays perpetually licensed.

Kirk Tuck said...

Yes. It will prevent piracy. It will be much harder to appropriate and use the software.

As to the number of people in the world who can't afford stuff. Yes, true. But our demographic, for the most part, live in North America and have higher than average incomes.

The company may be getting strong reactions from some corners but they may be doing what is best in the long term company interest. Whether we personally like it or not.

Companies often change policies when confronted with "squeaky wheels" but market research generally shows that the squeakers represent a tiny part of the overall markets in most cases.

And yes, the AVERAGE American household currently pays $128 a month for cable.

Kirk Tuck said...

And if I didn't want to pay for the right to use PS I'd just switch over and use Aperture. Everyone has their own set of priorities.

Kirk Tuck said...

You can easily be a good and serious photographer with any one of a dozen inexpensive programs. I could do most of my work with Snapseed. Oh wait, Google just discontinued it. Completely. At least Adobe is giving me a choice.

Kirk Tuck said...

You are free to use any old version you have licensed and have sitting around. You are free to use software from another company. You don't have to make the choice. My article was aimed at professional photographers who are working to make money in this ever changing landscape. They will have to change or adapt. It may mean passing on the cost to their customers. Twenty jobs in a month divided by $20 = an increase of one dollar per client. Hmmm. Not too tough.

Kirk Tuck said...

You are wrong. Theft is theft. Be it theft of services, theft of IP or theft of your car. The law doesn't say that you have to be damaged in a certain way. The law says that these appropriations are wrong and punishable. The rest is semantics. Theft is theft until they change the law. Don't like that? Live somewhere where there's no rule of law and see if you like that system better. Somalia?

Kirk Tuck said...

+1 for Aperture. Wish they update raw profiles quicker.

Kirk Tuck said...

Exactly, exactly right. We can do all the conversions we want in LR and DNG converter and pull them into existing, previously licensed versions. Nothing NEEDS to change that workflow.

Kirk Tuck said...

Also, Mobius32, the tone is the tone. I'm tired of the "everything should be free" mentality coursing through mass culture.

Kirk Tuck said...

Thank you! That's a well reasoned approach for business users.

Kirk Tuck said...

My article is plainly aimed at business users and is both in the right direction and part of the dialog that's rumbling across the web. Everyone will have to decide what's important for their business.

Anonymous said...

Having worked for and with Adobe Execs – and I paid them a lot of money over the years - from Pagemaker on; I'll find other methods/software to process and adjust my raw files.

I don’t trust Adobe with any of my personal info or my files. The cloud, in its current configuration (all providers) is not as safe or reliable as any computer I own.




Claire said...

Heaven forbid I use anything else, it took me long enough to find my way around PS, lol. But for instance I don't have RAW support for any of my cams since my version is so old. No big deal as I'm a jpeg lover anyway ;)

Art in LA said...

Wow, desktop Snapseed is gone?! the iOS and Android versions are still available though.

Anonymous said...

"The idea that you own someone else's intellectual property until the end of time is ludicrous."

Seriously? How about books? CDs? DVDs? Downloaded music? The idea is not only NOT ludicrous, it's standard and accepted throughout society and commerce. Even the industrial design, programming, and physical appearance of cameras (and cars, and TVs and refrigerators...) are intellectual property, but I'm guessing that you would consider yourself to be the owner of all these cases. And in all those cases, you have the right to do pretty much whatever you want to any of those pieces of intellectual property as long as you don't copy it and redistribute the copies without permission.

And to the user Photoshop is first and foremost, a tool - no different in that sense than a hammer, a table-saw, or an enlarger . (Or a camera, but Sony isn't charging you $20 per month to use their intellectual property, is it?) The fact that it only exists on a computer hard drive doesn't change that fact any more than it changes whether a digital image can be stolen. And the standard, non-ludicrous model for obtaining tools is to buy them and own them until they either break or you decide to buy a better tool. Corporations and larger scale operations may find it to their benefit to lease their tools, but for smaller contractors who may not have the same predictable income, or may not need the latest features (you know in the way that real photographers don't need to always have the latest camera), the, "buy it when I can, make it work as long as it can do the job I need it to do," is the much more logical approach. They simply should have kept both options.

That Adobe has the right to change the future conditions of how it's software is distributed and used is without debate, but to think it's anything other than a money grab is, to use your term, ludicrous. Adobe themselves have said that piracy was not a major factor in the move - and if it a HAD been, they would have been shouting that reason from the rooftops. I suspect Adobe knows it won't make a significant impact on piracy for the simple reason that ANYTHING can be hacked, and tricking software into thinking that it got its monthly go-ahead from the mother ship is not going to be difficult for the propeller-heads.

This is about getting an uninterrupted revenue stream -without the monetary ups and downs of update cycles- by forcing the user to ALWAYS be updating, rather than wait until features that are actually USEFUL to that particular user are added. It's also about no longer having to come up with sufficiently significant improvements to justify regular update releases that perpetual licensees think are worth a couple of hundred dollars, while forcing subscribers to stay once they've been hooked. I'm not saying that subscription doesn't make financial sense for some users as long as they're willing to paint themselves into the corner of 'pay us every month or lose the ability to work on your files' (note that the key is in switching on whose side of the fence "perpetual" lies), but it makes no sense for many others (and I'd guess there are a lot more hobbyist, 'serious amateur,' semi-pro and shoestring-pro Photoshop users than full-time and corporate out there). Adobe isn't eliminating the perpetual license option for any reason other than it thinks it can get away with it (like its rather imaginative pricing surcharge in Australia), and maybe it can, but I wouldn't be unhappy to see their stock take a serious nose dive.

(Adobe isn't suffering backlash from an "everything should be free" demographic - it's from a "you're already making billions of dollars, let ME decide when and if I think your latest shiny objects are worth my money" demographic.)

A stuck-in-the-20th-century, knuckle dragging, portrait studio and pro-amateur neanderthal - who doesn't want to drink the kool-aid, thanks anyway.

Anonymous said...

I don't expect everything to be free. I have paid for Photoshop since before CSxx and dutifully paid for each upgrade. While price is not the big issue for me, their price (after introduction period) is 1 1/2 times what I have been paying. Only monopoly companies can demand this kind of price increase for anything unless it has really big new benefits. It is the principle as much as can I afford 20. When you multiply it by thousands of users then the money also matters.

The bigger issue for me is the legal agreement which gives all power to Adobe and none to the consumer with no exit strategy if you wish to stop. And with monopoly power, you won't like where the pricing goes. The attache article goes through the legal documents and not sure you want to base your business on this relationship


Anton Wilhelm Stolzing said...

For the first time, I totally disagree with you. Piracy? I have paid for every version since Photoshop 6. Piracy has nothing to do with this move. It is pure greed. Give in, and Adobe has a grip on your balls that they can tighten any time they want.
Opt for the second or third best - it is better for you in the long run!

Anonymous said...

This also sticks it to their most loyal customers who have already invested the startup cost and many upgrades. The pricing that keeps being discussed is as if you never made that upfront investment. Adobe is essentially saying, thanks sucker for investing but I'm flushing it and you might as well start over.

Brad Calkins said...

I find it interesting to hear Adobe's VP of Creative Solutions take on this: "While service options that connect to our servers are inherently less prone to piracy, once a user downloads software to their computer the piracy threat is the same as for our perpetual products." I'm a bit ruffled about the hike in price compared to what I'm paying ($10/mo would be about what I pay for CS updates now). But the bottom line is the bottom line - is it worth $20/mo to me? If not, I'll move on...

Carlo Santin said...

Time for some humor perhaps? Be warned, if you have an issue with Hitler humor, then don't watch this. For everyone else, it's pretty funny.


Kirk Tuck said...

Simple ownership experiment for you: Grab a DVD of a Disney movie and a video projector, open a theater and start showing the Disney movie to paying customers. Tell me how quickly Disney has a bus load of lawyers working to separate you from any assets you might have.

Simple ownership experiment: Buy a book. Scan it and then offer it for sale on line. You bought it so you own it, right?

How about this... Open a bar and instead of live music or a music service why don't you go ahead and just play your collection of purchased CDs for your clientele. You own them, right?

You bought MS Office so you can do anything you want with it, right? Go ahead and start selling copies to your friends. And since you are so sure you own it give Microsoft a call and let them know what you're doing. I'm sure they'll help your business.

While you're at it let's talk about another great idea. Commercials make lots of money for television broadcasters but making goo programming is expensive. You could start your own station, sell advertising time and just pick up programming that you like from one of the hundreds of cable stations you "buy" with your cable subscription. After all, you pay for cable so you must own all the stuff that's delivered to your connection, right?

If you "own it" why even bother to try and get permission from anyone to redistribute? In your mind you already own it.

Whatever Adobe sold you in the past still works under the conditions that were in place when you bought it and first used it. So they've completed their pact with you in every legal sense. They have no obligation to sell stuff to you under the same license in perpetuity.

Nor would GM be obligated to offer you a different engine for your car than the one you bought with it just because they subsequently came out with a more efficient one years later.

Anton Wilhelm Stolzing said...

A propos youtube videos: this one is much better:


Anonymous said...

I find Kirk Tuck's essay to be a rational, thoughtful consideration of the many issues involved in Adobe's recent announcement, which certainly sets it apart from the outrage and hysteria that has set the tone in many other quarters. However, I agree that the sentence you quote at the beginning of your reply is not one of his more considered assertions. But I have to say that your response is opaque to me on several points. To take one of your (counter)examples -- ownership of a book. It seems too broad and general to be applicable here. Let's make some distinctions. I purchase a novel by Henry James. It sits on my shelf; its content doesn't change over time. I purchase a comprehensive book on neuroscience. Within a short period of time its content will be superseded by discoveries in the field, and a new edition will be published. If I'm dependent on the content of the book for my work (i.e., it's my "tool") and if it's very expensive to purchase, I'd much rather subscribe to a constantly updated version for a monthly fee. So, Adobe is re-categorizing its products: they're like scientific textbooks in a fast changing field. As you say, Adobe has the right to re-categorize its products however it wishes, and it has also decided that maintaining both options -- to own or to subscribe -- is more costly than just offering the latter. (Did you do an economic analysis which demonstrates that they SHOULD have kept both options?) You seem to be under the impression that your emphatic statement that Adobe is doing this as a "money grab" is somehow to its detriment. This is a very strange point of view for anyone to take on what is after all a for-profit corporation whose ultimate financial goal is to maximize profits. It would be a dereliction of duty for them not to do this. (It's called Capitalism.) If Adobe's new business model doesn't make sense for you then of course you are free to use another photo-editing software, of which there are many. Some are free. Adobe is not "forcing" you to do anything.

(By the way, I assume that those who are complaining about Adobe's shift to the CC model are not using a computer or other electronic device made under deplorable conditions in China, or wearing clothes made in deadly factories in Bangladesh, by people barely subsisting on slave wages, because otherwise they would be directing their outrage to these life and death concerns rather than to what may appear to be self-centered, insular, and preposterously heated diatribes regarding the terrible hardships that will be imposed upon them when editing their photographs at some point in the indefinite future.)

Anonymous said...

Kevin Lynch talked openly about the marketing potential of "captured users - my words" at Adobe Air 09. The model is to host and control content over time. Over a time when PCs will no longer have HDD storage, but fast small RAM drives and all big files will be Cloud hosted. This is the first shot in a long term effort. And now Lynch is at Apple. Watch for his influence.


Kirk Tuck said...

A cross I will have to bear. I don't think you have an idea of just how widespread piracy in software and publications is. Yes, this will not deter the hard core hackers but it will certainly deter the unscrupulous "professional" user who finds it inconvenient to trade money for world class software..... They are different markets.

I like Aperture very much. I only use PS for layers and clipping paths. I don't currently need a better version but will update to the CC as soon as I see something new in PS that will make my work more efficient or add some new thing. It's good to keep in mind that our priorities as professional imaging business owners are not about figuring out ultimate fairness as much as they are getting the job done better and with more profit.

MartinP said...

It is quite amusing to see the fuss around the intertubes. I'll just carry on printing on my De Vere and dodging or burning with bits of cardboard.

More helpfully, these licensing changes will increase the incentive for other suppliers of photo-processing software to replace the functionality of Photoshop - maybe that point is already reached, but no-one noticed as they are all using the Adobe products 'because everybody does'?

One tip for running older software on new hardware, use virtualisation to run an image of your old system concurrently within whatever new system it is that you using.

MarcosV said...

Those who pirate Photoshop will probably never go subscription anyway. I doubt Adobe plans on increasing its revenuew by making money on pirates, but, make more money from those who currently use their products and are able/willing to pay more.

If you make money using Photoshop as one of your tools of your trade, $20/month or $50/month should be fine.

As a amateur photographer, Adobe essentially doubled how much I was paying for access to the later version of Photoshop (I was upgrading every 2 years or when the upgrade box edition goes on sale).

I don't pay for premium cable, but, I have to pay a lot for broadband service faster than dial-up in my area plus there is the cost of smart phone service, plus other monthly expenses. So having to pay $20/month every month for Photoshop isn't worth it given how infrequently I use it. So yeah, I am angry at Adobe for jacking up how much I have to pay to use the tools that I use for fun outside of work.

The bottom line: Given how Adobe is acting and the perceived motivation behind these actions, I don't like the Adobe company and will look to avoid its products professionally and personally whenever possible.

I am hoping in two years that I am able to find solutions that don't require Adobe products. Maybe Google will make Nik Software plug-ins usable in other editors. It'll take time, but, now I have the motivation.

Bill Beebe said...

I don't believe in theft. I never have and I never will. I've been a legal PS owner since version 4 back in the mid 1990s, but I've never had a need to purchase every version that came out. I've skipped quite a few, only picking up a new version when substantial new capabilities were introduced. Right now I own CS5, and the only reason I purchased it was because if I hadn't I would have lost my upgrade pricing to CS6. I was at CS2 and Adobe made it quite plain at the time that all of us CS2 users had to upgrade to CS5 or loose out when CS6 was introduced. Now it looks like I'll need to pick up the last perpetual licensed version, CS6, because Adobe is going to the "cloud" and taking their software with them.

My biggest complaint about Adobe is the strong-armed tactics they've been using the last few years. This move to the "cloud" is the last straw for me as a user. I'll upgrade to CS6 as a hedge against the possible need of its features for the future. But after this last upgrade I will be looking to move on from Adobe, both Photoshop and Lightroom. I'm going to look at what atmtx is doing (No Adobe product was used to process this photo) in particular. From this point forward I'll never be an Adobe customer again, even if they should relent and re-release perpetual licensed local machine versions of their tools. Enough is enough.

Joe Gilbert said...

So, passive acceptance of absolute crap for $128 per month versus $20 a month for a powerful productivity tool that stimulates creativity and brain activity.


Anonymous said...

(The first Anon in this thread, not the second one...)

Kirk, your ownership 'experiments' ignore the fact that I already acknowledged that ownership of books, CDs etc. does not include the right to copy or redistribute (unless you didn't read all of my first paragraph), and that I didn't challenge Adobe's right to change its conditions, and made NO claim that they were obligated to allow me to update my existing copy. (Any more than I would expect cut rate upgrades to BluRay if I bought a standard DVD.) I was merely pointing out that your claim that "The idea that you own someone else's intellectual property until the end of time is ludicrous" ('owning' in this context meaning the ability to use the intellectual property paid for) flies in the face of standard practice for intellectual properties of all kinds - and indeed, Adobe's own practice until last week.

Anonymous 2, to address your scientific journal analogy... First to keep the analogy accurate to Photoshop upgrades, we'd have to stipulate that textbook updates would ADD to the knowledge of neuroscience, but not change any existing facts, since PhotoshopCS doesn't lose capabilities if I don't upgrade, it merely doesn't add new ones. So adapting that to the neuroscience publisher, if I stop subscribing, either due to cost or because I've just decided that their updates aren't really giving me any worthwhile scientific advances, I not only give up the details of future discoveries, I also lose access to all the editions I've paid for to date. Of course, I can keep any notes I've made in my handy-dandy notebook, but if I ever want to actually reference the books again for all that still accurate information, I'm out of luck. Maybe you'd prefer a plan like that, but personally, I'd like to know that I could at least look back at the information I'd already paid for.

The money grab comment was simply calling a spade a spade, making the argument that this decision wasn't brought about as a solution to software piracy, which was a major theme in Kirk's original essay. Is it too expensive to maintain both options?.. well I WAS going to do the full economic analysis you suggest, but they didn't give me access to their books, and I had to take the dog for a walk - though I do find it difficult to imagine that simply placing the same up-to-date (or even a slightly out-of-date if they want to encourage subscribers) version of the software that would be available to any new subscriber on a server for perpetual license downloads would be some huge expense. Again, I doubt that it's a case of two options being too costly to maintain, but rather one of 'we can make even more money if we force them all to subscribe.' Nowhere do I say I'm surprised by it, nowhere do I argue the 'morality' of the decision (there is no morality in Capatilism, any more than there is in math or physics), nowhere do I claim that Adobe has any obligation to CS users. I'm simply arguing that the motivations are much more ...basic... than some debaters have claimed.

(And I trust that as soon as you sent your message, you sold your computer so you could donate to agencies helping those people. Otherwise dropping in such a subject to try to win debating points would be a spectacularly self-righteous and exploitative act.)

ginsbu said...

I'm heartily agree with your suggestion of a day-rate rental option for Photoshop. As a hobbyist I very rarely need Photoshop, but would happily pay a for a day's access when I do.

Kirk Tuck said...

More power to you, my friend. That's a cool way to go.

Kirk Tuck said...

I love Snapseed. I'll keep it up and running as long as I can. I understand that it's vastly different for people who don't use the software to make a living. In that case the cost increase does suck.

Kirk Tuck said...

Nicely argued. Make sure to convert to a universal file at the end of each of your Photoshop sessions so your work is readable in a wide range of systems. I readily agree that the main reason for the change is financial.

Jason said...

Count me as one of the Lightroom to PS Elements crowd. However, since I bought Nik Viveza a few years ago, the local control offered by the software relegates PSE to use for compositing only, which I rarely do anymore. In the rare event I need the pen tool, I open up GIMP (which is free) and could stand on its own. I'm sure the Michael Reichmanns of the world would lament the limited 16-bit capabilities, but they work for me and the part-time business clients just fine.

Did Adobe give amateurs the middle finger? Maybe, but I wouldn't know...I left that room long ago. In fact I see three photos on my wall that were processed in...Picasa.

Sometimes I think PhotoShop is like a big L lens in most amateurs' hands. They don't really need it, they just want others to think the photographer needs it. Sometimes the more economical option works fine. I'd rather have the extra money for lights, and travel expenses. If I were a full time pro, that monthly rental fee would be paid with the first job I shot that month.

Klarno said...

I think it's also worth noting that those of us who both shoot in RAW and crave the latest and, well, latest cameras were already effectively forced by Adobe to buy the newest software on a regular basis. Because Camera RAW updates haven't ever been retroactive with anything but the current version of Photoshop. For those users, the cost to upgrade Photoshop was about $300-320 every 18 months or so, plus the $600-640 to buy the license in the first place. Photoshop alone in the creative cloud costs $360 plus sales tax over the same 18 month period, or $480 plus sales tax for the 2 year agreement.

I think a really neat solution would be if Adobe actually would let you keep a final perpetually licensed copy of a particular version at the end of your 1 year agreement, sans the creative cloud features.

Daniel S. said...

I was expecting a post from you along these lines, but you really went the extra mile. Guess that's why I'm still a loyal reader, you're always surprising one way or another ;)

As for the post itself, I agree with nearly everything you said, but I must disagree in one point: that people in the US pay $128/month for cable TV. The very idea is so horrible, so offensive, that I feel obligated to reject your reality and replace it with one where you misplaced a decimal sign somewhere.

Nigel said...

Anonymous (1) makes some strong points which are rather more convincing than your rebuttal.

That the move is motivated purely by Adobe's self interest in undeniable - otherwise they would be offering both options. Of course Adobe have the right to make the change, but that it is not in the interest of a very large number of current users seems equally undeniable, however much consumer complaints are dismissed as 'whining'. It's not as though Adobe are offering a choice.

Using any software program as complex as Photoshop requires a considerable investment of time and effort over and above the purchase price. It is not entirely surprising that many of those so invested are complaining about an enforced change which doesn't suit them.

As for us "non-pro-photographer readers then who do this as a glorious and fun hobby", I'm pretty sure that there are a significant number of us for whom the price is not a "rounding error".

If the new system works for you (and no doubt a great number of others), then I'm interested to read your arguments in favour of it. I'm less than delighted to be dismissed as a whiner when I don't agree with you.

Nigel said...

"Those who pirate Photoshop will probably never go subscription anyway."

I know a few professionals who cut their teeth on pirated software and now quite happily pay for the fully loaded system. I've no data on how common that is, but I would guess it's not unusual.

Lanthus Clark said...

I'm afraid I'll have to agree with John on one part of his comment, and that is that this will not prevent piracy of Adobe's software. I'll take a bet that within the space of about 30 days or less the hackers will have found a way to circumvent this "new" security. The software is not dependant on an internet connection to run, it resides on your computer and you only have to log in once a month on a monthly subscription, and once a year on a yearly subscription to keep it legal.

Lanthus Clark said...

My major gripe with the "Creative Cloud" system is that the cost over a period of two years is almost double what it cost before when I bought a cd and installed it, mostly just updating every two years or so when a new version was attractive enough to lay out the big bucks Photoshop costs.

I can't see Adobe sticking with this system too long as they are bound to lose customers. My hope is that they simply give us both options and let us do monthly subscriptions if we want to, and just get the cd (with paid upgrades) if we want to do that.

John said...

Hi Kirk,

re: your mention of filters (or similar) running in the cloud because home computers are not as powerful... I'm not sure, but I don't think Adobe will be providing any back-end processing on imaging tasks. The cloud, as I understand it, is purely a licensing and auto-updating service that allows everyone to stay current with the latest version. It may add some wrinkles to software piracy, the end user will still be running Photoshop on their end and bear 100% of the image-processing burden.

theaterculture said...

I'm strictly non-professional in the terms of this essay, and tend to be a "buy an old version at a discount when a newer version comes out" kind of shopper for both hardware and software. Consumers like me have never been more spoiled for camera choice (last year's models are pretty darn great, often at amazing prices), but it's getting harder and harder not to feel like the switch to subscription service in the commercial software world is out to get me. I don't mind paying, but I'm happy to live a little bit behind the curve to save money - indeed on a perpetual grad-student budget I probably couldn't enjoy this art as fully any other way.

So I just converted an old Windows laptop to run Mint Linux, which is amazingly peppy and full-featured enough that I'm seriously considering using it as my base system next time I need a hardware upgrade. Darktable, an open-source Lightroom/Aperture alternative that runs on both Linux and Mac OS X, seems like it's about 6-12 months from being a full LR replacement for my purposes (the only things missing are batch importing of LR edits, which currently have to be done one file at a time, and a native module for printing). Although I realize there can be some drama around open-source projects, most of the folks I've interacted with so far are more "participate however you can and lets make it great together" types than "gimme free stuff" types; while I can't really program, I figure that if I spend a couple of hours a month writing bug tickets whenever they come up, share any presets/lens profiles I create for myself, and do a little bit of non-intrusive evangelism I'm earning my stripes.

Ti@go said...

Im not saying it is not wrong. Im saying it is a different thing. And if you are going to explain how, licencing is not the same as owning, then you must also understand that illegal copying is not the same as stealing (although both are wrong). The same way you can say kidnapping is not the same as killing. Both are crimes, but different ones.

Also what I said is that there is a lot of PR to make illegal copying bigger than it is. As I said, calling it piracy to get an idea of looting and pillage, is a PR strategy. At least with the small people. And most companies have stopped caring about the small people. In fact, most companies in secret prefer that you pirate their software than use the competition.

So again, this move by Adobe has nothing to do with Piracy. IT has all to do with getting a constant cash flow, to have pre-visibility in the cash income. Nothing to do with piracy, sorry, illegal copy/use. There will still be illegal copies even with this new method. Someone will figure out how to copy from your pc once installed, and you will have versions to download from your favorite torrent site. They wont be as good as they are right now, but they will be there.

Anonymous said...

And yet, your image at the top indicates it might have been edited through "Snapdeed." Great program! It's free and does everything I need it to! Adobe products are way too expensive and their customer service is laughable.

Kirk Tuck said...

The rat bastards.

Kirk Tuck said...

I don't find them too expensive and I did point out in the article that I like and use Snapseed for more images that I use PS. The bottom line is that Adobe isn't pointing a gun at anyone's head to make them buy. You always have the option of making your own....

Jim Tardio said...

I'd wager that Adobe has many more private users than business users. I think it's a bad business move on Adobe's part. It just leaves a bad taste in private users mouths. We'll have to see how it plays out down the road. If enough of us don't sign up will Adobe revert back to selling it outright? Time will tell.

Bob Travaglione said...

This is the Blunt Truth... but the news that made my blood boil was the decision by Google to stop selling Snapseed for our desktops. Why can't Google just charge us and keep developing and selling it to us? This little program for $20 is a miracle tool!
I sure wish Adobe had bought it rather than Google.

The Reluctant Rebel said...

I don't use Photoshop or any other image editing software (still film) so am not really affected by Adobe's announcement. I also acknowledge that the IPR debate is nuanced one with differing views. I also pay for all my software downloads.

However, your attitude of "theft is theft" is precisely the kind of simplistic response which often results in this debate descend into outrage and name calling. The point made by the above poster (perhaps not very clearly) is not that certain jurisdictions do not legally treat IPR "theft" on par with theft of real property. However, the the question is whether it should be treated on par and, consequently, be referred to using the same inflammatory language we use in relation to theft of real property. The law itself uses different terminology, "infringement" (which evokes a different emotional response) as opposed to "theft".

You cannot deny that IP is different to real property - consequently a number of countries (other from Somalia) have very limited protections for IP compared to real property. Even countries like the US treat IP rights differently from real property - for example, both copyright and patents are grated only for a limited time whereas real property rights are largely for indefinite periods. The reason for this different treatment is precisely because of what the above poster says - infringement of IP rights results in a very different kind of harm compared to theft of real property. So whether you agree with the poster's questioning of the language used when debating IP rights, in my view it deserves a more considered response rather than a derogatory dismissal. Simply saying, "theft is theft" is not only disrespectful but also completely misses the point.

And asking somebody who questions the degree of protection granted to IPRs to go live in Somalia is pretty much on par with asking somebody who supports a welfare state to go live in North Korea. Not really constructive is it?

Brown said...

I agree with you, Kirk, that the price hike isn't worth the attention it's receiving. It sucks, but people don't have a God-given right to receive a product they want at a price they specify.

However, I do think that the backward-compatability issue is worth bitching over. If I subscribe to CC so that I have access to the latest ACR updates (I need them to process my 5DmkVII RAW files, after all), and then become unable to pay for the cloud service, what happens? I'm locked out from accessing files that I produced, using a camera and software that I paid for. That's not cool at all. Even if I have a perpetual license to run CS6, I still can't access those RAW files since Adobe will undoubtedly stop providing updates.

That, in my opinion, is the biggest concern. Well, that and the situation that will confront photographers working overseas in remote areas, where they're unable to access the internet for their monthly Adobe exams.

Daryl Davis said...

"Guess I belong to the white trash segment of your readership..." Me, too! (African-American Division)

I'm not a professional photographer. I'm an uninspired amateur struggling to make the best photos I can. I work full time, haven't seen a raise or cost of living adjustment in 8 years. Gasoline here in Silicon Valley hasn't dipped much below $4/gallon for five years now, and never for very long. I'm sole support of a family of four: my twin daughters, whom I believed to have been born earlier this year, somehow are two months past their tenth birthday. I make weekly pilgrimages to the prosthodontist with my 80-year old mother, who probably never will be satisfied with her dentures because she'll always be remembering how her teeth felt.

I do derive some income from writing, though I don't entirely agree with Kirk on his IP stance. But I figure I pay for software either in money or in time, and I don't have a lot of either. I'll pay or donate to developers who bring the value proposition to me. For imaging software with my EM-5, I presently like Capture One Pro (nearing the end of my 60-day trial before I have to pony up $300), then Olympus Viewer 3 (free, but slow, clunky and lacking a lot that C1 brings to the table), finally Lightroom (doesn't quite seem to know what to make of EM-5 RAW files; Huelight plug-in may fix that, but there's no trial version available). Photoline (< $100) seems to do everything I'd need Photoshop for.

Finally, I'm less than pleased with Adobe's decision to embrace the latest fascist--I use the term precisely--cabal, as seen here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/112428.html . I don't mind their charging what the traffic will bear in free and open exchange, but I find it abhorrent that, in addition, they want to increase their profits at the expense of our liberties. As an amateur, I have the luxury of foregoing any Faustian pact with Adobe.

Paul said...

The cloud option will be a cheap alternative for Australians - up to now it's been cheaper to fly from Australia to USA and buy CS suite than buy CS suite in Australia (even as a download).

Adobe's attitude is it will charge whatever the buyer is willing to pay and said as much at a parliamentary enquiry http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/adobe-feels-the-heat-at-pricing-inquiry/story-e6frgakx-1226603357122.

The cloud approach is to ensure constant income - especially from customers that may have only upgraded every 2nd or 3rd release. There is nothing stopping them from ramping up the price once a critical mass is using CC.

Francesco Carucci said...

No Kirk, he's technically correct, it's not stealing, but use without permission of someone else's work. Which is morally wrong and punishable by law. I'm also a Software Developer and I've been affected by piracy which is very high in my field (videogames), so I completely agree with you on the matter of copyright.

Copyright, though, is a tricky problem: I believe that in the future there won't be copyright as we know, but authors will be compensated for selling a service, rather than selling a product. Adobe is moving with this reasoning.

Chris Mielke said...

Finally catching up on some of your older blog posts. I echo what others are saying on the piracy topic. This was not done to prevent piracy nor will it. Those that do the cracks and get around the schemes do so for the challenge. Those that use them do so for their free cost structure. Kirk you are too much taking Adobe's line on this. We will be able to innovate better and faster. No software maker in history innovates unless they HAVE to, unless they are pushed in the marketplace or by the need for cash. Adobe has just changed the rules and understandably so. The price and need to their customer base was slowing down for all of the "new" features that will be added. So guess what so would the need to upgrade to the latest version. Adobe needs cash to keep making and supporting customers. Corporate customers would rather not deal with a large bill every 2 years so Adobe gave them what they wanted. A consistent pay stream and in return Adobe gets a consistent income stream.

You give your prediction and now I will give mine. Adobe will slow down on innovation. Prices after a period of stability will increase since there isn't any need to innovate Adobe's income will increase. Wallstreet will be happy. The pirates will find a way very soon if not already today to put the latest version of Photoshop on my hard drive if I wanted to.

I'm not against any of these things happening since another software program will fill the niche to the hobbyist or amateur photographer. On that part you are very correct.

Joe V said...

Adobe's policy change reminds me of Kodak. Their film products were marketed as either "professional" or "consumer" grade. Neither of which categories fitted the enthusiast amateur, of which are most folks still using film. Now Kodak is on the ropes, since both the "professional" and "consumer" groups have moved on to digital. And so where do most enthusiast amateurs buy their film products? From Ilford, a company that understands their customer base. Adobe is forcing the enthusiast amateurs away from their products, which will be to their loss, as it was to Kodak's.