Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I've Got A Bad Feeling About This: Adobe Creative Cloud

Last week, in a move seemingly designed to piss off 98% of their customer base, Adobe announced that they'll no longer be selling their Creative Suite software in physical form. From now on it'll be called Adobe Creative Cloud and will only be available for downloading at the low, low subscription fee of $50 a month ($30 if you just want one piece of the Suite such as Photoshop).

That's right, for just $600 a year you'll be granted the privilege of renting their software (yes, I know that according to the user agreement everyone accepts that's been the case all along, but still...)..

Adobe officials are of course touting this as a good thing for their customers. In a press release they had this to say, in a spectacular piece of MarketSpeak™:
“The urge to be creative is universal, and harnessing the creative spark – in everyone from school children to creative pros – has never been more important,” said Shantanu Narayen, president and chief executive officer, Adobe. “Wherever and whenever inspiration strikes, Adobe will be there to help capture, refine and publish your ideas.”
“We launched Creative Cloud a year ago and it has been a runaway success,” said David Wadhwani, senior vice president and general manager, Digital Media, Adobe. “By focusing our energy -- and our talented engineers -- on Creative Cloud, we’re able to put innovation in our members’ hands at a much faster pace.”
Wow, how Mr. Narayen managed to say all that without bursting out laughing, I have no idea. I bet he was sore the next day! 
See, by charging us a monthly fee our ol' pal Adobe is doing us all a favor, dontcha know? From now on we'll never have to worry about not having the latest software because we'll be constantly forced to upgrade. It's a win-win situation!

They're not fooling anybody. The only ones who'll benefit from this boneheaded idea is Adobe. This is a cash grab, pure and simple. A cash grab so transparent you can read the newspaper through it. Now instead of a burst of revenue every time they release a new, slightly different version of their software that ain't worth the trouble they'll have a steady, monthly revenue stream from now until the end time.

Adobe knows all too well that most people keep their software for years until the day it finally stops working on their computers. Not any more! Now you'll be forced to upgrade whether you want to or not, and if you don't upgrade, Adobe will kill it. Right there on your machine! Because you don't own their software now, remember? You're only renting it. And they don't have to rent to you if they feel you're not worthy.

I'm also 100% positive they're doing this to stem the dreaded scourge of piracy. I will admit this is probably a legitimate concern for them. Everybody knows someone with a copy of Photoshop that they don't mind sharing. While I don't encourage piracy, I can definitely understand it. When your software package costs well over $1,500 motherfrakin' dollars it's only natural that some consumers are going to be reluctant to pay for it.

Many have said that the new subscription price of $600 a year will be a substantial savings over the old purchase price. That's certainly true if you rush out and upgrade every time Adobe releases a new version. The thing is, nobody does that. I don't know a single person who feels compelled to do so. Everyone I know keeps whatever CS version they have indefinitely. Even the various companies for which I've worked have done this, upgrading as an absolute last resort. When you look at it that way that $600 a year ain't no bargain.

An extra $50 a month probably won't be too big a burden for most corporations, but this is gonna kill small Mom & Pop companies.

It'll be especially painful for freelancers whose income fluctuates from month to month. I have a feeling many small-time freelancers are gonna fall by the wayside.

And what about casual users? People who aren't freelancers but just like playing around in Photoshop or InDesign for their own amusement? Screw you, that's what. Adobe just made your fun little hobby very damned expensive.

One of the many "benefits" Adobe is loudly trumpeting is that by subscribing you'll always have the absolute latest version of their software with all their brand new features and improvements that no one asked for. The thing is, the vast majority of consumers will never use any of this stuff. I've been using Photoshop since the early 1990s and there are features I've never used and never will. I have no use for them or even any idea what they do. All that these needless bells and whistles do is bloat the software and make it take longer to start up. 

Once you start subscribing, how will all these new features be updated on your computer? By downloading them, that's how. I don't like the sound of that. Do you have Adobe Acrobat on your computer? If so, did you ever notice how it'll bug you for days and days that there's a new version and you need to drop what you're doing and upgrade immediately? And then after a week of these annoying alerts, you finally throw up your hands and say , "Alright already!" and download the ferkakta thing and then it restarts tour computer and immediately tells you that there's yet another upgrade available. Get ready for even more of that.

And how long do you think it'll take to download all this stuff over even a fast connection? Minutes? Hours? I pity people in rural areas who still have dial-up.

Another annoyance: the way I understand it you'll need a working internet connection to use the new Creative Cloud. That's so the software can periodically send out a message to Adobe letting them know it's on your computer, it's the current version and most important of all that it's paid for. If you don't upgrade religiously or can't afford the subscription this month the software will tattle on you and Adobe will remotely disable it. Nice of them, eh? 

"Creative Cloud" indeed. A foul and noxious cloud that issued straight from Adobe's bum hole.

As you may have guess by now, I do not plan on subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud for $600 a year. I'm still using Photoshop 7 and I get along just fine. It does everything I need for the kind of work I do and I'm gonna keep using it until the day it finally stops working. What are you gonna do, Adobe? Come to my house and take it back?

Good luck with your new customer-screwing endeavor, Adobe. You're not the only game in town, you know. The biggest and most popular yes, but not the only. Looks like it's time to start learning SketchBook Pro. And if that fails, there's always pen and paper.


  1. Wow, that IS crap. You're completely right about small business/freelance/hobbyists. I wonder if they'll change their tune if there's a major rebellion (like when Netflix tried to split their company). Also, why is it SO expensive, anyway?!

  2. I'm hoping there will be a big backlash that'll force them to rethink this idea, but I'm not holding my breath. The majority of comments I've read have been extremely negative. The few positive ones I've read all sound like corporate shills or plants.

    Every one of these changes they're making is for Adobe's benefit, and not one is for the consumer's. I hate that they're FORCING people to constantly upgrade whether they want to or not. Aside from the cost, you'll never get used to the software. Just when you finally get the hang of it and figure out where everything is they'll change it again.

    As for why it's so expensive, I'm assuming it's to pay for the programmers who work non-stop to keep coming up with features that no one asked for or will ever use. Well, that and corporate greed.


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