We examine Adobe’s new policy
regarding its software products, which might signal the end for user ownership
Once upon a time, we lived in a much
simpler world, where you went to 0a shop and handed over money to buy things
you wanted. Some companies still support that notion, like car companies, who
might own the copyright on their vehicles but entirely accept that you own the
car you bought.
Others, like Adobe, have a new plan, where
you'll pay them but never actually get to own anything.
Cloudy With A Chance Of Upgrades
The future, as Adobe sees it, is a huge
army of software users each sending it a chunk of cash every month for the joy
of using its products. The idea that you buy one of its programs, and it works
forever is old thinking, according to Adobe, and it's about to brush that era
away with the latest releases of its Creative Suite software.
CS6 - including Photoshop, Illustrator,
Flash, After Effects, Dreamweaver and Acrobat - is the last versions you can
buy and own. No, that's not a typo; that's the company's plan. Adobe already
offers these as a pay-as-you-go service under the Creative Cloud, and from this
point onwards, that's the part it'll be developing.
- including Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, After Effects, Dreamweaver and
Acrobat - is the last versions you can buy and own.
For clarification, because many people
seemed confused by the notion of Creative Cloud, at this time these aren't
web-based versions of the apps, but a web linked solution with localized apps.
However, the intention is clear that at some point (when we all have gigabit
Ethernet, one might assume) the solution will become less platform specific.
The bought version, Creative Suite, version
6, will remain available for 'perpetuity' as Adobe describes it, where it won't
be developed but you can still buy it, until presumably you won't be able to
buy an operating system that it will work with.
Those wanting new features should look to
Creative Cloud (CC), because they won't be seeing them in CS.
So far, about half a million subscribers
have signed up to CC, and as the versions on there move away from CS6, Adobe is
expecting more people to take up its offer. But how much does it cost to live
on the Creative Cloud, and are there any advantages, other than to line Adobe's
Silver Linings Pay Book
The exact cost of Creative Cloud can be
altered by many things, not least if you're prepared to commit to yearly
contracts or if you want just one all or all of them.
The full costs of the Creative Cloud are
detailed in a box-out in this article, but it's difficult to exactly match the
CS6 versions with their CC counterparts, because there are so many versions and
the Creative Cloud does a few things that CS6 doesn't.
A full package with annual commitment costs
$70 or $844 each year. Meanwhile, CS6 Master Collection is a whopping $3,967 to
are so many versions and the Creative Cloud does a few things that CS6 doesn't.
The cheapest deal is the 'Student and
Teacher' version for those in education, and that's $24 a month or $286 a year.
Those who refuse to sign up for a year can pay as they go, but it costs more,
and a single user accessing Photoshop using the system ad hoc will find it
costs them $26 a month, or $316 a year. For comparison, Photoshop CS6 is $991,
so it's the equivalent of three years of CC use.
Looking the numbers, if you upgrade every
three years or less, then creative Cloud is actually cheaper; if you're still
using CS4, then bought tools are more cost efficient. However, it doesn't
really explain why Adobe would do this, cutting out those who wish to buy its
products and not rent them.
Bought Vs Licensed
The idea of software licenses isn't a new
one, because in high-end application tools it's been the norm from the outset.
I was once a CAD manager, and the modelling tools that I used there were
licensed, incurring a residual charge for each seat that needed to be paid for
the workstations to function.
The way this was sold to the company
involved was that should business perk up, it was a quick and easy deal to ring
the company involved and get extra licenses issued, and conversely if we didn't
use a feature, we could revoke the license and save some money. Let's be
honest, though: the only reason the developer could do this was that only it
made the tools that we used, so it was their way or the highway.
In the more competitive market of office PC
applications that wasn't an option; you bought an application or suite, and it
was licensed for one computer till the end of time. The ideal that you'd pay a
retainer to have access wasn't an option that anyone was floating, and even
when Microsoft Office started to dominate it wasn't an option.
idea of software licenses isn't a new one, because in high-end application
tools it's been the norm from the outset.
Later on, Microsoft introduced various
corporate license schemes to tie businesses into repeat purchases and allow
them to install as many copies of its products as they wished, but for many
people Office was a flat cost that was bundled into the purchase of a new PC.
Interestingly, this was even if the new PC was replacing an older one that was
already licensed for a version of Office.
In respect of how Adobe has gone about
this, it's decided that all customers that buy a version of Creative Suite will
stick with CS6, until it's so old that it can't be practically used. Because of
that, it's might be a choice now, but in years to come it won't be and the only
way to use Adobe products will be Creative Cloud. Therefore, the notion of
bought versus licensed will be a moot one, unless you choose to use other tools