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back to article Adobe price hike: Your money or your files, frappuccino sippers

So, Adobe: can it justify shifting its Creative Suite to a contentious new licensing model? Some say it is making life more difficult and expensive for those users who'd prefer to simply purchase the software outright, while others say it's just a decent business trying to do right by everybody. I refer, of course, to the …

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"Can Adobe justify shifting its Creative Suite to a contentious new licensing model?2

Trivial.

Will it make more money for Adobe?

If answer is Yes, then it's justified.

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Re: "Can Adobe justify shifting its Creative Suite to a contentious new licensing model?2

I guess that you are an Adobe shareholder. To me, as an Adobe user, I very much doubt that they could justify the change.

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Re: "Can Adobe justify shifting its Creative Suite to a contentious new licensing model?2

"I guess that you are an Adobe shareholder. To me, as an Adobe user, I very much doubt that they could justify the change."

I'm not sure that the farmer worries too much about justifying his actions to the sheep.

This move has, however, opened up a huge hole in Adobe's defences against competitors. The bar for a CS competitor has been lowered a great deal from "must be 10x better to have a chance" to something closer to "just has to open my files and let me do some reasonably decent work and save as PDF". Jesus, even Quark might stage a comeback.

Subscriptions rob a product of momentum because the user has to keep pushing it; a bought package serves as its own reason to not change, whereas the rented package keeps asking the user to justify the cost every single month. That only works when there's no alternative.

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Re: "Can Adobe justify shifting its Creative Suite to a contentious new licensing model?2

Depends on how you use it really, if you upgrade every new release then the subscription model would actually work out cheaper but I think most single users will upgrade every 3-4 years at which point it's cheaper with the old system.

For most organisations I think Adobe has them by the short and curlies as based on past experience most people I've worked/known in design tend to favour working a certain way and that's going to discourage them from trying other products. Not forgetting the companies may also reason the same as Adobe that this new system is cheaper if they were going to upgrade with every new release anyway.

Personally I can see myself using CS 2 for a very long time to come, there's not been any new features I especially care about or need (which I can see being true for many others) and as other posters have mentioned with this subscription model Adobe is more likely to make fewer improvements as more people are locked in. Not to mention I don't like the idea of renting my tools...

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FAIL

Its just makes it more difficult for new talent to enter the industry. Most of us started on pirate software to get the experience to be able to get the job. Now we have the job we can buy it.

Hopefully they will have some kind of cheaper student version.

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You think this will stop pirate software?

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Facepalm

adobe still offer CS2 for people to download and use with the posted key (if you purchased it of course!) It gets to something when that will do what most people require.

(copyright infringement is bad in a civil way mmkay? so is stealing but that is a different argument/crime etc etc)

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JDX
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Its just makes it more difficult for new talent to enter the industry

Why? Surely they still offer a free trial at the very least?

I haven't looked, but do they allow short-term subscriptions that cost less than buying a boxed copy?

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Pirate

Ha ha! Funny!

Knowing how much this software is used by the world and his dog, I give it less than 24 hours after each release and there will be patches and patched versions available from your local "freetard trough" site!

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Not so sure...

I think a lot more people can afford 50 quid to "get-to-know" the products, rather than splurge 3K on it.

I would say that it lowers the barrier of entry, a new start-up or self-employed person doesn't have to find a huge lump sum, they can give the equivalent of that lump sum out over 4 to 5 years... And if it doesn't work out, they can cancel their subscription.

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Re: Its just makes it more difficult for new talent to enter the industry

"I haven't looked, but do they allow short-term subscriptions that cost less than buying a boxed copy?"

Individual programs are available @ $20/month (annual subscription) or $30/month (no contract); quit at any time.

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valid assumption?

This is predicated on the assumption that the 'creative' types will continue to use Adobe's software regardless of how it's sold. Is it really so superior to the competition (honest question, as I'm not very familiar with this type of software - I mostly use Paint) that a lot of people won't simply abandon it in favor of something else?

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Re: valid assumption?

Unfortunately it is that much better than the competition - well Photoshop is at least.

There is Paint Shop Pro, Pixelmator or even Gimp or Paint.net but none of these have the immense amount of functionality and automation that you get with photoshop.

I wish it weren't so and that we had a decent competitor to take over the lead.

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Re: valid assumption?

The software is very good, but this model may prevent people upgrading - especially in the freelance sector.

As for whether there's competition? Well, yes and no..

Photoshop is the only one that has credible competition, and you could make a good case that for 90% of what the people using pirated PS copies are doing, they could do just as well with Gimp, which is free.

Same kind of applies to DreamWeaver. As a developer doing occasional web stuff, I never saw the huge advantage of DreamWeaver over, say, SublimeText (plug: you owe it to yourself to try this editor!) and FireBug, but it has its devotees.

On the other hand, from personal experience, there is nothing as good as Illustrator for design and illustration work. Not saying it's perfect, mind you, but just that the competition, both free and paid, is a whole lot less perfect.

(I don't use InDesign, but I know people who swear it's the best part of Creative Suite.)

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FAIL

Re: valid assumption?

>>functionality and automation that you get with photoshop.

Out of interest, I wonder if this still happens.

Do an automated resize or something from C:\destination\source_images\ to C:\destination\ and see if your original images still exist. The last time I did that my images were gone, really gone.

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Re: valid assumption?

"Do an automated resize or something from C:\destination\source_images\ to C:\destination\ and see if your original images still exist. The last time I did that my images were gone, really gone."

Should have used imagemagick :)

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Re: Re: valid assumption?

"Photoshop is the only one that has credible competition, and you could make a good case that for 90% of what the people using pirated PS copies are doing, they could do just as well with Gimp, which is free."

I'm actually going through this at work right now. I REALLY wanted to be able to recommend FOSS publishing software -- GIMP, Scribus, and Inkscape -- but,with the POSSIBLE exception of Scribus (which, admittedly, I've only dabbled with) they're just not ready for professional publishing.

The thing that keeps GIMP from being suitable for me, for example, is its lack of support for LAB or -- most critically -- CMYK colorspaces. Add to that the fact that the "roadmap" page lists high-end CMYK support as a low-priority item and I just don't see how I can recommend it.

OTOH. The way that I see it is that @ $50/month, it will take the department a bit over two years to pay Adobe the equivalent of the price of CS6 Design Standard edition. Thus, if we go cloudy with a subscription, that gives the FOSS teams two years to get their programs up to something that I feel may be worth reconsidering before we hit the break-even point and start losing money.

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Re: valid assumption? @Robert Long 1 re imagemagick

I spent 6 hours trying to put a solid triangle onto a tranparent background and save it as a .png or .gif. I failed.

imagemagick looks tremendously capable but it's so inconsistent and the documentation is laughable.

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Re: valid assumption? @Robert Long 1 re imagemagick

"imagemagick looks tremendously capable but it's so inconsistent and the documentation is laughable."

Imagemagicks documentation is excellent, I think. If you can't find an example of how to do what you I'd be very surprised.

http://www.imagemagick.org/Usage/draw/

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Re: valid assumption? @Robert Long 1 re imagemagick

Well, it took me over an hour to find a way of creating an image from scratch. Starting from the docs <http://www.imagemagick.org/script/command-line-tools.php>, can you see it specified?

Turns out you use convert. Here's what the docs that page say: "convert - convert between image formats as well as resize an image, blur, crop, despeckle, dither, draw on, flip, join, re-sample, and much more." No wonder I got lost there.

The docs suck - examples are excellent (although I couldn't find one that covered my trivial needs) but they aren't docs. I stand by that.

Transparency is not simple if imagery isn't your area: <http://www.imagemagick.org/Usage/masking/#alpha> and <http://www.imagemagick.org/Usage/formats/#boolean_trans> and for heaven's sake, try to make sense of -alpha, ‑transparent and ‑transparent‑color in here <http://www.imagemagick.org/script/command-line-options.php>.

But you can't blame IM for my newbiness, perhaps I should have just asked on a forum. If I get the chance I'll look at it again. If you have any recommendations for starting IM, do mention them, TIA.

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Re: valid assumption? @Robert Long 1 re imagemagick

If you're still listening, here's how to make a triangle on a transparent background:

convert -size 100x60 xc:none -fill white -stroke black -draw "path 'M 20,55 L 25,10 L 70,5 L 20,55 Z' " triangle.png

Almost straight from the examples in the docs, except that I had to drop "none" in to replace the skyblue in the actual example. "xc:" (X-window Color) can be replaced by the somewhat more obvious and accurate name "canvas:" in more recent versions of IM, BTW.

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Re: valid assumption? @Robert Long 1 re imagemagick

bloody hell, canvas:none does it? I'd never have worked that out. I can't even find "canvas:" in <http://www.imagemagick.org/script/command-line-options.php> bar one irrelevant appearace. No mention of alpha or transparency? Damn.

Well, thanks, I will check this out tomorrow.

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Pint

Re: valid assumption? @Robert Long 1 re imagemagick

It worked!

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FAIL

And when revenues drop?

Because of all those casual, upgrade every other version users stop paying Adobe a cent,penny etc?

What of the shareholder return then?

could this turn out to be Adobe's footgun moment?

for this user it is. I won't be spending another bent penny on Photoshop with them. I know that I'm not alone here.

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FAIL

Re: And when revenues drop?

Snap. I now have a real reason for investing some time with Gimp. It will probably do for 99% of what I need and I will beg the very occasional 1%. It just needed this nudge.

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Re: And when revenues drop?

I'd be *very* surprised if the casual user upgrades and purchases is anything other then a rounding-error to Adobe compared to the corporate equivalents.

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"not be able to open my old files"

I seem to recall a quote from years back, probably referring to Redmond at the time, but apposite now: if you can't open your data, you don't own it.

Sorry to sound like Eadon, but this is a definite call for open data standards.

Are intermediate files obfuscated/encrypted or merely undocumented?

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Re: "not be able to open my old files"

Illustrator's .ai files are PDFs, and Adobe's PDF viewer can produce a workable approximation of them.

Some editing packages can understand the private meta information Illustrator inserts into the stream. But no other package has the the same filters (and bugs).

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Re: "not be able to open my old files"

Various things open Photoshop PSD files. It's a horrible format to do an import filter for.

I'm not aware of anything that will do InDesign and, yes, that's the best bit of CS. A few years ago, Quark XPress was dominant. They managed to shoot themselves in the foot and now InDesign is. The major publishers will stick with it, but this is about the only thing that could get Quark back in front for the small business market.

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Facepalm

Re: "not be able to open my old files"

I was under the impression that each new edition of Photoshop/Illustrator introduced changes to the file format so you needed to upgrade to open a file from a newer version.

Or that's what my users used to tell me to justify a new version anyway...

And yes, GIMP et al do most of what the average person uses Photoshop for, but I've not yet seen a free clone of Illustrator that is anywhere close.

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Angel

Re: "Sorry to sound like Eadon, but this is a definite call for open data standards"

Calling for open data standards is not sounding like Eadon. Calling for open data standards while leaving behind logic, reason, civility and the ability to objectively listen and consider other's arguments, THAT would sound like Eadon.

From where I sit, you don't sound like that so, as far as I'm concerned, call away!

(In fact, I'll call with you! OPEN DATA STANDARDS. When I create something it should mine whether I pay some company or not!)

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Meh

Autodesk have been doing something similar for years

You buy the product, then pay a yearly sub to always be on the current release. You get a few more sweeteners like logged support cases and a plugin or two. It's a cost of business.

Fuss=?

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Re: Autodesk have been doing something similar for years

The difference is that if you don't pay the sub to Autodesk you still have access to the product you initially purchased. For people who want to be always on the current release it works out the same but if you don't need that you're going to get it and have to pay for it anyway.

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Re: Autodesk have been doing something similar for years

Autodesk probably ship a lot fewer units than Adobe is used to doing. Mind you, they may have to get used to shipping a lot fewer units.

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Re: Autodesk have been doing something similar for years

Autodesk's system is slightly, but significantly different. There the subscription you pays if for upgrades. You still have to buy the package in full up front, but by paying a regular sum you get "free" upgrades. Once you stop paying you remain at the package you last upgraded to.However if you decide to restart the subscription you only have a small window to do so other wise you have to pay the full price again. At over £3000 for AutoCAD alone this is very costly. The subscription is essentially just a prepayment plan. What adobe needs to do is implement some of this. It should be the following: You continue to pay the monthly fee but if you sign up to an annual fee you should be able to keep and use the last downloaded update after 18 months of subscription.Essentially similar to a mobile phone contract.

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FAIL

I suspect a lot of companies might just nope their way out of the Adobe camp and over to open source. (Must admit, I've found GIMP much less buggy and crashy than Adobe over the last few years, much to the annoyance of the designers I work with)

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Pint

"Must admit, I've found GIMP much less buggy and crashy than Adobe"

This is the great thing about evolution, things improve over time and those that improve in the best ways rise to the top. GIMP might NOT be fit for the top end professional (as is often pointed out by, presumably, top end professionals who know these things) NOW, but this could be just the impetus needed to really give GIMP a good enhancement/improvement push. If just a few of the top end users funnel a fraction of the fees they have been/will be paying to Adobe into GIMP donations they might be able to cut Adobe loose sooner than expected!

In fact, even though I'm not a power user, I'm going to donate to GIMP right now. Here's to an Adobe-less future and the end to all such corporations who think they can get away with inordinate turning of the financial thumb screw!

(PS. While looking into how to donate to the GIMP project, I just discovered Flattr: seems like a great idea: http://flattr.com/)

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Happy

goodbye Adobe

i wont be paying a subscription, no f'in chance

bring on the GIMP!

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JDX
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Re: goodbye Adobe

Presumably they are more interested in professional users who use it all the time and "subscribe" already by upgrading to new versions as a matter of course.

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Re: goodbye Adobe

Presumably they are more interested in professional users who use it all the time and "don't subscribe" already by upgrading to new versions every two or three versions.

Fixed.

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Trollface

Re: goodbye Adobe

They are looking to corner the market of those who forget to remove their subscription when it's no longer needed. Who needs to work when you can take the interest and income from the "forgotten" accounts. ;)

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Document Lock Out

I thought it was illegal for software to lock you out of the files you created... I mean, it's basically ransomware no?

http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2013/05/you-should-never-lose-access-to-your-work-period.html

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Re: Document Lock Out

Bring on the EU interoperability clause.

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Re: Document Lock Out

They aren't locking you out of the files, per sé, insomuch as not letting you open them using a prgram that you used to rent. For example, Lightroom can be told to create "side-car" files next to your RAW files, and you are at liberty to use another program to read those. Also PS nowadays stores everything in a heavyweight .TIF file, and again you can use software from someone else to open those files.

However for me, the question is mute, because I will be keeping boxed and paid for LR/PS and so will always be able to open the files in LR/PS.

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Re: Document Lock Out

"I will be keeping boxed and paid for LR/PS and so will always be able to open the files in LR/PS"

That's what I thought with a well-known, paid-for backup program. I stopped using it for a while as I'd copied all my images onto a fistful of DVDs, only to find when I *really* needed it that they'd subtly changed part of the file format and I was left with shiny coasters. Won't do that again!

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Nope

See title.

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Agree that locking you out of existing files would be an unacceptable form of ransom, but a simple and fair option would be to provide a read-only mode that allows saving to other formats once your subscription expires.

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ceteris paribus

I didn't realise "ceteris paribus" was being abused in this way. Marshall never intended it to be used as anything other than a tool for investigating complex interdependencies (i.e. similarly to the physical sciences trying to focus on one variable while holding others constant). It isn't really a get-out clause at all when you're talking about formulae for actively influencing the market.

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Re: ceteris paribus

Economics jokes usually aren't funny but that doesn't stop us trying.

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Anonymous Coward

Competition commission ?

Having worked in the LPG industry (Calor) under the ever-present threat of a dawn raid by the competition commission (yes, they can) it's interesting that Adobe don't receive the same treatment.

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