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back to article You thought slinging Photoshop into the cloud would fail? Look who's laughing NOW

Despite banking a smaller cash haul than it managed this time last year, Adobe's share price rallied last night - as it crashed through the one million cloud subscriber mark. The maker of the Creative Cloud added 331,000 more paying people to the internet-served software package, according to its paperwork for its third quarter …

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Sil

Nothing to blast about

1 million is a nice looking number but the truth is many many customers are dissatisfied and won't join the forced subscription - please stop talking about cloud there are so little services included.

The real number here is -8% revenues. Financial analysts would be well advised to study the utter lack of innovation, the 0 must-have feature of the 3 or 4 last versions of creative suite, and an acrobat business that was so milked that it will produce ever decreasing revenues, and the very near end of the flash franchise.

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Childcatcher

Re: Nothing to blast about

The real number here is -8% revenues.

I think the bit where Narayen mentioned that they were actually moving faster in migration than they anticipated is telling. They knew they were going to lose people on this, but figured that they would come out better long term. I know that "the public" has a short memory and Adobe is probably planning on picking up the stragglers over time, but given how unpopular this billing model is I would suspect the best that they are going to be able to claim is that they won every battle and still lost the war.

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Re: Nothing to blast about

So I can't find a trial version of Dreamweaver to download. A cloud based subscription is the only offer (Dreamweaver CC). Though they still seem to offer Coldfusion Builder2 trial, but maybe it's pathetic compared to Dreamweaver with CF plug in to actually WYSIWYG layout Webpage appearance.

Stupidity. I only want to buy applications without subscriptions and that don't need potentially unreliable Internet connections to run.

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Boffin

The real number her is -8% revenue?

I bet that quite a few companies would be satisfied with -8% revenue, if it comes with a subscription model. Getting money constantly and predictably is far safer than always having to convince people to buy the next version of your product. Why do you think Adobe is doing this? Realistically, the features from five years ago would be enough for most people. They are far enough ahead on features that the biggest competitor for their new release is their own previous release.

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Re: The real number her is -8% revenue?

>I bet that quite a few companies would be satisfied with -8% revenue

Maybe but only if that was all the bleeding that would happen which very well won't be the case with Adobe.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nothing to blast about

I have to say I'm dissatisfied with the cloud approach.

On the plus side I've realised that signing up to their cloud service with a new email address every 30 days grants another month free trial. It doesn't work on Windows (I guess some imprint of your system is taken,) but it does in Wine if you copy the program files to a new Wine bottle at the same time.

Alternatively if you run CS in a VM you can create a snapshot after installation and then isolate the VM from the system clock. Roll back every 30 days.

The information above is provided for educational purposes only.

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Re: Nothing to blast about

Hi Mage,

Actually, you can download CS6 applications for trial. Just go to the product page. For example, for Premiere Pro, go here: https://creative.adobe.com/products/premiere Then below where it says, "In This Version" there is a drop down menu. Choose the CS6 application for download there. Hope that helps.

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Cloud based

For goodness sake, Adobe Creative Cloud is not cloud based. It's just a fancy validation server. The software still installs to your hard drive as normal.

Friend of mine was working on a gig at a remote location. His version of Creative Cloud stopped working due to a "billing issue". This caused major problems for him and he wasn't able to resolve this until he returned to the office. Turned out to be Adobe's fault as well as they were trying to take his subscription from an expired credit card when he had already supplied details of a new card.

So Adobe have several guns to the users head. The software is critical for its users yet Adobe can pull the plug at any time for any reason and withdraw the software.

Luckily my mate had a copy of Final Cut X installed on his computer and was able to do the work. But it has left a very sour taste in his mouth.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cloud based

Most "Cloud" software isnt cloud based. Office 365 for example. If it uses a service based on the internet then it fits in with the term "Cloud" it seems these days.

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Trollface

Re: Cloud based

I love the word "Cloud". It's a way of having a nice, easy, sexy word that could in reality mean anything... In the case of Adobe, it's less "cloud" and more "steam"... Use anywhere at one time, and finally people might start having to buy Adobe's stuff at their overpriced non-US rate, rather than letting people obtain their copy via the pirate bay...

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Re: Cloud based

But it's a monthly rental with "Cloud validation" so might as well be.

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Re: Cloud based

"""So Adobe have several guns to the users head. The software is critical for its users yet Adobe can pull the plug at any time for any reason and withdraw the software."""

Which in case you have not noticed; is what this whole cloud exercise is all about.

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Re: Cloud based

less "cloud" and more "steam"

More like less "cloud" and more "vapour" at the push of a button.

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Re: Cloud based

"Which in case you have not noticed; is what this whole cloud exercise is all about."

Because why pay once and own it forever, when you can pay over and over and over and over again?

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Anonymous Coward

Bye-Bye Adobe

I've been a Photoshop user since V4. I'm on CS6 now and that's it. no more. I'm done spending money with Adobe. I know that I'm not alone here.

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Re: Bye-Bye Adobe

I'm with you there. Freelancing isn't the most stable of careers and if all your tools are taken away if you have one bad month then you're just asking for a death-spiral. Too risky and I also will definitely not be making the move to the cloud.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bye-Bye Adobe

^ This. Apparently there's a 99-day grace period before validating a Creative Cloud license, which could be helpful during a shortage of money, but I'd still feel like being held as a hostage by Adobe. I'm seriously considering giving CorelDRAW Suite a shot. If only Corel still developed DRAW for Mac. Oh well, I might as well kick Apple to the curb without regret.

http://www.corel.com/corel/pages/index.jsp?pgid=14900014&storeKey=us&languageCode=en

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Anonymous Coward

Comment to Adobe

This is a comment to Adobe (also made directly). As a former Adobe customer, I was very dissappointed that the new LR (bought) breaks the interface with Photoshop CS5.5 (also bought). It seems that the only way to fix this interface is to upgrade, but there are no options to buy a newer version than CS5.5

Since you refuse to sell CS6 to me, if I were to obtain it from somewhere else without paying, I wouldn't have "stolen" anything from you. You claim to be able to reduce "piracy" buy "giving people what they want", but then telling them that they can't have it.

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Re: Comment to Adobe

Hi AC,

You can still purchase CS6 applications. Here's a link: http://www.adobe.com/products/catalog/cs6._sl_id-contentfilter_sl_catalog_sl_software_sl_creativesuite6.html

Hope that helps.

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I'm interested to see how this plays out: Will creative types be willing to give Adobe such a position of power over them, long term? This could work out OK (With some grumbling users left behind), or blow up spectacularly in Adobe's face.

I'm not a creative type, but there's a reason I have dropped for FPP Office 2013 over the 365 cloud version (And Deeply appreciate Microsoft giving us a choice, albeit grudgingly)

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It might put off a few creative professionals but there really aren't many options for them to move to. Not just in functionality, but in the entire collaborative workflow that creatives thrive in. The person whe creates (x) generally isn't the end user. It'll go through several other internal and external parties before it reaches its final destination. Everybody involved has to be using fully compatible software to meet their responsibilities. It's hard for a professional, who actually makes money, to break out of that chain. The lock-in is within the overall creative ecosystem, not the subscription.

The subscription model is beneficial for the company pushing it. It is a wet dream for Wall Street types as it pushes reliable forecasting much further into the future. Most people who sign on to a subscription tend to stay subscribed. They don't sweat the small payments, just ignore them really. You've really got to piss off someone or have a competitor with a cheaper offering to lose a subscriber.

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@David Austin

The creative types typically don't care about costs except MAYBE as it affects their paychecks.

One of the reasons Adobe software in general has been so hideously overpriced is the cater to these types who once upon a time were willing to pay thousands for a single typeface on their typesetting machines. Given that each font family has several typefaces and any creative types were going to demand hundreds of font families, we're talking millions. Granted for most punters these days I'm talking prehistoric times, but that's where it came from.

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I'm a "creative type" and it's definitely put me off. I bought CS6 Design Standard (full license, not an upgrade) last year. The only Adobe applications I use are Photoshop and Illustrator. I moved on from Dreamweaver over a decade ago and there's no way I'm going back.

When working on projects requiring interaction with other designers I'll use the Adobe stuff, if I am the entirety of the design team on a job though I've been using Sketch for interface design. I don't envisage being able to move completely away from Adobe in the short term but neither am I prepared to pay for Cash Cow for the long term (or in fact one single day).

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My other half works for a newspaper and is a graphic artist. The (pretty well known) newspaper ditched Photoshop for Quark something or other, but are keeping the old copies of photoshop because they can.

No plans to buy a subscription, so Adobe easily lost dozens of customers there at a single stroke.

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Quark Xpress

Crikey, that thing's still going? Mind you, from what I remember it's an actual honest-to-goodness DTP program as opposed to Illustrator's "good for making glossy leaflets" approach.

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All this proves is how greedy Adobe are

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Don't gloat too hard

Don't be too quick to gloat about Adobe losing money.

It's their Digital Restrictions Management which powers most e-readers -- and which conceivably could stop working altogether, if Adobe go out of business.

Can you imagine what would happen if everyone turned on their Kindle, Kobo, Nook or similar one day, and found pretty much their entire library gone?

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Re: Don't gloat too hard

That's not how business works. If Adobe went bankrupt, the viable parts of the business (such as your DRM division) would be sold to the highest bidder.

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FAIL

Re: Don't gloat too hard

Buzzword,

Well maybe. If Adobe DRM was making profits, it would be worth someone else taking over the servers. But if it loses popularity, then it's all costs (running servers and keeping the lights on) for no future profits, and so no-one will keep it going. Although as I understand it, it's quite easy to crack.

Incidentally Amazon use their own DRM don't they? So you could regard that as being 2 chances of an organisation failing, or a more healthy ecosystem.

Adobe Digital Editions is utterly shit though. I tried to set it up for a visually impaired acquaintance. The reader/controller program that you install on the PC is in charge of authorising other devices, so you can put books on you eReader. However, if you want to read it on the laptop, you aren't able to increase the font size, and the laptop isn't able to authorise itself - so you can't use another program which actually works for its specified purpose! So I was left with telling them that their options were, buy an eReader to make the laptop they just bought for this one task pointless, or I suppose you might be able to authorise another PC? Or crack the files. As this was supposed to be to read library books - cheapness and regularity were the point, and they weren't up to the complication of sorting it out.

I don't like the idea of vendor lock-in, but I think the library service should just have out-sourced eBooks to Amazon. Kindle may be DRM encumbered, so I won't use it, but at least it bloody works.

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Re: Don't gloat too hard

Also, I'd bet at least one of those companies has insisted that Adobe put the relevant source code in escrow so that if Adobe goes bankrupt their rights continue and they are then entitled to use the source code to continue their product development. I mean hell, if HP put those conditions on the company I worked for back in the late 1980s when we co-developed a product, I can't see any way the legal hounds would sign a contract without it today.

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Anonymous Coward

Interesting..

..but still potentially a house of cards, when many of your customers are only with you because of no competition. They're essentially hostages- you want photoshop? Sign on the dotted line.

It's interesting that since there is competition in the digital darkroom arena, Lightroom is a component of creative cloud that you can still buy on its own. Customers would have just switched away. They will be making money hand over fist with this move- but potentially stoking fires of resentment for the future.

I am a Lightroom user (it's actually annoyingly good), and have been so since my previous digital workflow software (Bibble, now Corel somethingorother) became unusably buggy. I was considering actually springing for a full Creative Studio license, but I am damned if I will rent it. My employer, equally, would have bought me a boxed CS for work, but the financial bureaucracy is not able to rent software (nor are we able to use the Apple app store, due to stupid licensing, so we're switching from Final Cut to Avid).

I'll probably look out for a good cracked Creative Cloud for private use; something I never would have done with CS. Fuckers.

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Will time be on Adobe's side?

I think a few corporate accounts that get messed up because of billing issues, etc. will put a chill in their business-user base. My (vey big global) company is not keen on relying on 'out-of-office' aka cloud services, so I am going to have to love my boxed CS5 for a long time. For my own personal use, I wil be scrounging around for some recent version of CS I can pick up with reasonably clean hands. And I'll wait for the competition to deliver something, and hope that, in this case, time is on MY side.

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Re: Will time be on Adobe's side?

For us, the big problem is that it relies on that POS known as "Air", which doesn't play with our corporate proxy server, so we can download, and install, but never authenticate...

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net profit for the period was $83m, down from $201.3m

Sounds like crashing and burning to me.

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Mushroom

So that means...

"An 8.5-per-cent spike in operating expenses to $737.6m came on the back of rising research and development, sales and marketing costs and "general & admin" bills. "

This can be broken down to:

Research and Development - 1%

General and Admin - 1%

Marketing - 98%

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Childcatcher

demonstrating acceptance of the new offering

I think it should be reworded to Demonstrating people and companies who rely on their software are being forced to the new offering.

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Paint.NET

Over to you.

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As much as I appreciate Paint.NET, anyone with an ounce of sense has to admit that it simply cannot compare with Photoshop in any version.

Well, anyone who has actually worked with Photoshop, that is.

And that is why Adobe can corral people into this. There is simply nothing else on the market at that level.

Thankfully, I am not forced to use Adobe products, because I am not in that line of business. And right now, I am mighty glad about that.

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So when I said "Over to you", I should've meant it as, "Now is the time to add enough features so that people start switching"?

Because that's what I meant.

Also it does have some much better stuff than PS. The horrible history stuff in PS is nothing like as good as the fine-grained, infinite history in PDN.

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Facepalm

All bow to Wall Street's moneymen who know best

Adobe's net profit Q3 2013 was $83m, down from $201.3m for Q3 2012. But they've got a fancy version of WGA with the word Cloud in it so that's fine.

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The real reason for the laughing

Yeah, what are you gonna go to instead? The GIMP? Paint Shop Pro?

That's right. You'll pay per month to use the same old shit, and you'll thank us for it, you bitches. Now bend the fuck over and spread those cheeks.

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Re: The real reason for the laughing

And everyone assumes it's Photoshop that is the issue and not the other apps. When it comes to packages like After Effects there is even less competition. There's Apple Motion which is a bit "Fisher Price" or far more expensive packages that don't integrate as well with other packages and are far more complicated.

The other day I had a presenter who acquired a small mark on their face during the course of a piece to camera that went unnoticed. Simply hit a button in Premiere, took that piece out to After Effects, a quick bit of masking in After Effects, hit another button and back into Premiere with the mark removed. I can tell you that kind of workflow saves a hell of alot of time and hassle.

And Adobe know that if they hold out long enough us video editors will have to relent and subscribe. My money says they are fully expecting some people to hold out for 4 or 5 years and the likelihood is that they will lose very little business to competitors.

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Re: The real reason for the laughing

You have to wonder how much money would be needed to rectify the issues with having an acceptable alternative to some of these packages. Get a few hundred users together, get them to contribute 1/2 the current fees each and see if that would pay some competent folk to implement the necessary code changes to GIMP, etc...

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Re: The real reason for the laughing

Except money is not always a reliable predictor of success of a mega software project. Sometimes small rather cheap teams can do amazing things and sometimes you get massive team epic fails like OS2 or at least half of EA's titles. A massive amount of money will usually ensure a project gets completed but the end product quality can differ massively.

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Re: The real reason for the laughing

It isn't, strictly, the code that keeps Adobe on top of their markets. They've gone to great lengths in terms of buying up exclusive technology licensing rights and patents for image manipulation and associated technologies, as well as developing their own. They were buying up those things, directly from their individual creators, before anyone realized what it would all turn out to be worth. Even if Adobe went bust tomorrow whoever ended up with their IP portfolio would still hold the keys to the kingdom.

As dumb as software patents are, you still have to admire Adobe for looking so far ahead in what was essentially a niche market before they came along.

It isn't so much a lack of technical ability that keeps competitors out, it's that Adobe successfully cut everyone off from building a truly comparable offering.

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Re: The real reason for the laughing

I'm guessing these software patents are only valid in the USA?

Seems the rest of the world could go another way, and I'm guessing if the software was free then no issue with a company having to have a business presence of any sort in the USA. Also, I'm guessing that the majority of users don't need the majority of features, so probably not that much to fix, say, GIMP's problems with 16-bit filters, CMYK output, etc.

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Such a fraud..it's so obvious. Fake numbers

So revenues dropping with claimed 330,000+ new customers happy to be ripped off paying for the crap cloud Adobe packages ?

Please...

Even a little kid would figure it out. It's just so fishy. That's beyond pathetic.

Fire the CEO and his lazy gang! Have the FBI investigate on them..

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Ambivalent

I'm not a Adobe customer (other than having a copy of flash..) so whatever happens happens. If I were a customer I would not be happy about going from boxed copies to a subscription model.

From a business perspective though... they have lower revenues and lower units subscribed compared to total sales of boxed copies. Short term drop. But, they will now have a fairly predictable cash flow from these subscribers, whereas before they'd (I assume) get a big bunch of sales when a new version of Photoshop or whatever came out and relatively low sales "in between" versions. They would have felt pressure to keep coming out with new versions of what are after all by now very mature pieces of software, whereas now they will get revene either way so they can put out a new version when it's ready. The real downside, if a serious competitor takes away market, I think subscription sales will drop more quickly as the person (psychologically) thinks "Well $xx a month" rather than "I invested $xxxx in this software!", and so will switch back and forth more easily.

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"customers are moving away from perpetual licenses towards term-based licenses"

>customers are moving away from perpetual licenses towards term-based licenses

Willingly?

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Turn the Dial

When will they do a Google and turn up the dial on the machine to generate a higher return per customer to compensate for this drop in revenue??

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