"Can Adobe justify shifting its Creative Suite to a contentious new licensing model?2
Will it make more money for Adobe?
If answer is Yes, then it's justified.
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 …
"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.
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...
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.
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?
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.
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.)
"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.
>>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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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).
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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/)
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.
"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!
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.
Sure, you can reason this as evening out revenue from upgrade purchases, but that is missing the biggest incentive. Currently Adobe have to _work_ to make new versions which offer more than the current one and they have to acutally _sell_ those upgrades.
Once you have everyone on subscriiption, why even bother ? Your product dev team simply becomes a money sink rather than an investment - massive cost cutting becomes possible, and desirable anytime you want to boost margin to keep the market happy.
If there were other products that were really competitive that you could move to, then that doesn't work, but right now Adobe's biggest competitor for most of the CS products is its own previous versions. Those who can use simpler tools (Gimp etc.) mostly already do, the users Adobe will have are those who need what only CS can do.
They have been pretty much de-facto software to use for anything sofar because of piratism (and student licences) that fuel industry with people who are used to their software. Lots of cases when they end up in work, they have been familiar with Adobe products so they said they "need" em for any little job and companies forked out the money...
After this move, it's very likely that if soft is only cloud it's piracy rates possibly drop, but also it will mean people won't fork out price Adobe asks (for hobby etc. learning purposes). People will look more for alternatives and later on when in work life, they won't have reason to suggest getting Adobe software unless there's real need because they're already familiar with some other cheaper alternatives that will do most of the job anyway.
I see this only a losing move for Adobe unless they introduce heavily lowered prices for students and hobbyists.
They're on bit of a similar road Borland was years and years ago with their coding tools. They managed to alienate lot of schools teaching their tools, they failed with student/hobbyist crowd and pretty much drove their most vocal fans away with dumb behaviour...
Besides that, I'd think after this there's more and more interest to make Gimp etc. have more functions users need and become real and usable alternatives for Adobe software in many cases.
I know I'll be hanging onto my copy of CS for few more years now and start to look actively alternatives.
Researchers here tend to buy a floating license or two for their group to cover the occasional use it gets put to. They buy it just to have it on hand. I can see this practise stopping and them switching to something else. This is a bad move by Adobe.
On the other hand, the college where I used to work would be laughing as they can stop paying for umpteen hundred licenses during the summer closure and just carry on one or two for the teaching staff to skill up on. But does their model allow you to automatically begin and end the subscription, or is it going to be a logistical nightmare in that scenario?
I'm interested to know how they propose I get my files into this creative cloud in the first place. I routinely end up working with monster PSDs and InDesign files which would take a days to upload with my ADSL connection. Even needing to import local media, say 50x 10MB JPGs, would probably take most of the day. According to Openreach they're not planning on changing that at my exchange any time soon. Not a problem as file transfers on my LAN are faster than any FTTC connection could manage anyway.
I hate to sound like an accountant, but even capitalised software should be depreciated over 4 years. Companies can set their own rules in this regard, but the last 3 places I've worked at use this figure. The argument runs along the lines of if you buy a new machine with (say) CAD software, you should capitalise everything: Hardware, software, delivery & installation & training. After 4 years it's probably worthless, so should have been written down to zero by then.
"Upgrading" an existing machine by just putting new software on it doesn't really change the argument - it's still worthless in a few years.
Also, just to be picky, there is a lower threshold before anything is capitalised - usually a few hundred quid. Start8 for a single licence wouldn't be capitalised, but a site licence probably would.
"One colleague has indeed checked with Adobe and been told that if you allow your subscription to drop then you'll not actually be able to open your old files."
No, what they said is the application you've lapse with the subs on will not run up, the PSD files from Photoshop for example, will still be yours and still usable on any other app that can read them. You suggest that no subs paid and they will lock your files up!
Why let the real facts get in the way of a bit of journalistic FUD, eh?
I've been on Creative Cloud for almost a year.
But I never see one of the greatest benefits discussed.
I used to buy InDesign, Dreamweaver and Photoshop.
But now I have access to Illustrator, Premiere Pro, Muse, Edge Animate, After Effects etc. - programmes I'd wanted to own but couldn't justify the cost for occasional use.
That makes it well worthwhile for me.
But I will say Adobe has a lot to learn about Cloud products. Their Installer/updater has got to be one of the worst products ever. The initial download takes days. Upgrades aren't automatic, often crash the computer and cause things like the icons to disappear.
Also the licensing is for a desktop and a laptop, but you can't find out which machines are registered or change it in any sort of managed way. You just open it and suddenly find - "this programme is registered on more than two computers" and have to work out what's going on. You can't run Muse on your Tablet and Photoshop on your desktop, either.
Great idea - poor execution so far. Adobe.
"But now I have access to Illustrator, Premiere Pro, Muse, Edge Animate, After Effects etc. - programmes I'd wanted to own but couldn't justify the cost for occasional use."
The creative cloud is £46.88 a month or £562.56 a year.
There was about 18 months between CS versions previously, so you are effectively buying each new release for £843.84.
How much would it have cost you to get the bits you couldn't previously justify paying for? I might be wrong but I seem to recall that CS5 Master Collection was about £800.....
My companies walked away because of it, company won't justify the spend. (We have multiple users)
And security teams cringe at the firewall being opened for cloud based stuff that breaks our internal rules of allowing personal data to be stored and uploaded to clouds. "Just for marketing..." will spread to. "Well it is letting me do it, so why can't I store this other file."
And of course the added bandwidth that could impact on our internet connection for the business. Given the size of some of our marketing Dept's uploads (2 - 4 GB is normal)
We are looking at GIMP for photoshop stuff, and Dreamweaver alternatives are easily findable.
Perfect moment for the competition to up their game.
unfortunately not. ever since corel got their hands on it psp has become a basic consumer product with a load of silly filters and automations. maybe someone there will finally wake up and see the potential to develop a more professional version to appeal to all the dissatisfied soon to be ex photoshop users.
And clearly nobody at your company was competent enough to bother spending 5 mins reading Adobe's FAQ: their answer to restricting internet access issues is: "Yes, your IT administrators can block users from accessing the online services. The online services and their URLs are listed here.
As an administrator, you will also be able to deploy Creative Cloud desktop applications independent of the cloud-based services using the Creative Cloud Packager. The Creative Cloud Packager is available through Creative Cloud for teams."
As for justifying the spend - if they are happy to take a loss of earnings due to reducing efficiency switching to gimp and other alternatives because they have to spend slightly less than the old upfront purchase and upgrade path then they aren't long for this world anyway.
Adobe has a lot to answer for for leaving us in the lurch by removing the ability to use the product outside of subscription, but this sort of knee-jerk reaction is ill-informed and highly counter-productive.
They should provide Creative Cloud access for free to everyone, to open files. Saving or otherwise making changes to files would be restricted to subscribers. That would solve the "can't open my files" problem, and I think would bolster their potential revenues (because otherwise, people will shy away from them if nothing else for this reason).
Basically, when working with a defence contracting company and using a secure network with an air gap (several completely spearated networks, of which all but the 'internet' network have no physical connection to the internet).
How does that work? We have to to 'phone home' manually?
You can get something like CS3 or CS4 boxed for a good price online 2nd hand.
It's a great way of getting powerful software as a power using amateur.
That, of course only benefits us users... not Adobe.
IF they had a subscription model that did not allow commerical use, then they might be able to argue that we amatuer power users are still covered by the cloud model - but they don't and we ain't.
Just a data point. I read a lot of web comics (during off-work hours of course!) and a lot (5 out of about a dozen) of the artists are switching away from Adobe because of this.
There's a lot of contention on what they're switching to (Manga Studio being a front runner, but definitely not GIMP) but they are all switching away specifically to avoid the subscription bit. One guy remarked that he's used Photoshop ever since he learned to draw a long time ago, and never used anything else, so Adobe is scaring off some core customers here.
This is the last straw for me. We are a small company with 4 x CS 6 licences. We're not exactly power users, but do have daily use of our CS software. We've taken a look at this and can't justify paying for ever more on each machine. We will either go down to one licence of move away from Adobe completely. Yes, I've heard all the arguments about the alternatives, but I'm pretty sure I can talk to my neighbours sub out if necessary if we dump Adobe completely. For the time being, our CS6 will last us for a good couple of years and we’ll see what alternatives there are then.
I guess there are a lot of companies in our position and this move is not going to make us pay more to Adobe; I really hate companies that treat everyone outside the US differently and expects them to pay more for the same product. This uncompetitive pricing should be made illegal.
So Adobe, you thought you could take me for more of my hard earned. Sorry, no more.
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