June 17, 2013

Adobe Exploring Less Expensive Subscription Options for Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative CloudAdobe CC, the new Creative Cloud only suite that is replacing CS6, should be launching at some point tonight. But if you're one of the many who haven't been happy with the new approach, or you'd like to play the wait-and-see game, there might be some other options down the road, especially for those people who would like indefinite access to all of their files even if they are no longer subscribing to CC.

There has been a rather large outcry about the fact that you lose all access if you stop subscribing to CC. While you could certainly take your files to another computer with the suite installed (or just subscribe for another month if you need access to old files), having access is certainly better than not having access. Adobe has been sending out surveys asking users about pricing options, which might also include a copy of CS6 to keep. Here's Photo Rumors on that:

The company recently sent out a survey to a selected users about the Creative Cloud, specifically about a new pricing structure of $9.99 for Photoshop or $29.99 for the entire suite on a 3 years contract which includes a permanent copy of CS6 after 3 years and a promise to continually update CS6 to support future file and camera types.

That last part might not be the relief that many wanted, but if Adobe chose to offer a permanent copy of CS6 and continually updated file type support, I think it would satisfy the needs of most users who would be worried about not having access to their work. It will be interesting to see how they update CC, since they don't actually need to name new versions anymore. The distinctions between different versions of the programs could be far less specific and more fluid, which would mean that CS6 could be the last full version that it makes sense for Adobe to offer as a standalone suite.

I think the only other way Adobe could make people happy and not necessarily compromise too much on their CC strategy is by offering users the option to continue using the programs after a 3 year subscription, but if they want to update their software, they have to purchase another three-year agreement.

Aharon Rabinowitz, who has worked extensively with Red Giant and uses Adobe software quite a bit, mentioned in a recent post that Adobe is looking at all options and wants feedback from users about what might work best for them given the current CC restrictions (which could include the ability to render out old work but not save new changes). He also explained part of the reason Adobe has decided to go all CC in the first place:

One thing that was really surprising was learning the following: Under American corporate law, as a publicly traded company, Adobe is forbidden from giving away free upgrades. By law, a publicly traded corporation has one single responsibility: to look after their shareholders. Giving away anything for free could legally represent a serious conflict of that directive. So we’re clear – this is not Adobe’s choice – this is American corporate law. The basis for this can be found in THIS ARTICLE.  I won’t lie – it’s hard to read. Without help I had trouble understanding what it all meant. And it gets worse HERE.

And later:

The result of this has been that once Adobe releases a product, they have to wait until the next version of the software – a year or more – to add new, significant features. This is true even if the work has already been completed, and said features are ready to go eight or nine months before that next major release.

Creative Cloud, a subscription model, with a perpetual payment setup, gets around this rule. Under Subscription, Adobe can give away as many updates and upgrades as they want. And because of this the After Effects team is now freed up to have 2 to 3 updates a year for after effects.

It certainly paints Adobe in a slightly different light, though it's unclear why they wouldn't make a detail like this more obvious in their communications with customers. We'll see how this plays out over the coming months, but if you've already ordered CC, you should be able to download it sometime soon.

What do you think could be a good compromise between Adobe and users?

Links:

[via Photo Rumors]

Your Comment

71 Comments

If Adobe doesn't want to ship physical copies of their software anymore, then what I want is Apple Store-style buying and pricing a la carte. I have no use for half the Creative Suite so let me choose what I want, let me download it, keep it until it doesn't work anymore or upgrade it when and if I choose. The current subscription model restricts choice. Hopefully Adobe realizes this and make some changes. Not expecting any miracles, though.

June 17, 2013

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DC Reels

Agreed! I don't even use half of that stuff so just let me pic what I want to pay for, price it accordingly and let me own it after maybe 3 years and just charge a small fee for major upgrades(not UPDATES). I think Apple has given Adobe too much power when they "revamped" FCP.

June 17, 2013

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Yeah, I like that idea. The Apple strategy of offering apps a-la-carte makes a lot more sense.

June 20, 2013

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Ryan

I think $29/mo. with a 3 year contract and a copy at the end is a good deal.

June 17, 2013

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Jeff

I think so too. That's not too bad. Otherwise I am not a fan of the subscription model.

June 17, 2013

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Agreed: $29/month for Production Premium is palatable. I MIGHT be persuaded to pay for "All You Can Eat" for $39/month. Whatever happens, I think they will be forced to have a tiered pricing structure.

June 17, 2013

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Ed Hecht

I think three years feels a little long and intimidating. A lot of software can be released in three years, and who knows where Adobe and the Creative Cloud might be in 2016.

Not to say that the company will be bankrupt - they've been around for ages - but Photoshop has picked up more competition in the past few years than before.

I'm a hobbyist who's been OK with the one-year subscription.

June 18, 2013

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No matter what other rational Adobe gives for going subscription based, the biggest reason, by far, is to reduce piracy... and I can't blame them for that. Photoshop is probably one of the most pirated programs in the world.

June 17, 2013

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vanlazarus

I disagree, I have CC and the programs work exactly the same in regard to piracy, so the usual hacks will probably be just as easy to implement. All the Adobe programs still connect to a central licensing system, it's just the specific way that licensing system works that's different.

I personally believe Adobe because they have been very aggressive in the last couple of years in developing new technology, and it makes sense that they want more freedom to role updates out to stay competitive.

June 17, 2013

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Gabe

I don't condone piracy.

That being said, I pirated a version of Photoshop 3.0 from a high school lab many moons ago. I took it home, learned it, and have given Adobe many thousands of dollars since.

Does Adobe want their software pirated? No. But is that their number one priority? probably not.

BTW, I want Freehand back. Bastards.

June 18, 2013

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steve

The old Microsoft Mantra was "we'd rather have people pirate Office and get into the habit of relying on it, than buy other software and NOT need it." Then when they ruled the world, they stopped makingOffice better and just started moving things around in the menus to make it seem different. Lipstick on a pig.

June 21, 2013

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Zan Shin

All I know is they better fix warp stabilizer and the dreaded AVCHD bug.

June 17, 2013

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Anthony Marino

Just got bit by the AVCHD bug on my latest project. Had to spend two days transcoding MTS files to an intermediate. Really hoping this one gets fixed soon.

June 17, 2013

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Same here!

June 17, 2013

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rishaar

What is the AVCHD bug? Is it only in CS6?

June 18, 2013

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Copeland

I'm highly skeptical of the claim that American companies are barred from giving away free upgrades. I'm not a lawyer and I don't know the ins and outs of this, but think about all the free upgrades Apple has released for Final Cut Pro X. Major features were added. And that's just one out of hundreds of examples that we could come up with ranging across many software companies.

June 17, 2013

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Ben

Major features like a 3d camera tracker or a lite version of Cinema 4D?

June 17, 2013

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Gabe

Or the fact that iOS is always a free upgrade.

Also, this is why I think the stock market ruins business for the consumer, "By law, a publicly traded corporation has one single responsibility: to look after their shareholders".

That's BS, how about the corporation has a responsibility to take care of the customer that is buying their product. If the stock market didn't exist, I think the products we would get would be so much better, but right now, shareholder profit is all that anyone cares about. Sucks.

June 17, 2013

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Julian

You're right Ben. That's total baloney. Of course publicly traded companies must always try to maximize shareholder's value. But giving away free upgrades to create customer loyalty is well within their prerogative - and publicly traded companies give away free stuff all the time. That's modern marketing. Aharon is kind of talking out of his ar*s%.

June 18, 2013

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steve

Actually, it is true. It's a law called Sarbannes-Oxley that messes things up (blame Enron). I've worked at other software companies (yes, big ones that make NLEs) that are frustrated by the very same thing. Before I got into software, I wasn't aware of it. Apple is able to get around it by deferring revenue. See this article for an explanation: http://bit.ly/11OeGAF

June 19, 2013

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If Adobe wants to get around this provision in law (if it's really as mandatory as they say), they can include a condition such as "The purchase price includes all updates yet to be released for the lift of the product."

I'm skeptical that the law mandates that they do this, though: they state explicitly that the software is licensed, not sold. If you've bought a license to Creative Suite, that can (indeed, should) include all updates to that suite.

June 21, 2013

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I want to subscribe but the price in Europe is much more expensive then in the states and on principle I won't pay more when there's no good reason. Now I'm thinking that new mac pro and learn fcpx

June 17, 2013

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petrr

I've been messing around with lightworks a little bit (http://www.lwks.com). I haven't done a paid job on it yet. It is a little bit of a learning curve, if you are coming from FCP 7 or Premiere Pro.

Good editing isn't platform dependent (but quality tools sure help).

Windows only. I think Linux is in beta, and a mac version is in alpha.

I use Adobe Products at work, but have been trying use as much free software as a kind of experiment (i.e. gimp, lightworks, openoffice, etc.)

June 18, 2013

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steve

Yep, works out to almost $70/month in my currency, far too high

June 18, 2013

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MikeJ

Wow, I'd love the 3-year $29/mo. option! That's only $360 per year!

June 17, 2013

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Do you have to load your source files to the cloud in order for the Premiere projects to work? Wouldn't that take forever? Or do you only have to load it up in order to take advantage of the tam aspect of editing a project??

Has anyone heard about the Adobe Anywhere for Video? Nobody at Adobe seems to have even thought it's on there site!

June 17, 2013

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Dan Herrick

You don't have to put anything in the cloud if you don't want. The physical programs and media all sit on your hard drive unless you want to upload it.

June 17, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Adobe Anywhere requires servers and is only meant for high end facilities and broadcasting. The cloud works like dropbox and does not actually have any direct functionality with the programs other than updating the programs.

June 18, 2013

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If that his the law, why can Apple update FCPX so many times in the past few years adding many substantial features?

June 17, 2013

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Deferred revenue. More here: http://bit.ly/11OeGAF

June 19, 2013

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"....and a promise to continually update CS6 to support future file and camera types." what does this exactly mean?? 30$ (i hope 22€ in spain).. is a good deal for 3 years and have a copy ..

June 17, 2013

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Jesuan

It's an interesting pricing model. The $29/mo I'd happily commit to, but for us UK users it's currently pricing at £46.88 (just over $74) which seems completely unfair and hard to justify when compared to the US pricing.

June 17, 2013

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DT Barr

Yea, it's a similar disparity with Euro as well. I'm currently paying €60 or thereabouts. I think the way they justified it is that the cost of local implementation offsets the initial price. For example, in Australia, wages are significantly higher which means that they need to offset that additional cost of maintaining the service by charging a larger premium for it.

June 17, 2013

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Andreas Kopriva

It's frustrating isn't it! Does it cost that much more for servers/bandwidth etc in the UK? I doubt it.

Still I've been a CC subscriber for almost a year now and will have paid about £550 pound for the whole year - not bad considering I use the main adobe software line up pretty much every day,

June 17, 2013

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Ed

If Adobe could level european and american prices, there will be no issues at all.
But, if they keep the price difference, they will probably loose all the advantage they gained over Apple.

June 17, 2013

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Wonderful news! I switched from Apple/FCP X to Adobe because of Creative Cloud. I couldn't afford Avid, hated FCP X and would have had to settle for a lower grade NLE if it weren't for this offering. The biggest benefit for me is I'm in academics. $20 a month is a no-brainer.

June 17, 2013

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Thanks for linking Aharon's post. I was so angry at Adobe but no longer.

June 17, 2013

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Archie

Well, in response to Adobe's move, I tried out Edius Pro and couldn't be happier. What a great program -- solid, fast, and well thought out.

June 17, 2013

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Steve

If all you are doing is editing then Edius is a great program. I stopped using it back at v3 to switch to Adobe but I'm thinking of relearning it now to teach at college. If I'm not mistaken it actually has 3 versions Express, Neo and Pro and they ALL work the same with the only difference being features/codec support. That means I can teach a complete beginner class and they can get Express for around $60. Because the interface is identical they can always step up later to Neo for $200 or Pro for $600.

The other option Im looking at for teaching is Vegas. Version 12 seems to have really come of age and is a steal at around $340 or the suite for $690 which makes Edius look a tad overpriced considering its 'just' an editor. Again you can get the entry level Movie Studio suite for $60 which appears to handle just like Vegas.

From a training perspective this leaves Adobe out in the cold. They only offer Premiere elements at the over inflated price of $90 and while its good for the beginner, handles nothing like Prem Pro. So not only is their no progressive path with Adobe, the price gap if you do step up to Pro is huge at a minimum of $240 per year EVERY SINGLE YEAR!!!

I'm heavily invested in After Effects and Photoshop so for me the suite monthly rental makes good sense. Its just a pity I cant teach what I know and love to students as I don't believe the value proposition exists currently.

June 17, 2013

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Edius has, in my opinion, very good color correction as well in version 6. Also, there's a deep student/teacher discount available.

June 18, 2013

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Steve

Adobe should offer the 'Cloud' option for those who want it, and a downloadable "yearly" upgrade for those of us who'd rather have a choice... they can lower the price as much as they like to hook us in, but they can also raise it as well sighting some other nonsense about US corporate law etc. C'mon Adobe... how about offering your dedicated customers a choice of how we give you our money - the only choice they've given us is "to use Adobe or not use Adobe" - how is that a good business model? I'm hoping this backfires big style!

June 17, 2013

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Mark TS

I agree, have a downloadable yearly upgrade or a full version upgrade every two years as they did before. And this idea of losing your ability to open your files except in cs6 is bogus. The reasons they give regarding US corporate law don't ring true. The real reason in making more money and getting out of the small artist market.

June 17, 2013

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Patrick M

well if you subscribe to CC you download all the software to your computer, you use it offline if you wish...you only need a connection every 30 days to confirm your subscription. The problem is when you stop paying you are not able to use the software anymore...so the cloud is not so cloud XD.

June 18, 2013

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Jesuan

That sounds a lot like the quote from Henry Ford at the beginning of the auto era. He said that customers 'could have any color [Ford automobile] they wanted, as long as it is black.'

June 18, 2013

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J.Greene

that's exactly what it is :)

June 18, 2013

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Jesuan

I was reading many of the comments and going, "Yeah, exactly!", in my head. Then I suddenly realized.....we are a complete pain in the ass sector to service. My overall feelings haven't changed, but from a business perspective, we complain a ton and don't actually bring in that much revenue for all our complaining.

I still agree with a ton of view points that have been mentioned, but we kinda suck at being right. If anybody talked to me the way we talk about Adobe, Apple, Avid, etc., I'd be liable to watch them burn to death without batting an eyelash.

I think we're still right about many things, but feel like many companies have to spend a ton of time being civil to a non-civil audience. That's wasted energy no matter how you look at it.

I don't have any brilliant solutions, but urge people to focus a bit on not just the message, but the tone we deliver it in.....not a potshot at anyone in particular, but an overall impression that just struck me from reading up about this issue and others.

June 17, 2013

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All software companies have to deal with angry customers. Go to any customer service center and listen to the experiences of the worker there. nuff said.

June 17, 2013

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Patrick M

Maybe, that's true, but it doesn't mean we can't be the first to improve the quality of our dialogue. Heck, due to are small relative size, it might be better for us long term to buck that trend.

June 18, 2013

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That means about 1100 after 3 years of the subscription (30 dollars a month after 3 years) Doesn't sound like a bad idea?

June 18, 2013

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Sounds like a really bad idea to me. I did Photoshop upgrades every couple of years so, a 3 year run for me would average out to the price of 1 and a half upgrade fees.

June 18, 2013

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dixter

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