Adobe In the Cloud

Today at the Adobe MAX conference Adobe made a very big announcement: Boxed products are dead, as are large versioned releases.

The internet freaked out.

Some even want to petition Adobe to change their stance

I can only assume that these people don’t understand the model? Now, instead of US$1,700-2,400 for various Adobe Creative Suite packages you pay $49/mth. $600 a year. For almost everything Adobe makes.

If you already own an Adobe CS product from CS3 onward then it’s even cheaper for you – only US$29/mth for the first year.

For anyone who makes money with their Adobe products this shouldn’t be a big deal, a hour or two of work in a month and you’ve covered your cost. You don’t need to worry about a big expense the next time Adobe release a new version.

Some are complaining about Adobe’s ability to revoke app access – that’s true in a sense, but it’s unlikely. Surely if Adobe, for some reason, decided to stop their Cloud activation services then smart people would work around it. Similarly and always-on internet connection is not required – the license tool verifies access once a month. And software will continue to work for 180 days which offline. 

Some are also worried about the security of their data. While Creative Cloud does include some cloud storage features, they are entirely optional. Everything you do on your computer can (and by default, will) stay on your computer. Just like always.

The Creative Cloud software is exactly the same software you currently use. You can log in to the cloud site and download any app you want. What’s more you can have the applications installed on as many computers as you want, and activated on any two concurrently.

The biggest advantage for us as creative professionals though is in terms of access to new features. All (well, most) of the Adobe products are developed by different teams, all with different challenges and roadmaps, but once every year or so they had to all lock off a new version and release them all together. Some applications probably didn’t get to include everything they wanted, while others were probably waiting for the release so they could finally get into our hands.

That’s no longer an issue – the applications are no longer locked into a specific release cycle and they are certainly no longer tied to one another for their release schedule. If changes in Photoshop require a year to complete, but new features in After Effects can be rolled out in just a few months then we’ll get the After Effects changes while the Photoshop team keeps working on their stuff.

This is a reflection of a concept in software development called agile development. It focuses on frequent releases of feature improvements rather than infrequent monolithic updates. It means we get new stuff quicker and the developers get better feedback on usage and direction as they go. We as the users benefit by getting a product that adapts to our needs quicker and more efficiently.

I’ve been using Adobe Creative Cloud for over a year and I can’t recommend it strongly enough. It lowers the cost the end users, delivers a much more flexible solution.

Walter Biscardi has also taken the time to sort out a few misconceptions about Creative Cloud.


  • Craig

    I understand the model, the problem is that I’m not a professional, just a hobbyist photographer. I can’t afford the new model. The “cloud” model also does not work for any photographer that travels and wants to edit when they do not have Internet access.

    • cls

      Your statement that “The “cloud” model also does not work for any photographer that travels and wants to edit when they do not have Internet access.” – Not true. I’ve been a CC user for 6 months and I travel all the time. ALL files, settings, applications are installed locally. It is *optional* to use cloud storage or services. Note that this was for CS apps. Lr is part of CC, but it’s also sold in Apple app store and straight up retail – I use that for most of my photography but I still subscribed to get Ps and Illustrator. I used to upgrade every 2-3 years for the Design suite and this is still better (and I’m a ‘hobby’ guy too). I’ve gotten to learn some skills trying Premiere and such because I can.

  • CMI_snyder

    Let me start off by saying that I fully understand how the Adobe Creative Cloud works. So, please don’t discount my thoughts by assuming that anyone disagreeing with Adobe’s new “upgrade” model must not fully understand the Creative Cloud. No FAQs are needed.
    I see a lot of people comparing the new price structure to what it would cost to buy the Master Suite at $2,600 (Price at Adobe, man that was buried). Guess what? I’m not a new customer. I have been upgrading my software for years and I have been a loyal customer since Premiere 6.0. Yup, I pulled a lot of hair out back then. I have paid my dues to entering the suite. I don’t want to pay more so that others can step into the suite at a more affordable rate. Without the loyal customers from years past, there wouldn’t be a Creative Cloud.
    I am fully aware of the cost options out there. I don’t use a single program, so that’s out. I don’t need or want all the programs in the Creative Cloud. I’m not a print or web person. I want only the applications that have been traditionally offered in the Production Suite. I’m not going to magically start doing web design because I have access to the programs. I don’t venture into web and print design because it’s a lack of interest, not a lack of accessibility. It’s like going to the grocery store to buy milk and eggs and being told that I have to fill the cart before I can check out…
    At a price tag of $600 a year, the new cost is substantially higher than the historic price of $375.00. Yes, Adobe is offering a one year reduction for existing customers, but that is extremely short sited. I had planned on using Adobe software for years to come, but paying $50 a month for years to come does not sound appealing. Yes, there is the leasing a car analogy. Most people have the option to buy at the end of a leasing period.
    I biggest issue that I have with the Creative Cloud is that once I create projects with the new versions of software, I will always need CC to open my projects. Adobe is banking on the very idea. Sure, I could stop renting the CC and then pay $50 to open my projects a later time, but does that really make sense. I have to pay to open a project that I already paid to create? That seems counterintuitive to me.
    The big benefit of going to the cloud is more updates! Really? People are going to buy that? I guess if they are going to buy CC they will buy that as well. I documented a bug in PPRO back in July, 2012 (view it here) and it still has not been fixed. The lack of a fix isn’t related to perpetual licenses. If CS6 was cloud only the problem would be fixed by now? I doubt it. Bug fixes are just as easy to distribute for CC members as it is for perpetual license holders. Wait until people go to CC and pay a monthly fee to see bugs not getting fixed…great value.
    If I were a carpenter, I wouldn’t rent a hammer. I may rent a piece of specialty equipment for a specific job, but I would buy the tools that I use every day. Adobe software is awesome no doubt. However, their programs fall in the everyday use category that I want to buy. I want to buy a new hammer when I feel that I need one. I don’t want to pay each month to swing the same hammer. Luckily, software is just a tool. Creativity doesn’t come from the cloud, it comes from people. I own CS6, and I will be able to express my ideas with the tools that I have for a long time.
    What do I think Adobe should do? What would make me happy? One would be to keep both offerings. Perpetual licenses and CC. If the cloud is so great, let those that want to go that route have it. Don’t neglect the customers that have been loyal for years. Now, I understand that Adobe wants a steadier stream of revenue instead of the ebb and flow based around releases…so what about some tweaks to the CC model? I would like to see a grandfathered price for those that have been long time customers. Lock me in at $30 a month and I may change my tune. Or, what about an option to buy a perpetual license every few years that I am a member of the cloud? The option to buy a perpetual license on occasion would give me milestones that I knew that I could always fall back on.