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.