Adobe Kills Creative Suite, Moves to Creative Cloud
May 6, 2013 – by Per Christensson
Adobe hopes you will never buy their professional software again. Beginning today, the company wants you to rent their software for a monthly fee.
Attendees at Adobe's MAX conference were probably expecting the company to introduce Creative Suite 7 (CS7) this morning. Instead, Adobe announced a move from Creative Suite (CS) to Creative Cloud (CC). Unlike Creative Suite, Creative Cloud products can only be used on a subscription basis. You can no longer buy the software.
I understand the user benefits of the software subscription model. You always have access to the latest version and you get incremental feature updates rather than waiting for major version releases. But that's where the benefits end, at least for the user. Adobe, on the other hand, benefits by generating more steady cash flow (due to steady monthly subscriptions), getting people to overbuy (spending extra a software programs they don't need), and locking users into an endless upgrade cycle.
The negatives of the subscription model far outweigh the positives for users. First of all, the software costs more. Regardless of Adobe's claims that Creative Cloud makes the software more accessible for more users, most people will end up paying more overall. A CC subscription costs $49.99 per month with a mandatory one-year subscription. That is about $600, which is far more than the $375 upgrade cost for the last Creative Suite upgrade. Sure, you get more software programs with CC, but you probably don't need all of them or even half of them. The other option is to pay $19.99/mo for individual Adobe programs, but that is an even worse value.
The subscription model is bad for users because you don't know when – or if – software updates will happen. Still, you have to keep paying the monthly fee regardless. Based on Adobe's recent track record, I wouldn't hold my breath for any substantial CC updates in the near future. In the past, you could skip a software release or two if you didn't need it. Now, Adobe is no longer giving you a choice.
As frustrated as I am with Adobe's decision, I am not surprised. Adobe is no longer the company it used to be. It has transformed from a creative group of software developers to an insipid corporate machine. Worst of all, the quality of Adobe's software has been declining for years. Just read my review of Dreamweaver CS6 to see what I mean. Now, Adobe with its unbridled arrogance, has decided that users can no longer own their software. They want captive tenants who pay them rent each month.
I don't mind Adobe offering Creative Cloud as an option. For some businesses, I think it even makes sense. But forcing every user to buy a monthly subscription is outlandish. Adobe already had two strikes in my book. This latest move is strike three. It's time to find some new software.