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Unless you haven’t been on your computer at all in the last 24-48 hours, you have probably heard by now that Adobe announced an end to their Creative Suite of products and will now be moving to a subscription only based service. This news was not received well in the photography community on Monday as photographers flocked to social media sites to bash Adobe and voice their opinions. Here are some facts about Adobe’s new move…
Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended used to cost $999. On average, Adobe seemed to be on an 18 (some odd) month product cycle between CS updates. This means that if you divide $999 by 18 months you come out with $55.50 per month.
Going forward (and this has been an option ever since the Creative Cloud became available) you’ll have the option of buying an annual subscription to Photoshop alone for $19.99/month or you can have access to the entire lineup of Adobe products (formerly known as the Creative Suite) for $49.99/month. And as a bonus, if you are a CS3/CS4/CS5/CS6 customer, you’ll get the entire suite of products for $29.99/month for the first year. Adobe used to have an option for if you just wanted to pay month to month without an ‘annual agreement’ but that seems to be gone now. I believe that was $29.99 a month. Now you have to make an annual agreement but it’s unclear at this point what that entails.
So let’s see if this is more expensive, less expensive or a wash. Well, as you’ve already read above, if you used to be a customer who upgraded with each update (ie: always upgraded from CS4 to CS5 to CS6) then you will save money now. You won’t have to shell out a fat stack of Benjamin’s any longer at your local software store. If you pay just the $19.99 a month on an annual agreement plan, you will pay $359.82 every 18 months. That’s a savings of $640.17 according to my calculator. Am I missing something? That’s a savings of 64%…
The entire creative suite (Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, Premier Pro, Muse and more) used to cost $2599.99. Divide that by 18 months (again, 18 months is the average amount of time between previous versions of CS) and you get $144.44 a month. Compare that to the new $49.99 a month and you have a $94.45/month savings or (again) about 65% less.
Now, I was never much of a math wiz in school but I’m pretty sure I didn’t screw any of that up.
Did Adobe just decrease their pricing by 65%? It sure seems that way to me. At least if you’re going off an average 18-month product cycle. You do have to take into account that there will be no more Creative Suite. That means Adobe will no longer come out with NEW versions of Photoshop. There won’t be a CS7. They will only add features to Photoshop that will become available the next time you open up Photoshop.
What About Those Who Didn’t Buy Every New Version?
That’s a great point. At $19.99 a month, it would take 50 months to come out to $999.99 (the cost of the old Photoshop CS6 Extended version). That’s just over 4 years. That’s just under 3 18-month product cycles. Call it two. That means that for those who are still using Photoshop CS4 and haven’t updated to CS6; they are still paying the same amount in the long run but are now getting the advantage of having the latest version of the software, with effortless updates as well as access to Adobe’s new Behance community.
I’ll admit…when I heard about all this on Monday I was pissed. I even blogged about it. I’m the kind of guy who likes to save up for things I want and pay cash for them, rather than throw it on a credit card and make payments. I don’t have a car payment. I would never lease a car. So the idea of basically leasing Photoshop on a month-to-month basis doesn’t make me particularly happy. The issue for a lot of people is that the consumer, the customer, no longer has a choice. There are some people out there who just want to buy a product and not worry about their bank account getting drafted every month. It’s one thing to plan for automatic drafts like your gas or electricity, your cable or your car payment. It’s another when you start adding stuff like software programs. It’s just one more thing that could go through at just the wrong time and cause someone to overdraft their account. People like having a choice. With the new system you are giving up your right to actually OWN a product.
Some people are also worried that since Adobe will have reliable/consistent income now with subscriptions that they will lose their competitive edge. They used to have to wow us all with each CS update. New features, new tools, new interface. They had to make us WANT it so we would flock to their website and stores to buy the new programs. If they get us all to sign up for these plans where they already have us, will they stop trying so hard to impress us? Who knows? Will that open the door to some relevant competitors? Who knows? Time will tell.
To be perfectly honest, I’m completely on board with getting rid of the physical copies of Photoshop and all the other Adobe products. When I buy a program like onOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite, I don’t get anything shipped to my house. I get a license code emailed to me that I plug in once the software is downloaded. Easy peasy. What I think Adobe should do is just make an option available to us where we can rent the software for a full year or even multiple years at a time. And give us a discount for paying in advance. That way it’s pretty much just like it was before. Those of us who prefer this method won’t feel like we are renting a software program. It will be the same as owning it except we won’t have a disk sitting in the bottom of our junk drawer. This, at least to me, sounds very reasonable.
So what do you all think? This has been a very hot topic for the past day or so and everybody has different views. Let me know in the comments below and be sure to follow me on Twitter where you can get in touch as well.