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Imprecision on Adobe Cloud

Check out the Adobe Creative Cloud: Questions answered.

Q: What happens if I subscribe to Creative Cloud and create an amazing design using Adobe Illustrator CS6 and then cancel my membership. What happens to the file?

A: If you saved your work to your computer, then your files will already be on your desktop, and you will have uninterrupted access to them.

DIGLLOYD: What does “uninterrupted access” mean, exactly?

Translation: you have the files, but some of them will be unusable on your computer, since your Adobe Apps won’t run, since you did not renew them. That is “uninterrupted access”. Sort of like a TV with no electricity. This is VERY different from owning CS5 of CS6 which as long as it is installed, will run forever. Where is the free read-only version? If there is in fact a read-only version, why isn’t this stated and guaranteed? Certainly PDF can be read with a free Adobe Reader, but not native Illustrator files or PSD or similar.

The fact that the person answering these questions thinks files are stored on the desktop is a small thing and not so small— details matter, and important details are left imprecise in the Adobe Q/A series.

The issue as I see it: you pay for Adobe Cloud (possibly) for years. But it’s like the Roach Motel— once checked in you can’t check out, or you will not be able to access many of the file types (Illustrator, PSD/PSB, others). And you get no “rental credit” should you want the applications. But if you *buy* the apps, you can run them forever, albeit only the version you bought.

So let’s try the answer in plain English, which is what prospective buyers might want to know. Here is one suggested answer, which no doubt could be improved further:

If you discontinue your Adobe Cloud subscription, files saved on your computer remain there. Adobe applications will no longer function, and the subscription fees already paid over time do not entitle you to any further use of the applications, even if you paid those fees for years.

Certain file types such as PDF and HTML will be accessible, but some file types will no longer be able to be opened or viewed unless/until transferred to a computer which has the Adobe applications needed to open/view/print them and/or opened with alternative software. Adobe does not provide a free “reader” application for some types of Adobe files and does not recommend alternative software.

Something like that would be a lot more straightfoward to those wondering about the implications, and perhaps not really understanding the unhelpful official answer given. The policy is what it is, but lay it out precisely, so users don’t have to guess at all the implications.


Here’s another area that concerns me, the sporadic internet requirement:

Q: Do Creative Cloud members need to be connected to the Internet to use the products?

A: No. Members need an Internet connection to download the desktop tools to their computer. They do not need to be online to use the products. Of course, an Internet connection is required at times to make sure their software is up-to-date and to verify their membership is active (paid for).

DIGLLOYD: It’s the “an Internet connection is required at times” part that bothers me. I don’t use my laptop much, then I go on a trip to the mountains, and I have no internet, and now I can’t run my Adobe apps because it’s time to verify my usage and the apps refuse to run. If that is not the case, Adobe should state what is the case. Will I be locked out at an inconvenient time? What if it’s a different laptop, will it then refuse to run because the laptop I left at home is the licensed one?

The imprecise Adobe responses make me suspicious of the reality of the cloud membership. Adobe’s copy protection already disabled my work for a week on one trip, so this was no laughing matter. I want precise, honest answers, not generalities and evasivenss. What other point is there to a Q&A?

Now, who can spell “incompetent”, class?

Now who would possibly want to run CS5 along with CS6 (CS6 is 64-bit only, killing off any “legacy” plugins).

You can’t make this stuff up.

Reader comments

Michae R writes:

Couldn't agree with more about the potential Achilles heel of Creative Cloud - the license checking scheme. I've already begun to see evidence that the Adobe implementation is flawed. Unexpected checks well within the initial 30-day window. Poorly worded dialog boxes that completely confuse the issue of "trial" software and authentication. Reboot requirement dialogs.

In the process of trying to get answers from Adobe I discovered that I have two licenses for CC; the result of a buggy ecommerce signup that sent no confirmation the first time in what appeared to be an aborted transaction. Try cancelling one of the registrations when the CC suite does not appear to indicate which of the licenses it is authenticating against.

Add to that the normal abysmal tech support from India, completely unprepared for complex (first-time issues) or anything that requires a nuanced understanding of how the Adobe software actually works.

With my Rêve Grand Tour project just around the corner I'm anticipating exactly the travel scenario you fear. Spotty connectivity in France and being locked out of the apps at a crucial time on deadline. Since my CC pricing is based on a twelve-month subscription paid monthly, I would much prefer that they charge me for the full year... do one license check and go away till 2013. How many years (decades) of purchasing and using thousands of dollars of Adobe software have to pass before you become "trusted"?

I shudder to think of how many hours professionals waste chasing these poorly coded applications around the block in search of promised productivity, far too many in my case.

DIGLLOYD: This go-roundm I’ll be buying the Adobe Photoshop CS6 and DreamWeaver CS6 upgrades (though it stretches credulity to call DW CS6 an upgrade, a program in which bugs are never, ever fixed). I don’t feel like being a guinea pig.

Olivier writes:

Good point. And I experience a lot of issues with my CC subscription. More than one month after subscribing and still not able to license correctly. Need to be cautious on investing on that tech!!
On adobe forum : View the full discussion

DIGLLOYD: it is the travel aspect that concerns me (personally) the most. A licensing scheme (appropriate word) has to be 100% reliable, and also forgiving, not shutting down the user when it might be difficult or impossible to get to the internet, or even a phone— I often travel where both are lacking.

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