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Adobe Clouds Software Choice (Adobe Creative Cloud Only Going Forward)

Update: see also Photoshop CC: Adobe responds to reaction.

The landscape has dimmed for those looking for conventional software. As per Adobe Creative Cloud:

In order to accelerate the rate at which we deliver new features and services, and to ensure that we do so with the highest level of quality, we are focusing all of our efforts on Creative Cloud.

Given this, the CC applications will be available only as part of Creative Cloud. We will continue to sell and support Adobe Creative Suite® 6 applications, and will provide bug fixes and security updates as necessary. We do not, however, have any current plans to release new versions of our CS applications.

Weasel speak is well tuned at Adobe (“as necessary” translates to “we just fired that team”). By adding complexity (more features and services), the software will have fewer bugs. Sure, that makes sense.

Reality: If you need it, you’ll have to play ball with Adobe on their terms. So sign up, pay the bill and get on with what you need to do.

And hope like heck that those bugs you need fixed do get fixed (they never were and never are with DreamWeaver, not for seven years running, and DW is my most used and most loathed Adobe product).

In Shouldn’t loyal Adobe customers get a discount moving to Creative Cloud?, John Nack doesn’t trouble himself with saying anything about price after that first honeymoon year. In short, when does the price go up or you get thrown off the train? The lack of clarity on such things is what is especially disturbing about being herded into the corral. In reality, options are few: I have two apps I use, so where does that leave me with the “single app” plan which for two apps is the same cost as the full plan? How much will the full plan cost the 2nd year? I can’t find that information anywhere. Which is not likely to be an oversight.

I just want to run for cover when it’s raining turds, meaning I want regular software applications (one or two only) that I can use anywhere anytime without “phoning home” to prove I’m not a thief. And stuff that doesn’t get any better for 3 years to be paid up in full, once, three years ago. The new model is pay, pay, pay some more. Because if you don’t, you can’t use it. Compare that to a CS6 install that you can keep installed until your computer dies.

And this is true even if nothing improves in any significant way, as has been the case for three years or so. Even if you don’t want and don’t like the “new and improved” version. Or the constant nagging to upgrade those 13 other apps and plugins and services you never use anyway.

The basic problem with Adobe Cloud is that you never own anything: stop paying and you stop using. As opposed to buying a version of software (say CS6) and using it for the next 3/4/5 years. Until the choice to upgrade whenever it seems worth it, like when you finally buy that new computer.

For active users, it hardly matters. But for some, it’s an ultimatum with only two options: pay up or find something else.

Oh, and the software, will never, ever, EVER shut itself off due to a bug in reaching a server, a bad internet connection in the mountains, a hacker attack, or anything like that, right? Right.

Well, it’s better than sprouting bristles and snuffling about for acorns.

Ulysses writes:

Am I the only one who is bothered by this? And does this mean only the SUITE of tools, or does it mean even individual apps like Photoshop and InDesign, which my studio relies upon?

For the small business owner such as my own photography studio, I don't see how the Creative Cloud makes a lot of sense. If I could be wrong here, I'd love to see your take on things in an upcoming article. Thanks, Lloyd.

MPG: Adobe doesn’t mind if you’re bothered by this. This is why you feel so crappy about it.

FF writes:

I'm sure you heard of the new Adobe cloud idea, or how to milk the customers to the max. Their greed has no end.

For me that's the end of using PS.

MPG: Adobe has every right to charge what they wish. And customers have every right to not buy it.

I’m going to keep using my bought and paid for versions of CS6 and DreamWeaver nightmare until I feel the latest Cloud offering is too compelling to resist any longer. Or more likely, given the contempt Apple shows for backward compatibility, I’ll be forced to switch in a year or less.

Andrew R writes:

I’d really appreciate to have your feedback re: the news that Adobe won’t upgrade PS (or better give access to upgrades), meaning you’ll must be a subscriber, etc. For my earthly approach the cloud, etc. is too much.

I imagine you will give me a classical advice like: make your photos as good as you won’t need the PS. That’s a target I’m trying to reach every day, but the digital world I think became dependent of a software. I know that many love Lightroom. Do I have to fall in love with it to survive in the photo digital universe?

MPG: Always make the best photo in the camera you can. Photoshop for me is about mostly basics, not fixing badly-made images. But Photoshop is essential nonetheless.

Samuel O writes:

It seems to me that a significant problem with their new business model is the long-term impact it will have on their creativity and innovation.

Currently, with a new version coming out every eighteen to twenty-four months, Adobe knows they will have to have significant improvements to entice their customer base to upgrade.

Without this incentive, I fear their products will suffer as management will make the easy decision to increase profits by cutting development budgets and not by investing in product enhancements. This is a sad decision for a once proud, and innovative, company.

MPG: It is a fair statement. Renters know that landlords don’t really want to fix up old appliances until they become totally unusable.

Wiliam H writes:

The only Adobe products I use now are PS and, of course, Acrobat. PS is the old CS4.

I DID return to Premiere briefly when I needed to edit video after many year away from vid-editing because Apple completely stuffed Final Cut. Why do these people need to upgrade a great bit of software until it is bloody useless?!

As a policy I do everything possible to AVOID more subscriptions. I also avoid anything that attached me to the damn cloud and opens my system to the WWW. So for me Adobe is now pretty well finished. I'll probably try to pick up a disc version of CS6 ...but maybe I'll just carry on with my CS4.

Frankly, there is other software that replaces PS now. I think Adobe (and all the big guys) should see the world has changed and there are very good alternatives and costs less!. Rather than taking the alienating actions there ARE taking, they should be doing whatever they can to win friends back.

MPG: I strongly recommend upgrading to Photoshop CS6.

Clay H writes

Like you, I am dismayed by Adobe's take it or leave it attitude toward their cloud services. I use several computers for my business, and right now have one Cloud license and one permanent license for CS6.

The main issue is one that you address, namely that one will, in effect, be forced to upgrade eventually if one gets new digital cameras. I am sure they will follow past practice and give us only one more iteration for Adobe Camera Raw before making it necessary to move to the CC licensing model to access the raw files from yet-to-be-released cameras.

I think the only possibly viable workflow may be to keep CS6 as a permanent license, and then use the ACR engine embedded in the Adobe Lightroom as a conduit for rendering RAW images for further processing. While workable, this path is less than ideal. I wonder if Adobe software has grown so ubiquitous and complicated that they believe that there is not any really viable challenger that can unseat them. History has proven that this attitude may work for a while, but eventually some challengers will arise that will cause a mass defection of customers. Ask GM about this!

MPG: Yes, the Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) decision is a punch in the gut: I’ve begun to depend on it for my conversion of photos, and I’m not a Lightroom user, hence I’ll have no choice but to use Creative Cloud if only for ACR.

Martin D writes:

The Adobe group manager appeared on a tedious and unwatchable podcast of the insufferable Scott Kelby to discuss how Adobe plans to make CC more attractive to photographers. (Adobe does seem to recognize that CC presents value to video producers and graphic designers, but does not present much value to photographers.)

In a nutshell, some unspecified time in the future, Adobe plans to roll out Lightroom 5’s new proxy system in “the cloud” and release new mobile apps so that you can transparently access your photos (or proxies of them) from anywhere at any time (if you have internet service).

While that's all very nice, it has relatively little to do with essential professional workflow and does nothing for anybody right now.

It looks to me like the best option for most pure photographers is to just rent Photoshop CC and maintain their Lightroom license (if applicable).

MPG: Needing to use Adobe Camera Raw for every new camera, I have little choice but to get on the 'Cloud' bandwagon sometime later this year. There are no realistic alternatives for what I do; no other raw converter is as consistent and broad as ACR (and I am not a Lightroom user nor do I wish to become one as it’s a waste of time for what I need to do— I need Photoshop and layers).

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