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Adobe Creative Cloud: The Main Point

The cost is not the issue.

Access to your own files is the issue, even forgetting the Cloud.

My beef with Adobe Cloud is quite simple: when I stop paying, I don’t just lose access to the software, I lose access to my files. Because the software refuses to run any longer. So I cannot open the files. So they are just clods of dirt on my drive. So you have to keep paying, no matter what.

This simple fact is an ugly one: if you have thousands of PSD files or Illustrator files and so on, consider this: with the old approach you could at least open those files so long as the last version you used was still installed and operational. So usually this meant at least a few years breathing room, at least barring computer calamity.

With the Cloud approach, if you stop paying, your files become inert bits. Because the software will not even run. (Don’t get me started on “compatible” software that can open these files with dismal results in general). This is why a buy-out option which effectively offers the conventional installed-software-works-forever approach is the only fair thing (and yes, this could be an extra charge to do so in line with past pricing and with due credit for past Adobe Cloud rental history).

But far worse (and presumably rare), Adobe reserves the right to blacklist you, and refuse you service entirely. In other words, Adobe reserves the right to effectively deny you access not just to Adobe software, but the very right to your own work, your own data (because you can’t use the software at all). This is a viciously unfair change from the conventional model; in that model you could at least buy (license) the boxed software anywhere and install it. Whether Adobe would do this is irrelevant, the point is that the license agreement allows it. Because every card in the Adobe Cloud licensing deck is stacked for Adobe and against customers. There should be a guarantee that while Cloud services could be denied (due to abuse, and not arbitrary), there can be no denial of the right to pay for and use the software itself, as this is a local operation on one’s own computer.

Overseas, this problem is worse than here in the USA: what about various governments asking Adobe to shut off users, perhaps because they don’t like the images being posted? This is not far-fetched, it is a reality in some countries that tightly control online activity. What would Adobe do?

Real world

I regularly hear from readers at small shops and service bureaus and just regular users; to them, the Mac is a “toaster” (makes toast).

Their “toast” is printing, scanning, etcetera. They will run CS4 or CS5 on their Macs until the Mac goes kaput. And they actually do not want a newer version, because various compatibility and bugs come along for the ride.

So what they want is a good solid machine (usually a Mac Pro) on which they install OS X and never upgrade it (except for minor updates), and install Photoshop and never upgrade it. And it runs forever—until the machine dies. And it got paid for once a long time ago.

With Adobe Cloud, it’s not clear what Adobe might require for OS version or software version to continue to have it work. And payment never ends. And yet for this scenario, you never get any new benefit, because by definition you just want your “toast” toasted.

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