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Adobe Creative Cloud: Summary View

Adobe has poked a hornet’s nest with its decision to no longer offer conventional buy-and-install software, moving to a subscription only business. Combined with a lopsided legal agreement and possible user blacklisting and making it hard to find upgrades to CS6 (non-Cloud), the result is a colossal marketing and PR blunder that only a truly insular organization could have invented.

And it’s not just real issues, users are now imaginging all sorts of dire issues (“will I have to work in the cloud”) that confuse the real issues.

There are many ways such a transition could have been 'spun' to increase sales, so as an Adobe investor (I am not), this would make me furious at the management ineptness.

From where I sit, Adobe seems to think “profit at all costs” before “serve the customer first and well, and large profits will follow of their own accord”. At any rate, pricing is not the issue for me, not at all.

I’m going to summarize a few things below to uplevel the discussion, please see the prior pieces for background, listed here oldest to newest:

Support for CS6

It is realistic to expect that by year’s end, Adobe will likely no longer support new cameras via Adobe Camera Raw for the non-Cloud CS6 Photoshop (his is my estimate, Adobe could surprise me).

Which means that if you’re a Photoshop user as I am, there is no real choice: Adobe offers the widest camera support and quickest camera support of any raw converter out there. This is essential for my work as a reviewer, so I have no choice: I will have to buy into Adobe Cloud sooner or later.

Adobe is in business to make money, as all companies ought to be

First of all, Adobe has a right to make a healthy profit, charging as much as Adobe in its sole discretion sees fit. The products are theirs, and property rights must be respected. Indeed, I want them to make that profit so they can support, maintain and enhance their products. I have no objection to the former or Cloud pricing model.

In the short term, the Cloud version is a money saver. In the long term, it might be more costly. And for some it might be offensive to pay forever in order to open one’s files at will; this is why an install-and-keep approach (the way software has worked for years) is so much more appealing to some. It is the fact that Adobe is now saying this option will not be offered that is troublesome.


Adobe reserves the right at its sole discretion to blacklist customers. Which mean you could not open your files. So is it realistic to think this might happen to some? Yes, certainly. To be common? Certainly not.

UPDATE: Adobe might offer a solution for file access here, though it’s unclear if it directly addresses the blacklisting issue.

But while Adobe can (and probably must) enforce certain online restrictions, they essentially are saying they can control what is posted. Which means that for any reason, they can close your account. Such as illegal activity or the request of a governmental agency or whatever. The problem is that the Cloud aspect is coupled to the use of the software locally on the machine. In the prior model, one could buy, install and use the software locally. That option now disappears, and with no recourse.

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