Adobe Creative Cloud Move Elevates Company, Stymies Users

Adobe announced it is moving to an all-subscription model, delivering new functionality only through its Creative Cloud from now on--which has some customers concerned.

Adobe's announcement that it is shifting everything to its Creative Cloud subscription program is a move that excites the longtime design software maker, but it is not very welcome to some customers.

At Adobe MAX, The Creativity Conference, in Los Angeles on May 6, Adobe announced that the company will focus creative software development efforts on its Creative Cloud offering moving forward. While Adobe Creative Suite 6 products will continue to be supported and available for purchase, the company has no plans for future releases of Creative Suite or other CS products. Focusing development on Creative Cloud will not only accelerate the rate at which Adobe can innovate but also broaden the type of innovation the company can offer the creative community, the company said.

In short, at some point Adobe will no longer be providing new releases of its technology as packaged software; it will all be via subscription to Creative Cloud.

"We have not announced a time frame" for when the company will no longer provide packaged software, Heidi Voltmer, director of product marketing for Adobe Creative Cloud, told eWEEK.

"We launched Creative Cloud a year ago, and it has been a runaway success," said David Wadhwani, senior vice president and general manager of Digital Media at Adobe. "By focusing our energy—and our talented engineers—on Creative Cloud, we're able to put innovation in our members' hands at a much faster pace."

The move is a major switch for Adobe, which began selling subscriptions to its Creative Cloud for around $50 a month last year, while also making its software available to nonsubscribers to its Creative Cloud. And while it remains to be seen how this will impact Adobe's bottom line, initial reactions to the move have been mixed, but the negatives have been strong.

In reaction to a CNET article on Adobe's move, a commenter identified as "dlorenso" compared Adobe's actions to the gun lobby. "Nice move Adobe! That is a good trick!" the commenter wrote. "Do you realize how many round of ammo were sold when gun-toting Americans found out their gun rights might be taken away!? Well, Adobe is pulling the same trick. Look how many copies of CS6 they are gonna sell because graphics professionals and hobbyists think this is their last remaining version of Adobe products they may ever get! Adobe isn't trying to sell you their cloud, fools, they are selling you their CS6! ..."

Some commenters pointed out that the cost of the subscription might be prohibitive to some, yet others defended the pricing as being more efficient for their purposes. One clever commenter, identified as IslandStyle808, wrote a "Dear Jane" letter to Adobe:

"Dear Adobe, when we were younger you were cute and slim—we had fun together. As we've grown up, you have become sophisticated and robust.

"But while you still have a beautiful face, how shall I say this—your appetite has gotten the best of you. In 2005, you ate Macromedia. Now you're after my wallet. I understand that fancy girls are a little harder on the wallet but it's hard to be fancy when you're fat.

"I wish I could say at least you're beautiful on the inside, but really you're just greedy up in there. So before you try and eat me too, I am dumping you— you can go eat yourself!"

Responding to the feedback of moving to an all-subscription model, Adobe's Voltmer said: "I'm sure people have a lot of opinions on this. But we've had just as many customers who are excited about this because it means less investment for them up front. We've had feedback from both sides."