May 6, the rug was pulled out from under the feet of the creative professional community. Adobe announced that its perpetual license boxed Creative Suite sets would cease with the one year old CS6. With regular update cycles being every 12 – 18 months, it was expected that CS7 would be announced. Unfortunately, it was the opposite; future updates were being made to the Creative Cloud apps only using what is called a subscription model, and the standard perpetual license model would be maintained with fixes but no further updates.
After nearly a month of highly negative comments by it’s customer base, Adobe responded last week announcing they will hold fast to the subscription model and not consider returning to a perpetual license version.
This seems like very risky business since according to a survey conducted by Cnet, of more than 1600 readers, 76% of customers who currently own CS6 say they will never move to the cloud. According to Adobe sales figures there are 4 million CS6 customers. The decision to move swiftly to the cloud model was based on the rapid adoption of the subscription model in the first six months with approximately 500k customers, however according to the same Cnet survey only 70% say they are either ‘satisfied’ or ‘somewhat satisfied’ with the pace of improvements.
The Creative Cloud subscription has a variety of pricing structures depending on whether you sign up for a year contract or go on a month – to – month basis and has been offered at a 40% discount for the first year if you join before July 31. After the first year, the monthly rate will return to full price. While Adobe has committed to keeping the price affordable, it is not difficult to imagine that changing, much like the offering of perpetual license software ended with little or no warning. The program applications will only be accessible as long as you continue to pay the monthly fee. Stop paying and you lose access.
A prudent business plan would suggest it is time to seek alternatives to the Adobe Suite. Many creative professionals have mentioned Xara Photo and Graphic Designer (designer Pro also has vector capabilities and is described as awesome!) as a Photoshop replacement, Capture One Pro for a Lightroom replacement and PDF Studio Pro as a replacement for Acrobat. Feel free to suggest other options and let the trial downloads begin.