Adobe’s Creative Suite: Now Only For Rent, Not For Sale

“Ahhh…the joys of having a monopoly running your professional life,” writes reader Brian. Like many people who depend on Adobe’s Creative Suite to perform their creative work, he’s upset at the news that Adobe is abandoning the stuffy, old-fashioned software business model where you buy a program once and get to keep it. Instead, they’re going to release new versions solely through their Creative Cloud service, charging a monthly subscription price.

Plans vary according to which programs you use routinely and whether you’re upgrading from an old-fashioned licensed version of Creative Suite, but full-suite prices range from $20 per month for teachers and students to $60 a month for members of teams that also need large amounts of shared cloud storage.

In an open letter to customers, Adobe explained that the change is because their customers totally love Creative Cloud more. There are half a million subscribers to the service, which solves a lot of alleged common problems:

Today’s tools and services are not living up to the creative community’s expectations. Assets are difficult to track across computers. Mobile devices aren’t integrated tightly enough into creative activities. There is a continuous struggle to find effective ways to collaborate. And creative processes do not fully embrace the benefits of the broader creative community.

The biggest problem that going cloud-only solves is, of course, Adobe’s revenue problem. Instead of a flurry of sales every time a new iteration of the Creative Suite comes out, Adobe will be able to depend on a predictable stream of monthly subscription revenue from the creative companies that depend on its products. Of course, there’s also that other revenue problem: Creative Suite is a commonly pirated program. Instead of making digital rights management and authentication so onerous that it alienates customers, Adobe chose to make it subscription-based in order to limit how many illicit copies there can ever be in circulation.

An Adobe executive in charge of Creative Cloud told CNET that they were “surprised” at how the service took off. “We know that’s going to be a difficult transition for some customers, but we think it’s going to be the best move in the long haul,” he noted.

After nearly 10 years, Adobe abandons its Creative Suite entirely to focus on Creative Cloud [TheNextWeb]
Adobe kills Creative Suite, goes subscription-only [CNET]
Creative Cloud and the future of the creative process [Adobe]