Adobe abandons boxed software

Adobe plans to move to a subscription cloud-based model for its CS range of products.

For those who came in late, CS, which includes Photoshop, is one of the most widely used products in the publishing industry. It is jolly expensive, but Adobe thinks that moving to a $50-per-month subscription plan is the way forward.

There is a good reason for this. Adobe’s bottom line was boosted by a surprise increase in subscription services. Logically Adobe thinks that if the whole world works moves to its subscription services then it will be much happier.

Adobe has made its Creative Cloud the only way to get the new versions of its full software and claims that its customers “overwhelmingly” prefer it.

Scott Morris, senior director of product marketing for Creative Cloud announced that Adobe have no plans to release another perpetual release of the CS tools and suites. Creative Cloud is going to be the sole focus, Adobe said.

Adobe wasn’t sure how long it would offer Creative Cloud alongside the traditional perpetual-license sales. But customer enthusiasm for the Creative Cloud, combined with the awkwardness of maintaining it alongside the slower-moving CS products, led the company to move aggressively to the subscription plan, Morris said.

At the time Adobe thought it would take a couple of years before anyone thought the Cloud was up to snuff, but people moved a lot quicker than expected.

From Adobe’s perspective it means that it gets a steady stream of money and not just when it releases upgrades.

Software which would have borne the CS7 logo will now be rebranded just as CC. Adobe’s new CC software includes a version of Photoshop that can correct some camera shake in photos, of Illustrator that can let designers edit elements with multitouch devices, of InDesign that now supports high-resolution monitors like Apple’s Retina displays, and the new Refine Edge tool for selecting particular regions of video in After Effects.

The subscription costs $50 a month for those who sign up for a year’s commitment, though Adobe has discounted the monthly price to $30 for those with earlier versions of CS and has just added a $20 price for those with the newest CS6 version that Adobe released last year.

For $75 per month, customers can use CC products on a month-to-month plan rather than a full-year commitment. For $70 a month, Adobe offers the Team version for businesses with multiple employees using the software.

Adobe does offer subscriptions to individual programs. And now they’re cheaper, down from $20 a month to $10 a month, Morris said.

All this sounds rather reasonable and uses the same model which allowed Red Hat to do rather well. In fact there is no doubt that a subscription model is a way forward.

But there will also be those who want to own a copy of the software and they will be stuck with CS6.

Morris insists that those who’ve moaned about the Creative Cloud are a minority. After all the full Master Collection costs a whopping $2,500 and it would take a few years to pay that off. With the CC model, though, they get access to all the software. That means customers can try new software.