Photo Contest Insider Blog

Adobe’s monopoly forces users to pay monthly subscriptions

May 8, 2013


The announcement by Adobe that the latest versions of its Photoshop software will be available through subscription only and not to buy has brought a mixed reaction from users of the software. Adobe’s move comes after individual programs such as Photoshop were bundled together with 15 other programs including Dreamweaver, In-Design, Illustrator and Premiere, into Creative Suite (CS). Adobe believes that just as customers accepted this bundle, they will now accept the new subscriber model known as Creative Cloud (CC), the brand that it uses for web apps. This means that the software can be used on a variety of platforms. “I-tunes for designers? No thanks”, screamed one angry user on the Adobe Community forum. “For sure, as long as your income can cover it then it’s a no-brainer”, says another.

Adobe will continue to sell current versions of Adobe CS6 but, while it will still provide security patches and bug fixes, it will not provide updates. In the UK, access to all programs in the Creative Cloud will cost £47 a month provided customers agree to take out an annual subscription. Those opting to pay on a month-to-month basis will pay £70. Access to individual apps will total £18 a month if customers sign up for a year. These prices are higher than those offered to American subscribers who will pay $49.99 a month for the full suite. All subscribers will also receive access to an online storage system and project management tools and discounts will be available for CS6 owners who sign up before 31 July.

Adobe says switching to a subscription system means product updates can now be introduced continuously in order to provide the latest web standards and technologies. Purchased programs (known in the industry as perpetual licensing) mean that new features and updates can only be produced on a certain cycle every 18-24 months. A subscription system will make the company’s revenue streams more predictable and will also reduce the risk of their products being pirated. The move is the culmination of a year-long pilot programme to establish whether a subscription service would work. The company claims it has 500,000 subscribers for Creative Cloud and is a vindication of its decision. Against that, many complain that Adobe is deciding what is good for the customer rather than asking customers what they need.

“Often photographers won’t upgrade software unless they see a business case for the extra features offered in the newest version,” says Jonathan Briggs of the British Institute of Professional Photographers. “But with the new monthly subscription package, their ongoing personal business choice is taken out of the equation.”

Certainly Adobe’s move to subscription will concentrate the minds of photographers and photographic companies into determining what Adobe tools they need and how much they will have to pay for them.

What are your views on this, does Adobe’s new business model work for you or against you? Tell us your thoughts below.

  • “…the new subscriber model known as Creative Cloud (CC), the brand that it uses for web apps.”

    CC has never been a brand for Adobe’s web products (Dreamweaver, Flash, etc.).

    If you meant that CC is a brand for web-based Adobe apps (“Creative Suite in the browser”), that’s wrong too. CC incorporates some true web-based apps like Typekit, but all the traditional CS products are just delivered and managed via CC.

  • Donald Grant

    As Per the norm. If you have the money fine if not, your,. F*^&*%

  • There is a petition for those who disagree with Adobe’s new business model –

  • James Winkless

    Once again UK users are hit by higher prices for a product, this may have been justifiable when hard copies were involved, the so-called economy of scale argument, but as there is no real cost involved from cloud delivery how can they possibly make a case for higher charges?

  • Eric

    I’m not a professional photographer but have been using PS since version 3 usually updating every other release. It’s not worth my while to go to the new business model so it looks as if I am stuck with CS6 forever or use ACDSee. By the way it’s not just UK users that Adobe rips off they do the same to us in Australia.

    • Kaz Thorpe

      I think this is just a money grabbing exercise. Yes in Australia, we pay triple x

  • Agree with James’ comment – I can’t see how charging £46.88 per month in the UK (over 40% more than the US price of £32.66 at current exchange rate) is justified when distribution is by electronic download.

  • Roy Hesketh

    I paid for the CS6 package. This also includes any updates. If Adobe is no longer supplying updates for a product they sold, it is a breach of contract. Pure and simple. It is nothing but big American business screwing the little guy. Then they wonder why American companies are no longer trusted.

  • forrest jewell

    this will mean I can’t afford Adobe so won’t be able to read things that require it

  • ken Outch

    There comes a time in many relationships when dissatisfaction and a lack of trust leads to a parting of the ways. Sadly Adobe and I have reached this particular impasse. Better to have a parting of the ways than persist under a ‘cloud’ over our relationship.

  • I have been a photoshop user professionally and privately since the early versions. I have not updated every time. But I have stayed consistently with photoshop. I have introduced thousands of students in that time.

    Now it will more than double the cost I have paid in the past and give me lots of things I cannot use.
    For example, who will ever need such a small online space. I have 6 Tb of images. What they offer is tiny. I do not need project management software.

    I am out of internet contact every year for six weeks and will no longer be able to use my photoshop in that time.

    I have decided not to renew and will be using other software and introducing my students to that software on courses and through my blog in future. As my blog gets around 150,000 visits a year I am hoping that will start to impact on Adobe business. I will be making negative comments as often as I mention post-processing.

  • Matrishva B Vyas

    Rubbish, I feel I am taken for a ride. I just ordered (yet to be delivered) CS6 and now this news! It’s really disgusting.