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Adobe kills retail suite, goes all in on Creative Cloud

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May 6, 2013

Adobe is done with retail: it announced that it's going all in on its subscription offerin...

Adobe is done with retail: it announced that it's going all in on its subscription offering

The pro versions of Photoshop (and the rest of Adobe’s Creative Suite) have always had a steep admission fee. In some cases, we’re talking thousands of dollars. Makes sense for big companies, but those costs put a bigger strain on self-employed pros and smaller indie operations. So it makes sense that Adobe’s Creative Cloud – which lets you rent these apps for a monthly fee – has been such a big hit. In fact, it’s done well enough that Adobe is closing the door on its retail Creative Suite apps, putting its full weight behind subscriptions.

So CS6 will be the last of the Creative Suite series. From now on, it’s all “CC.” Adobe will still sell CS6, and owners of the retail version will still get bug fixes. But no CS7, and no more major updates. Now it’s all about the cloud.

Of course, in this case “the cloud” really means “cloud-based licensing.” Pay Adobe, and get a temporary registration that activates the software for as long as you keep paying. Sure, there are some cloud storage and syncing bonuses, but – let’s be honest – the Creative Cloud is mostly about attracting customers who don’t want to pay a huge lump sum.

Previously, many of those customers had turned to piracy. Photoshop has consistently been one of the most pirated PC apps. Adobe talks up Creative Cloud’s features, but, from a business perspective, it's more about dangling a lower-cost carrot for potential pirates.

Apparently it works. In the year since Adobe started offering Creative Cloud, the company signed up over half a million paid users, and over two million free users. Considering the Creative Cloud’s monthly costs (starting at US$20 monthly for one app), those numbers aren’t too shabby.

New Photoshop

Even if the shift to the cloud was inevitable, it’s sure to tick off some long-time Adobe customers. So, maybe to help ease the pain, Adobe dangled an upcoming new version of Photoshop that will be dropping this June.

The long-teased Camera Shake Reduction Tool will be showing up in the update. Adobe showed it off in some of the early CS6 demos, but it wasn’t ready for its public release last year. It uses advanced algorithms to remove image blur caused by unsteady hands.

There’s also an improved Smart Sharpen tool, which will reduce noise and avoid ugly halos while sharpening those pics. There is also a new Advanced Healing brush that lets you do some content-aware healing with a brush stroke, as opposed to just a circle.

Oh, and remember Photoshop Extended? It is no more. Adobe is unifying all of the new CC features into one app. So no more comparing versions, trying to decide if Extended is worth the extra cost. Just sign up, pay your monthly fee, and enjoy the full Photoshop experience.

Existing CC subscribers will get all the new features in June. Owners of CS6 retail can also get some nice discounted pricing on the subscriptions model. You can hit up Adobe’s press releases below to get the full scoop.

Sources: Adobe [1] [2]

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
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12 Comments

None of the negatives for existing Adobe customers are mentioned in this article. Such as, existing owners of PS will have to pay more for the new product once you add up the monthly payments over 18 months (product version life cycle) versus just paying the usual (former) upgrade price.

So, is that the REAL reason for the change? Long-time Adobe customers are not going to be happy. One more monthly bill is not what small-biz operators need.

If this new change is making Adobe more money through less pirated software, don't charge your loyal customers more. Charge them less.

Photon
6th May, 2013 @ 06:40 pm PDT

Exactly! I'm on a 2+ year old version. I would usually upgrade every other version for about $600. I'll agree with the 18/m cycle, meaning I would upgrade every three years. As an existing customer I'd be paying the $29.99 (for however long Adobe is kind enough to honor existing customers).

Hmmm...

$600 vs $1,080

(or $1,320 if Adobe does what I suspect and only honors current customers for two years and then kicks it up to $49.99)

On a "plus" side they already terminated my older software licenses so I can't use that as another negative... I should have 8 licenses to use but now I have two and that's all I'll ever have from here on.

They're getting as hip as mobile Flash.

Dankicity
6th May, 2013 @ 11:42 pm PDT

what about users whose internet connection stinks?

Pranav Vissanji
7th May, 2013 @ 03:38 am PDT

This is quite a sad, sad day for the freelancer; Adobe has either bought-out or otherwise killed off any real competition on the Mac for Illustrator. As a former Aldus Freehand user this really sucks. Even Corel (who absorbed Xara early on) has given up the Mac market.

Xara extreme dot org could really use help getting their project up and running on OS X. They've got some Mac code, but are stuck.

Creature House Expression was a very exciting and unique alternative that Microsoft bought-out and murdered. They at least allowed the last Creature House version to be freeware, but with it's Power PC code it will no longer run on the latest Apple hardware.

I suppose I'll have to wrap my brain around Inkscape now.

TJ Lambert
7th May, 2013 @ 06:14 am PDT

This will stop piracy how? Its a cash grab for casual users.. not such a bad idea, but it certainly won't prevent license hacks. Any production app requiring persistent internet connection is too much of a risk for most development companies to swallow.

j-stroy
7th May, 2013 @ 07:54 am PDT

"Recurring fees" ... the bane of customers everywhere ... just like taxes. Adobe has just shot itself in the foot. However, this is an excellent opportunity for others in this category of creative software to make real inroads.

Fahrenheit 451
7th May, 2013 @ 08:57 am PDT

This article makes Adobes continued march to exploitative corporatism sound like some kind of blessing.

$50 a month to license Photoshop? What planet does the author live on that this is a less expensive way to use software?

I have upgraded and upgraded for years and this will cost me a fortune and clearly will drive photographers to find some other purchasable alternative.

Stupid move by Adobe and stupid article to applaud the concept.

Sherwin Kahn
7th May, 2013 @ 09:28 am PDT

There's a lot to do about the new price plan involved with Adobe Creative Cloud. I have found only one official Adobe reseller that sorted all prices of Suites versus Cloud in a matrix honestly: http://www.doesum.nl Seems there is not a problem for buyers of the bigger bundles (i.e. master collection, design & web premium), but for smaller buyers or single apps, they probably expect them to be paying more for more features over in the years. Nothing to do with seducing pirats to empty their wallet, I think.

Catherine Hall
7th May, 2013 @ 10:25 am PDT

Yet another reason to switch to GIMP...

Phyzzi
7th May, 2013 @ 11:22 am PDT

Capitalism at it's most predatory! When the creative no longer owns the means of production and the only means (via competition killing) is being rented rather than sold we are back to share cropping or peasant days, paying tribute to the crown or lord of the manner.

uhane
7th May, 2013 @ 01:40 pm PDT

I will not use the cloud. I do not want any of my work going out off of my system. Some clients do not like it either. If I travel and use my laptop at times I can't get a good connection and sometimes none at all. I still need the apps to do work. This is the stupidest idea I have ever heard of.

imboox2
8th May, 2013 @ 10:54 pm PDT

Looks like I will be looking for alternative photo editing software.

James Hannibal
19th August, 2013 @ 12:40 am PDT
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