If you’re involved at all in the creative field, whether printing, music, web design or video, you know about Adobe’s Creative Suites. Their software has become the industry standard for many in the creative field.
The software has always been available as stand-alone apps or in groups called suites, originally available on DVD or as a download. The trouble recently is that Adobe has switched from versions of its software to a subscription model, and has discontinued the versioned software. The subscription model is touted to be cheaper, especially given the high price of the suites. So what’s the fuss?
There are several reasons for the fuss. First of all, many professionals haven’t always upgraded every time a new version came out, both as a cost saving effort and because some new versions didn’t seem to be worth the extra investment. Adobe countered this by changing the rules, and offering discounted upgrade pricing only to those who had the latest version. Since the latest version was really only a half version, going from version 5 to 5.5, there wasn’t a rush to upgrade until the rules changed. Then people and businesses rushed to upgrade to CS6 so they would be eligible for the discount once CS7 came out.
Then the bomb dropped in May 2013. There would be no CS7. Not only did those who upgraded solely for the eligibility for the discount feel gypped, but now they’re faced with software that slowly goes obsolete to switch to the subscription model. Adobe says this new model will enable everyone access to all their software, with improvements and bug fixes coming more often. The trouble is, there are hidden pitfalls.
One problem is that customers are paying for a lot of apps they never use. Web designers have no use for print apps, and printers and print designers aren’t going to use web apps. Adobe is offering sweet deals to entice customers to make the switch, but it won’t last long. What also won’t last long is that the subscription will soon cost more than the old way of buying. Any business that wants more than one subscription has to buy the team package, which costs more per seat than a single subscription. Oh, but you get more cloud storage. Well, some of the types of files that commonly call for collaboration, such as music and video files, are not allowed on the cloud and could result in the subscription being suspended. It’s to prevent piracy, Adobe says.
Another problem is that customers, especially printers, don’t use these apps in a vacuum. They have various drivers and plug-ins in order to use their digital presses, platemakers, plotters, raster image processors, etc. Any Adobe update to a program can throw a wrench into this setup. Add to this the fact that Adobe has the right to update a program without notice, and you can see the headaches.
The worst problem, however, is that once you stop your subscription, you cannot edit your files. Your work is essentially lost to you. If you design websites for a living and use Adobe’s typekit, your fonts will stop working. This is what is making customers feel that they are being held hostage. From the reaction I’ve seen online, many people, businesses and universities and schools are looking for alternatives. While nobody is yet up to Adobe’s league, there are certainly some other apps and packages that can do the job.
The new cloud subscriptions may work well for many people, but they need to research it thoroughly before signing up. Once you’re in the cloud, you must remain there until the end of your career. It’s something to seriously consider.