Photoshop CC and The User Reaction

Speak To MeAnyone who uses the Adobe Photoshop suite of products will probably be familiar with the recent announcement of Photoshop CC, if not take a look at this link http://blogs.adobe.com/photoshopdotcom/2013/05/photoshop-cc-for-creative-cloud-members-coming-soon.html

In a nutshell, Adobe have announced they are no current plans to release CS7, instead users wishing to upgrade must take up a subscription only model where you effectively rent the software.

Consequently the backlash from the user community is quite evident https://www.facebook.com/Photoshop/posts/10151444598114685 Is but one example!  You will see differing views but the message is quite consistent, we don’t want to rent our software!

The views represented here are mine as they currently stand and I’m sharing this article for anyone interested, as usual, I’m keen to know your thoughts on this announcement.

The Pro’s

Enterprise and Corporate Users

For corporate users, switching to a software rental model probably makes sense.  The Master Collection will set you back around £2400 in the UK or $2100 in the US, so non-US Users are already disadvantaged.  Larger corporate users will negotiate substantial discounts with Adobe for more seats.

With the rental solution it frees up capital, saving on direct capital expenditure, and controls companies costs by providing the ability to flex up or down the number of seats required in your organisation.  Therefore representing a significant cost saving to the company or department.

Small and Medium Business (SMB’s)

Again there are quick wins for small businesses, for example a startup will reduce their initial overheads and capital expense freeing up cash flow for more equipment, office space, salaries, advertising and hiring staff etc.  So subscribing to the Master collection means your business has the opportunity to start turning over the profit whilst keeping overheads down.

Individual Users and Sole Traders

Again using the same rationale, people on budgets can make small monthly payments and have access to the whole suite.  Whether you’re a hobbyist or a seasoned creative professional.

The Con’s

Sounds good doesn’t it, but here’s the rub.  As a fully paid owner of CS6, I own the software licence in perpetuity, which means that as long as the hardware I run the package on remains valid (OS, CPU etc). Then I can continue to use the software for as long as I own the licence.  With the software rental model, the moment my subscription lapses or cancelled, I no longer own the right to install and use the software, therefore rendering all my files created with these tools uneditable.

As an owner of CS6, I’ve paid £2400 for the suite, however Adobe have not release an update for this in over 8 months, instead Creative Cloud users who have paid a significant amount less have received all the benefits of upgrades and new features.  Therefore I’m clearly not happy about this, I believe I should be entitled to better support from Adobe having made that capital outlay and helped swell their coffers.

Ok, so I also took advantage of Adobe’s low introductory offer, which meant that for $29.99 or £27.99 I also have the CC licence.  So why am I still complaining?  Having signed up for an annual licence, I was caught out recently when editing photo’s in Kings Canyon (The Desert in Australia).  Where there was no internet connectivity, and anyone who has been there will know there are no mobile phone masts, so therefore no 3G.  Firing up my MacBook Pro my CS6 wouldn’t start without authenticating my subscription.  My subscription was paid and in good standing, however the software refused to allow me to edit my photos until it received the nod from Adobe servers.

This may be a rare occurrence in this day and age, however I’ve personally suffered internet outages from my ISP of up to two weeks because someone dug through a cable, or a colleague of mine had no internet connection for nearly 6 weeks due to their ISP awaiting planning permission from the council to allow access to their exchange and close a main road to repair a cable.  So in the real world we do suffer internet outages, and therefore can not always re-authenticate.

Exit Strategy

With the software rental model, there is no current exit strategy for users, hobbyists, amateurs and professionals alike who are sole traders, small limited companies or are simply doing what they do for non-profit.  The risk is that the subscription price will double after the first year incentive, and so by cancelling the subscription, you cancel your capability to open your files.

Costs

To illustrate this, let’s take PS6 as a single unit it costs approx £900 or $759 (Amazon), and upgrades costs around (£190, I can’t find a $ price as this is no longer available on Adobe.com)

Single Software Unit, i.e. Photoshop

Rental £17.58 per month, 12 months = £210.96, assuming the price doubles the end of 12 months, this will equate to £421.92 per year.

So for two years this will equate to £632.88 outlay for a £900 piece of software.

If you subscribe for the two or more product’s you will pay £46.88 a month, (assuming an annual commitment). That’s £568 per annum.  The price of which is significantly more than paying a one time upgrade fee for new features to adobe.

As a current user, you can take advantage of an offer and pay only £27.34 a month or £328, rising potentially to £568 per annum going forward.

The subscription model is appetising as a first time user on a budget, but the problem the community are experiencing is the no exit strategy from the software, meaning you are locked into subscription fees, and any price rises that Adobe may apply to their product line going forward.

Possible Solution?

Simple answer is that Adobe provide CS7 as a boxed/download product that has a licence in perpetuity, or reward subscribers with good standing on their accounts and permit their software to remain installed and not crippled after say a two years subscription if they decide not to renew their membership.  Obviously this would result in no further patches/upgrades etc, but does mean that money hasn’t gone down the drain so to speak and you own that software.

Use Photoshop Elements?

Well, Adobe have been quite clever about this, in that the software has reduced functionality and no longer supports up to 4Gb of memory, but has been reduced to 2Gb in their latest V11 release.

Conclusion?

Personally for me, I prefer to have the choice whether to own my software in perpetuity and not be restricted by re-authenticating periodically with a software server.  Let’s see if Adobe listen to the user community and provide a workable compromise.

Smith And BrooksSmith And Brooks Please Help Support Us As Independent Developers 🙂

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