Don’t Like Creative Cloud? There’s a Petition for That

| Editorial

Don't like Creative Cloud? There's a petition for that.When Adobe announced that it will be dropping its traditional perpetual license model for Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and the rest of its professional creative apps in favor of the Creative Cloud software subscription model, the public response was less than enthusiastic. The reaction from at least some Adobe app users was so negative, in fact, that an online petition quickly popped up urging Adobe to keep the Creative Suite perpetual license model alive.

The petition to kill the Creative Cloud-only model was started by Berek Schoffstall at Change.org who said he feels the monthly subscription model is bad for consumers. He stated,

In the end it comes down to this: all of Adobe's consumers will not be able to make such a large payment every month on the CC subscription model. In the short term, the subscription model looks to be okay, but over time the only entity that is benefiting from this is Adobe. The (no longer) current model: paying a one time fee for infinite access is a much better business model and is better for the consumer.

For some Adobe app users, Mr. Schoffstall is right: They'll end up paying more in the long run as Creative Cloud users compared to what they paid for a one-off license. For users that need to upgrade on a regular cycle, however, they may find that Creative Cloud is more economical. The reality is that unless you plan to buy your Adobe apps and then never upgrade -- ever -- you're making regular payments to Adobe. It's just a matter of when.

Depending on your budget, lump sum upgrade charges may be the way to go, but spreading that payment out over time might be easier on your bank account, and regardless of which is better for you, monthly payments are certainly a better deal for Adobe.

So far, about 10,000 people have signed the online petition; some with legitimage concerns and some based on misconceptions. That's a sizable number of disgruntled users, but certainly only a small fraction of Adobe's customer base. That number started me thinking about who it is that will see the biggest immediate impact from the change to Creative Cloud, and I found my answer in the petition:

So, we want you to restart development for Adobe Creative Suite 7 and all future Creative Suites. Do it for the freelancers. For the small businesses. For the average consumer. For the people who use your products on an inconsistent basis. Do it for the sake of creating a more beautiful world together.

The average consumer, it says. The person that wants to dabble a little in photo editing make the occasional flier or invitation. Someone that breaks out Photoshop CS3 off an on, and has no need to upgrade to anything newer because it already does more than they'll ever need.

From Adobe's perspective, it already addressed the average consumer with Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements, both of which are still offered with a perpetual license -- and at a far lower price point than thier professional counterparts. These are the users that, like it or not, Adobe isn't even considering with its subscription-only model.

These are also the people that can switch to products like Pixelmator or Acorn and Adobe won't care. They're the people that can use Pages instead of InDesign because they don't need to print spot colors, and they probably don't even know what "spot color" means. The casual Dreamweaver users can turn to products like Sandvox and Freeway, and Adobe probably won't even notice.

Freelances and small businesses, however, are locked into the Adobe game, and even though they may be able to get by with older versions of Adobe apps, they should at least consider staying up to date because that's what their competition is doing. For them, an extra $50 a month -- which is what a Creative Cloud subscription costs -- may be a hardship. If so, then shelling out between $375 and $1,050 for upgrades is probably a hardship, too.

And that's where Mr. Schoffstall's petition comes in. He, along with at least 10,000 other people, wants Adobe to keep offering its customers a choice in licensing options. Those voices, I suspect, will ultimately fall on deaf ears. Adobe is big enough that it can move forward with its Creative Cloud model, and it won't even look back to see who is left behind as we're rushed into the new world of software subscriptions.

For some, Creative Cloud will be great. For others, not so much. For Adobe, it's the future, and the company isn't afraid to leave behind anyone who thinks differently no matter how passionate they may be.

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Comments

FlipFriddle

The petition is a bit much. Just nonsense if anyone really thinks Adobe cares. I find it hard to listen to a “casual” user of CS anyway. Like you said there are plenty of alternatives, at least in the image editing realm, for the casual user. I think casual users should avoid CS; it is a waste of their money to pay for so much professional level power and integration when they just want to dabble. I do think it’s too early to tell how this will impact large organizations and small that rely on CS. At least one of my colleagues in higher-ed said their IT dept. has said no way to any subscriptions. There are also lots of different rates for different kids of CC types, and while volume licensing seems to be offered as well, it’s all just too vague on the Adobe site. We’ve already got CS6 so we’re going to wait and see how this shakes out.

CSfreak

I actually think this helps the occasional user.  I bust out my copy of CS3 for some premier, after effects, and encore work less then once a year.  Now, for the one project I need it for, I can shell out the $50, get up to date apps for a month, then cancel and not pay the rest of the time.

AdamChew

Isn’t it great to be arrogant because they think they are big enough to ignore everyone.

FlipFriddle

Until there is real competition they can do what they want. While there is an alternative, sort of,  to InDesign (Xpress) and Photoshop (Painter), there isn’t for Illustrator.

mrmwebmax

+

I think $50/month for the entire Creative Suite (Cloud, whatever) is a real bargain compared to what you’d spend on getting boxed software up front. These are professional tools, and you can’t expect to get them for a song. No one would expect to get a professional-level dSLR for the price of a point-and-shoot, so why is Photoshop any different?

FlipFriddle

Which leads me to believe that a significant portion of those complaining are pirating it. Who dabbles with $2000 software?
For me the jury is still out as to whether this will be cheaper/more expensive in the long run. I want to see how all of the third-party plug-ins I really on respond to the changes.

Kurt

All this software as a service stuff is going to take us to a point where we work to pay our subscriptions and have damned little left over.  If you look at all the software you use on a monthly basis, then figure a subscription price for each title and then total it.  Ask yourself if you want to pay that much each month just to be productive.  I don’t.  I want to buy the title, use it as little or as much as I need to, and when *I’m* ready, then I’ll upgrade it and spend some more resources.  It’s this sort of nickel and dime mentality that is going to drive a lot of people to smaller companies’ applications.

Bas

Used photoshop / illustrator since nearly 20 years (or was it freehand first?)
Now it’s enough.
Have a licensed version at the moment, is going to be the last one. Just bought iDraw and the version they are selling now is enough for our needs.
Very happy wit it!
I’ve had it with Adobe.

Bp

Jeff,
Your article assumes a lot just based on one petition. These are not “casual users” and to say so makes you look like an A*s stooge for Adobe. What happened to writers doing reasearch? Here’s the issue especially with long term Adobe professionals such as myself (over 17 years). I upgrade every two to 3 years as even the sales people at Adobe agree that the new versions of the programs are only worth looking at during that time cycle. Look at the last version of Adobe Audition, they’ve done nothing to fix the crashing bugs in that program for three years, where are those bug fixes Adobe?.... So it basically costs me under $200/year. With the new rent policy it raises my cost to $600/year and Im locked in for the full year while Adobe takes the position they can refuse or drop you at anytime. Also you have to babysit the software for compatibly hardware issues that may arise as well as keeping up your membership. Secondly there is no word if the upgrade doesnt work with your hardware or plug-ins, so that you can go back to the previous version. If you have the disks you can. Thirdly, cancel your subscription for any reason and you lose the use of the software you’ve invested so much time and money with over the years. Why not rent to own? Adobe could still ping the software to see if you paid up and if your hardware doesn’t quite sit well with a newer version you are not paying month to month waiting for something compatible. Adobe is becoming the stetch jeans for the design world, one size fits all, we know how good those look.
Fourth heres the rippling effect. I wrote to the other plug-in companies that support Adobe. Now a very mistrusted company, as i think we are being somewhat shafted i explained to the third party companies that I will no longer purchase your software either due to the issues above and for denying the long time users a better choice.
Finally the issue is greed and sad to see from a company I had such great respect for. A company that was all up in arms over Apple for the monopoly they chose for their users when it came to Flash (although Adobe did get extremely lazy in not upgrading Flash for mobile) As reported in computer world:
In a talk with Wall Street analysts on Monday, Adobe executives defended the shift. Not surprisingly, one of the most important reasons they gave was the regular revenue generated by subscriptions, eliminating the peaks when major upgrades release, and the valleys in between upgrades.

“The move to subscriptions just drives a bigger and bigger and bigger recurring revenue stream,” said Mark Garrett, Adobe’s CFO, during the presentation to analysts.

Garrett also claimed that 500,000 customers currently subscribe to Creative Cloud, and has set targets of 1.25 million by the end of 2013 and 4 million by 2015.
And there you have it.. its not a generous offering from Adobe but hopes to get you locked in and paying them month to month like whores.. can I get a reach around at least?

palenoue

Is there a petition out there demanding Adobe ignore the luddites and continue working on the Creative Cloud?  My customer base has more than doubled thanks to Edge and Muse and how they work with the Creative Cloud.  Getting upgrades as they are developed rather than waiting 9+ months is great.

When I hear all this wailing and crying about the lack of boxed suites, I can’t help but remember the petitions and general angst when Apple announced the end of the floppy drive in iMacs.

Cow

People think this is a good deal for customers?

So I take it you have Rent-a-Center furniture & widescreen TVs in your house? And I guess you use PayDay loans to buy things? And, now you’re going to rent Adobe products that are “cheaper” in the short term?

Adobe is following in the footsteps of Rent-a-Center & PayDay loans. The Knoll brothers must be so proud that their baby grew up to be such a shady, scammer company. Wow….

At least with Rent-a-Center you often end up with the overpriced products you overpaid for.

Most professional designers need:

1) Photo retouching & image editing (Photoshop)  2) Layout (InDesign)  3) Illustration (Illustrator)  ...at the very least.

It’s extremely likely you’ll be sent those files from clients & collaborators. If you don’t have the Adobe apps to open them, you’re screwed & possibly out of business since many of the Adobe formats are proprietary (despite what Adobe says) & can’t be opened cleanly with other programs from other developers.

Real designers will pay $49.99 per month & it’ll also require an annual commitment where you pay a penalty for canceling early (yep, that means you pay for apps you don’t use).

At that price, it would take only about two years to exceed the full retail cost of box-based CS6 which means YOU PAY MORE for Creative Cloud. As a business, you have no choice but to keep paying even if you DO NOT want or need a further update. Adobe decides for YOUR business that it’s time to update (& pay for) the software on YOUR own business’ computers.

And, at the end of it, you don’t own anything. Not that you did before (because of draconian EULA laws that need to be overturned), but at least your software couldn’t be taken away from you after two years (with nothing to show for it at the end).

Other professionals & myself (testing it on a non-production computer) have already witnessed Creative Cloud (we paid for) phoning home more than Adobe claims it does. There has even already been premature subscription shutdowns in the middle of the month that stopped the entire workflow until it was addressed.

Are you a professional? You may think so, but I sure as heck wouldn’t want MY client’s data on your computer. I would never work with someone who puts my client’s data at risk because they don’t have comm& over their own security.

What about when Adobe’s Creative Cloud is hacked & people can’t get access to their apps & files? How long before the subscription service protocol is hacked & hackers can disable your Creative Cloud apps remotely? Not long.

If you think these security issues aren’t real, then you’re obviously not a professional who has tracked Adobe’s horrible track record with Adobe Flash:

look it up at cvedetails website.

Also here’s other security issues:  Creative Cloud is at least partially currently hosted on Amazon Web Services.

Google these headlines:  Amazon Web Services outage takes down Netflix, other sites,  Amazon Web Services Used in Sony Hacker Attacks,  Researchers Uncover ‘Massive Security Flaws’ In Amazon Cloud, Sony Network Breach Shows Amazon Cloud’s Appeal for Hackers

Adobe also has had recent issues with their own ColdFusion server platform that went unpatched for almost a month:

The breach was made by a vulnerability in Adobe’s server platform was exploited to impersonate an authenticated users.”

Google:
coldfusion-hack-used-to-steal-hosting-providers-customer-data

What this means for YOU.

When hackers end up exploiting the inevitable holes in Adobe Creative Cloud servers, etc. they will very likely be able to tunnel into your computer via your Adobe applications. These Adobe Creative Cloud applications have a built-in hole into your computer network to contact Adobe’s subscription servers for their DRM & that can (& will) be exploited by hackers. This type of breach can allow hackers to shut down your apps, delete your files & even remotely control your computer.

Consider this before you sign up to their subscription service & put your data & your client’s data at risk.

This is why this is a horrible idea for customers, but great for Adobe to price gouge its captive customers (cough! ” subscribers”) down the road.

Adobe is just another huge corporation that doesn’t want American small businesses to own the products they buy.

This won’t stop piracy, instead it’ll hurt the paying customers. The irony will be that some of the pirated versions of Creative Cloud will be safer to use than the legit version because the pirated version won’t have a gaping hole in your computer to contact Adobe’s servers or even hacker’s servers who exploit the hole.

Government & businesses with high value sensitive data will need to hack their own CC apps to make them secure. Will Adobe sue these entities with a DMCA attack?

Get your head out of Adobe’s FUD & look around…

It’s the professional thing to do.

Jeff Gamet

Hey Bp, I think part of the problem is that Adobe is drawing a line in the sand and alienating at least part of what they consider to be their long time casual user base in hopes of building a new and different customer group that’s willing—or required—to pay ongoing monthly licensing. They could’ve eased us into this with a gentler touch, but it’s pretty clear that isn’t happening. I see plenty of opportunity for other companies to step up and offer alternative app solutions, but I’m betting in the end Adobe will still have the customers it wants, and that’ll leave a bitter taste in the mouths of the customers they intentionally left behind.

geoduck

It boils down to this:
I don’t rent my furniture.
I don’t lease my car.
I don’t borrow my tools.
and it f*****g well won’t subscribe to my software.

When I need something I want it to be there, not dependant on a payment or an internet connection, or if somebodies records are right. This isn’t about Adobe. It’s about the model that is all about increasing and stabilizing their income at our expense. It’s all about a model that takes away ANY incentive for them to make their product better. It’s about the model where I give up my control of my computer and my software and my work to an organization that does not have my needs as their primary motive.

Jon

Hey Adobe, have you heard about the recession? Have you heard many mom and pop print shops are already on the verge of bankruptcy? Have you heard freelancers in rural areas can’t charge the big bucks their urban counterparts do?

Did it occur to you lots of us older professionals would like to ease into retirement working only part-time?

Your new model doesn’t work for many, many people. Sadly, I think you know that very well but you just don’t care. You’re just another big business that cares about nothing but the bottom line.

You sent me a survey a couple of years ago, and I thought, “Finally I can vent about my frustrations with so much of your software.” But no, the survey was only about how much I would pay for this or that. Enough said.

KitsuneStudios

I assume everyone already knows that Adobe has released CS2 for free?

http://www.adobe.com/downloads/cs2_downloads/

There are plenty of alternatives out there for the major Adobe apps. There will always be trade-offs, but between open source, smaller apps and freeware, I’ll best most of the required features can be duplicated if people intend to leave Adobe.

KitsuneStudios

Odd, I tried to post a link to a lifehacker article about free/cheap alternatives to the CS applications, and the link got blacklisted.

A quick google search for “Adobe CS alternatives” should pull it up. After Effects appears to be the hardest one to replace, although for many people here Motion will do just fine.

Mark Lough

The cloud may or may not be perfect. Probably not. However, since I choose to live in fairly remote area of the U.S. where high speed internet does not exist, I can’t use it.
Not everyone wants to be online when they do their Photoshop work, and want to or not, I can’t.
So I’m a small player and who cares, I guess.
I use Photoshop everyday, and can’t use the cloud.
So am I alone?

KitsuneStudios

However, since I choose to live in fairly remote area of the U.S. where high speed internet does not exist, I can’t use it.

It only “phones home” once every 30 days, and even if offline, you can use it up to 180 days after the last check-in.

You don’t need to store files on the cloud. The service includes cloud space for file sharing, but it’s not necessary to use it.  Apps and files can be stored locally on your drive as before.

The only catch in your case is the initial download.

VR Productions

For some people the CC makes sense, no is saying that it doesn’t.  For many others though it does represent a large increase in cost.  For me and my company it means a nearly 3 fold increase in cost.  Also, for security reasons, I dont leave my work stations connected to the internet.  For us the perpetual license makes sense both economically and practically.  There are no benefits for us at all.  Adobe is being greedy and arrogant by ignoring all these users.  I have no problems with companies making a profit, but this goes beyond reasonable.  I own legit copies of my software dating back over 17 years.  This may well be the last time I use anything from Adobe and that bothers me.  I do like their products, but I dont like what they are becoming.

Gary P

How very arrogant you are. The fact is that even some large organisations like the one I work for do not want to buy into this subscription plan. Accountants tend to be wary of committing to a subscription that can be unilaterally changed at a moment’s notice. And your headline is a lie. Virtually no one is saying they do not like Creative Cloud. They are saying they do not like subscription-based services, payable until the day you die, as the ONLY option. It seems pretty short sighted of you not to see that this model is not beneficial to the consumer. But then, I guess the consumers don’t buy ad space.

antonio

The author of this article is a moron and a half.

There are so many reasons why this move to rental software harms consumers. We must stand up and say no to Adobe’s rental scheme. This could set precedent on whether users will pay subscription fees. If so, be prepared to rent EVERYTHING that you run on your computer

Bazz

This is the end of small printing systems started by the Mac and laser printers.
From my reading of your review of the new service it will excessively price small time and infrequent users. Making big business happy and squessing out the little man! So much for variety and open markerts.

John Dingler, artist

Subscription software and services are here to stay, unfortunately, thus we benefit from it convenience as well as to exposing ourselves to risks from globalized security breaches.

That Adobe is compelled to increase its income and also to even out its rate of income by changing its business model “going forward,” communicates to me that it’s not a good manager of its money, which it could control, or that it sees a bleak economic future which it may not be able to otherwise control, so it has embarked on this, what I can only call, radical program to extract as much money from the 99% before something, maybe Adobe, maybe the US economy, collapses.

xmattingly

@geoduck

Very well said. I think most consumers prefer ownership* over renting. Seriously, how bad would have auto makers’ revenue tanked, had they eliminated car lots and only leased every vehicle they manufactured? But… I guess when you control the horizontal and vertical of a given market, it’s ok to quit finding ways to improve your product and just default to a perpetual revenue stream for your business model.

*Ownership, meaning that you have the freedom to use a product as often or seldom as you please. The right to stick with what works for you, and forgo a new & “improved” version if it suits you. Freedom to sell your license and transfer its ownership. Ultimately freedom of CHOICE.

ChrisP

I’m getting tired of people questioning whether the people unhappy about this are pirates.

I’m not a pirate, nor are the dozens of associates that I know that signed the petition. We are legitimate, paying customers, small business owners and long time advocates for Adobe software. PLEASE stop questioning our motives, you’re insulting your brother and sister designers and artists.

We simply don’t want to, and in some cases just wont, submit to perpetual payments for the rest of their careers, regardless of the costs. There are SERIOUS issues here people, short term and long term.

Just 2 of many: what possible incentive do you think Adobe will have for continued innovation once we are all tied to monthly obligations to them in perpetuity? As has already been stated by others, they have no competition for some of their core apps. And is everyone really comfortable with not being able to modify or manipulate your own content if someday business is slow and you cant afford the payments? What about retirement? Are you prepared to spend your life working with these tools and then be told that you cant touch your work when your done?

Agree or disagree, these are legitimate issues being discussed by serious people, not hackers and thieves.

helge

I want add for the business point of view:
Yesterday I had a nice chat with a CANCOM rep. They are the largest Adobe reseller in Germany and our reseller (quote). We have a bunch of constantly upgraded licenses in the Adobe TLP program. Right now I was able to download new versions from Adobe, package them with a nice application and deploy them to our computers.
This changes:
1. As a company I have to use team licenses for $90 per seat/month. I cannot opt in applications only.
2. I have to reassign (“invite”) every single of our freelancers. As we only keep the minimum of licenses possible (of course) I will now have to constantly “adjust” the users and move the licenses between them
3. It is not possible to license a “computer” (much more easy for us)
4. We are lucky, since we can use CC. Other company I work for have very strict NDA’s and therefore no Internet connection on thier workstations. As of now it looks like they will never be able to use CC (any other software at least allowes an on-premises license server)
5. It first I thought CC a good idea because we often have to expand for a sorter period and then scale back. But no - I have to “rent” a seat at least a year. Our current average project duration is about three months.

Bottom line: The model as a whole is not thought through. Is would be ok, companies like MSFT leave me an option. Not will have to pay much more but there will so much more bureaucracy…

FlipFriddle

Yeah, we’re still not sure how this will be handled in our large organization (a university). Is the site-licensing as listed available for the whole organization or by departments, and then how will it get paid for since we aren’t setup internally (at least in my dept.) to deal with subscriptions that have automatic payments. Too many open ended questions at this point to have a strong opinion. IT is still trying to figure it out before they can tell us how it will affect us. For the time being we have CS6 and are good to go. I’m still waiting to hear from our print vendors and how they will be dealing with it.

Dave

Anyone, professionals especially, should read this breakdown of the CC licensing agreement.
http://macperformanceguide.com/blog/2013/20130508_1a-Adobe-legal-agreement.html

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