The Creative Cloud: Is Adobe (really) sticking it to the customers?


Adobe’s recent announcement of its intent to effectively cease development and distribution of their Creative Suite line to push their new subscription service generated a lot of online backlash in less than a week. In the midst of the protests and the information drives, one will have to ask: Is Adobe really trying to rip off its customers with its move to the Creative Cloud software-as-a-service model?


An online petition on has already managed to gather more than 9,000 signatures in less than a week, firmly telling the graphics software giant to eliminate Creative Cloud. Petitioner Derek Schoffstall exclaims that the Cloud subscription model disregards small businesses and freelancers who, unlike multi-billion dollar companies “do not have an infinite amount of resources”. Schoffstall also iterates that while Adobe had tried to clear up confusion and misconceptions about the service, it has yet to address the issues and concerns brought up by the online community. Also, petitioners feel that with the subscription system, Adobe has full control of pricing schemes, which they believe the company will exploit to increase service rates according to its will.


While all the ruckus going on, some online folks remain objective. Stephen Shankland, senior writer for CNET, has tried analyzing the numbers and found that in some cases, the Creative Cloud solutions actually cost lower than the previous Adobe packages. Considering a software lifespan of three years, total costs for software suites such as Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection are significantly cheaper on Creative Cloud. How significant? In a period of three years, possible costs for physical copies of Master Collection including updates would amount to $2,644, compared to Creative Cloud’s $1,800, which is 32% cheaper. For Photoshop, it’s a difference of $98, from $818 on the old model down to $720 on Creative Cloud for a single user license.


Surprisingly, most subscribers on Creative Cloud welcomed the change, even with the potential price increase factor. A Jefferies survey showed that customers were generally positive in renewing their Creative Cloud subscription, from the introductory price of $30 to $50 monthly. Given the rather constant updates and improvements to Adobe’s graphics applications, subscribers believe that the monthly pricing scheme is reasonable enough.


Ultimately, the decision whether to switch to Creative Cloud or not is entirely up to the user. Choosing over periodic subscription to a service and ownership of a perpetual license are two different things of course, and should be left to the consumer. But then, choice can be influenced both by necessities, and careful evaluation of the options. And of course, options need to be there in the first place.


Will you go for Adobe’s Creative Cloud? Tell us what you think.


image courtesy of akakumo (via Flickr CC)


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