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Adobe Listening to Creative Cloud Complaints

After Adobe announced that it was taking Creative Suite subscription-only (see “Adobe Flies from Creative Suite into the Creative Cloud,” 8 May 2013), many users cried foul. We analyzed the complaints and offered suggestions for how Adobe could address them in “Creative Cloud Complaints Darken Adobe’s View of the Future” (17 May 2013). Now, it looks like Adobe may be listening.

Adobe posted an update on Creative Cloud feedback to its blog on 28 May 2013, addressing concerns about the move to the subscription-based Creative Cloud. Some will be disappointed to learn that Adobe is sticking to its guns in general, saying, “We have no plans to change our focus on Creative Cloud.”

However, Adobe did speak to one of the complaints we’ve heard most often: maintaining access to your files in Adobe proprietary formats outside of a membership. Adobe agrees that customers should be able to access files even after their memberships have ended, but the company is as yet vague on details. “Our job is to delight our customers with innovation, but there are a number of options open to us here and we expect to have news around this issue shortly,” Adobe said.

Adobe also addressed photographers, saying that it is working on special packages for that audience. Finally, Adobe tried to alleviate the concerns of users who want to buy boxed software, reiterating that CS6 will be available for the foreseeable future. Eventually, though, updates to the heavy hitters in Creative Cloud will likely render CS6 less desirable, making a move to Creative Cloud unavoidable.

So while Adobe isn’t backing away from subscriptions anytime soon, at least the company appears to be listening to your feedback, and will hopefully be acting on it soon.


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Comments about Adobe Listening to Creative Cloud Complaints
(Comments are closed.)

Jonathan  2013-05-31 17:45
I won't be updating past CS6.
Tommy Weir  2013-06-01 07:47
I've moved to Acorn and Sketch, in combination with Aperture, I'm sorted.
Jonas Smithson  2013-06-02 13:41
"Our job is to delight our customers with innovation..."

Translation into plain English: "Our job is to keep a steady flow of revenue coming in, even though our products are mature and feature-complete and customers have little need or incentive to upgrade."

David Lynch  2013-06-04 08:27
Yeah, but do the math. The typical annual cost of upgrading perpetual software adds up to more than 12 months of Creative Cloud subscriptions.

It's true that those who tend to skip upgrading until they have to will be affected, but as a graphic designer, I look forward to having more clients and colleagues using the same, recent version of the software I am. That is going to improve workflow for me.
stevecagan  2013-06-03 17:21
I'll be interested to see what Adobe has in mind for photographers. PS is really a photo-illustration, rather than a photo program--for me as a serious documentary photographer, 90% of the program is useless--or even unethical to use. And there's an issue with the Cloud I haven't seen others address--I spend a lot of time in places where there is no reliable broad-band connection--we have to share materials on CDs and jump drives. I simply cannot base my work process on a broad-band connection. And I know other photographers in the same boat. Time to start looking for alternatives now, I guess...
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-06-04 06:26
The whole cloud storage part of Creative Cloud is entirely optional, so if it doesn't meet your needs, you can ignore it with impunity. (I suspect that's why no one is complaining about it.) The only downside is that once again, even if you don't need the cloud storage, you're still nominally paying for it.
stevecagan  2013-06-05 10:14
Optional for the moment...
Bill Womack  2013-06-03 18:59
Adobe's handing a great opportunity to another vendor to slide in and steal home, just as InDesign stole Quark's user base after years of callously clueless treatment of their customers left all of us frustrated and angry.
Lance Hidy  2013-07-06 17:04
Bill, the same thought occurred to me. Problem is, the software is in a far more complex and evolved state since 1998 when Adobe's attack on Quark was happening.

The subscription model does make some sense, but perhaps with a more flexible pricing schedule. I especially worry about users on the fringes: students, freelance startups, hobbyists, amateurs, the unemployed, and retired people for whom the current pricing may be prohibitive. It wouldn't be so scary if there were other options out there, but there really isn't any serious competition.

It puzzles me that Adobe has allowed pricing policies to cause such harm to its brand. I hope that this is just a temporary problem, and that Adobe can fine-tune its pricing options to regain trust.
B. Jefferson Le Blanc  2013-06-04 01:39
Is half a loaf (or more likely a thin slice or two) better than none? I'm sure the answer to that depends on what adjustments Adobe ultimately makes and to what extent these satisfy specific concerns. On the big issue of choice, however, they remain intransigent. It's still my way or the highway, buddy, and the Devil take the hindmost. I suspect a lot of Adobe customers will be moving on. There's a biblical expression, pride cometh before the fall. Adobe has been way too proud for way too long. They are overdue for a comeuppance.

In the end the market will determine how much of a price Adobe will pay for their arrogance, if any.

Adobe's new strategy will, of course, impact hackers who have made it possible for many people to steal Adobe's products. This may drive a few people to actually pay for their software. Students, on the other hand, will take it in the neck. Up till now they could buy the educational version of Adobe's CS suites and continue using them after leaving school. Now, their education discount will no doubt lapse as soon as they can no longer provide proof of enrollment. This will be fine for those who get out of school and quickly find a good paying job, preferably one where the company they work for pays for the CC subscription. But what proportion of students are that fortunate? Many will be unemployed, under-employed or self-enmploed. Most of these will be SOL.

In the end Adobe will lose considerable mind share because of their hard headed and heavy handed subscription strategy. Their reputation is already suffering. Because of their monopoly position it may be awhile before this impacts their bottom line; ultimately, though, all these lost and abandoned users will find other ways to get the job done. This will go a long way to creating competition for Adobe where none now exists. They are providing the incentive for other developers to break their monopoly. Who knows, it may even spark a renaissance for Quark. Now wouldn't that be poetic justice?
"Adobe's new strategy will, of course, impact hackers who have made it possible for many people to steal Adobe's products."

Um, not really. Creative cloud will be just as hackable, most likely, as the current CS6 is. I expect the piracy ratio will be no different than vs. boxed versions of CS.
Charles Reeves Jr  2013-06-04 05:46
Sorry, but I see nothing here that will make me change my mind that Adobe's decision is one of the biggest mistakes I've ever seen.
Paul Findon  2013-06-04 06:42
I wonder what exactly Adobe means by "access" to files. Do they mean that files saved in the Adobe Cloud will still be accessible when subscription lapses? Presumably users can save their files to their computers before this.

On my Mac, I can use Quick Look to preview Photoshop and Illustrator files. And can open Photoshop files for minor edits and printing in Preview.

It's almost 10 years since Adobe killed off Mac FrameMaker but I can still access, edit, create and print FrameMaker files with Sheepshaver running Mac OS 9 on my Mountain Lion Mac Pro.

I guess it will all come out in the wash.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-06-04 06:56
I'm pretty certain that "access" in this case means that you can open, view, and edit your files - Adobe had been saying along along that you retain "access" to your files in the sense that you still owned them and could open them in whatever other app would do so. That's fine for Photoshop and Acrobat, but falls down for InDesign and Illustrator. So my understanding is that they're trying to figure out a way your files in Adobe proprietary formats aren't locked away from you when you subscription lapses.

Letting you "rent to own" may be involved, as we suggested in our previous piece.
James Heartney  2013-06-07 11:03
No, I think they're going to offer only opening and printing, and that will be called "access." To do anything else, they'd need to keep the apps working as editing tools. The only way to do that is to keep the old style perpetual licenses.
James Heartney  2013-06-07 10:59
They've put out some mollifying verbiage, but nothing that actually addresses the issues raised. For me the main issues are these:
1. Creative Suite is mature, and few if any of the "innovations" in the upgrades (or to come in Creative Cloud) have any relevance to my needs. Despite this, I'm to be forced to buy them anyway.
2. If at some point I decide to stop paying Adobe's ransom, I'll lose access to all the stucture of my files. (Allowing me to open and print isn't access; it's prisoner's visiting rights. I'll need to be able to take apart and use the substructures of my work.)
3. Creative Cloud not only forces me onto a treadmill with Adobe. It also forces me to buy hardware upgrades on Adobe's schedule rather than mine, whether I need them or not, whenever Adobe decides to orphan older setups.
Adobe is clearly acting based on its sense that its monopoly position allows it to extract monopoly rents. Adobe was once a great company. Now it's just another robber baron.
M. Perry  2013-06-07 15:19
If Adobe creates helpful variations on their subscription scheme, all is likely to go well. Not everyone wants the entire Adobe suite. Most people don't have time to learn even half of them.

I know I'd like to see them allow a user with a full subscription allow perhaps 3-4 of his clients to download InCopy and access the project files. Those clients are likely to be writers or editors who have absolutely no need for a full subscription.

I'd also like to see Adobe adopt a Kickstarter-like plan. Each month, subscribers would get perhaps $5-10 to allocate to the new app features of their choice. Adobe could establish a level of funding for each project.

It'd be a way for users to get some return from those monthly fees.
tony dolce  2013-06-20 20:08
You seem to have the mistaken impression that adobe is concerned about it's users, other than fleecing them for even more money....then....when you sign on, $50 will be become $75, then $100....why not? Do not buy in. Do not go to Adobe events. Do not buy their books. Do not attend photoshop world. Advise your circle of friends to do the same.
I wont be going the creative cloud route either. I was looking things over on their site and this is laughable. Student and Teacher Edition
Annual plan for
US $49.99
per month

What student can afford an extra 50 dollars a month? Seriously. Adobe is shooting themselves in the foot. If you are not even supporting your future users at this point they will be dead in the water in the years to come. I am already looking into other alternatives and have had a few recommendations which seem to be good choices.
Honestly? the future for Adobe is Student studying graphic design, advertising, photography, etc... ... yet they have to pay with their dscount as students 49.95 a month. This is a joke, I think Adobe has shot itself in the foot here. I have used adobe software for over 20 years and shocked at the stupidity of this move. They have lost a long time customer. The future of the company is the kids and if they can not afford it at that price and they will look into other options, as will educational institutions... They have no hope for the future as a company. They will not remain the industry standard.
tony dolce  2013-06-20 16:01
Hearing complaints is one thing. Giving a damn enough to make software available to professional photographers at a reasonable price, many of which are 1 and 2 person small businesses, is a whole other thing. Adobe is not the issue, as they are merely exercising their monopolistic muscle. The problem is the marketplace, where developers just let Adobe have their way without coming up with a competitive product, thinking that Adobe would take care of us. Well, they took care of us, alright. Monopolistic power and corporate money grab.....baaaad combination. I will stay with CS6 and Aperture and anxiously await a young, hot shot, developer group to fill the huge void created by Adobe's disappointing greed. Bad move, Adobe. I wish you the worst.
Ann Clared  2013-07-01 19:44
I am not happy with the plan for subscription-only CC, and do not wish anything I say to suggest otherwise.

However, if ANY good is to come out of this, perhaps it is this: Perhaps this move will reduce the number of quasi-professionals out there in the design field. You know, the folks who pick up an old copy of InDesign and 'learn' on their own, and send files to their printer using Registration as a color in their roll-fold brochure with 8 evenly-sized panels without bleed and half the fonts missing. A dream perhaps, but I am one to look for the silver lining.