You Can Moan About Adobe but the Company Is Making More Money Than Ever

You Can Moan About Adobe but the Company Is Making More Money Than Ever

You may frequently hear complaints about Lightroom and Photoshop — too buggy, too slow, too bloated, too expensive — but it doesn’t seem to be putting a dent in Adobe’s performance. In fact, it’s quite the opposite as the company announced last week that it has achieved record revenues for the second fiscal quarter of this year.

As reported in a press release last week, Adobe generated $2.74 billion in the second quarter of 2019, a record for the company and a growth of 25 percent year-over-year. The success is attributed to “the explosion of creativity across the globe,” the need for companies to deliver “engaging customer experiences,” and their “strong ecosystem of partners.”

Many photographers have objected to the shift to a subscription-based model and given the complaints, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Lightroom is falling from favor in face of competition from Capture One and a growing assortment of alternatives such as ACDSee, Luminar and ON1. Photoshop is also seeing strong challenges from Affinity Photo and Pixelmator Pro.

Despite the anecdotal grievances, Adobe appears to be doing better than ever. Recently, photographers were angered by Adobe’s removal of Adobe’s $9.99 photography package, a move that proved to be temporary and only disappeared while the company was “running a number of tests,” according to an Adobe spokesperson.

Personally, I’m excited to see what Affinity has planned for the future. I’ve been using the beta version of Affinity Publisher over the last six months (the final version has just been released), and with the success of Affinity Photo, I’m crossing my fingers for a Lightroom alternative. Affinity appears to be focused on creating seamless integration between its various packages, now allowing image editing and vector design tools to be used in Publisher without switching applications. Creating something that works together as well as Lightroom and Photoshop — if not more so — is an exciting prospect.

Is Adobe printing money without enough care for its customers? Or is their performance proof that they are continuing to dominate the field with software that’s designed for professionals? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Log in or register to post comments

61 Comments

Previous comments

This this this, since that's all I'm capable of typing. Moron.

While it's certainly true for Final Cut Pro X (as with ANY Apple app), there's absolutely no way you could know that to be true about Affinity. I'd be careful what I claim.

Thanks for the update, Chet.

You're an idiot. Or a bot. Or, most likely, BOTH.

"You can complain that it's too expensive, but they're getting rich !"

That utterly brilliant headline should ease the minds of those who were worried about Adobe.

Ridiculousness aside..
We know they had to lower their price to compete with everyone else. The people they picked up by doing so are those who were never going to pay $600+ for a program that even Adobe now says is worth what.. $5/mo? when paired with Lightroom. So at $10/mo anyone can rent it, and they of course have picked up a lot of soccer moms and 16 year old Instagram'ers along with some of those who just found it too expensive so they pirated it. Of course, Ps is still one of the more pirated editors out there, but surely some were ethical enough to sign contracts..... no ?!

Hopefully Adobe can look past all those locked-in commitments and appreciate their customers to the point of actually responding to support emails in a timely manner and fix the bugginess of updates.

While articles like this celebrate the rich company getting richer, we should all stop and realize that all those competitors out there, that everyone keeps talking about, are like 3 and 5 years old. Being constantly compared to, and often replacing a 30 year old program should really make Adobe wonder what these infant companies have that Adobe doesn't.

Other than perpetuity....

I'm not defending Adobe but a lot of the folks complaining about price, get upset by other photographers selling their photos too cheap.
Quality has to stand on its own. I really hate the "great product for the price" arguments. Again, I'm not comparing the quality of the various software because I only have experience with Adobe software.

Ivan Lantsov's picture

Affinity 50$ + got the upgrade FREE

Tyler Chappell's picture

Making more money than ever? Good, that just proves they don't need to raise prices ever again since they're clearly doing more than fine with their current pricing structure. If they do, I will be happy to abandon them.

Eddy Waddel's picture

Affinity and Alien skin (prefer Alien skin) The question is .... can they both tweak their work areas as in access to the toolbars.. and in depth colors are a bit of..in some areas . ..nothing that they can not fix..

Adobe rate it at 2 stars..Slow and very ugly in terms of working with the software. They exacerbate the issues not fix them.....Just test and fix the updates...what works on you machines might not work on everyone's.

RIght now i am using C1 PRO (love it) -----> works great on my Mac
Alien skin is my next goto editing SW ----> works great on my Mac

Here is my specs maxed out

Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro11,3
Processor Name: Intel Core i7
Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 4
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 6 MB
Hyper-Threading Technology: Enabled
Memory: 16 GB
Boot ROM Version: 153.0.0.0.0
SMC Version (system): 2.19f12
Hardware UUID: F61DF6ED-2708-5FD4-910E-5FFC353DD987

Tony Northrup's picture

I'm OK with the subscription model for software, but I'm not OK with requiring people to pay for cloud storage when they introduced Lightroom Mobile... especially because they throw some storage in for free, but you know you're going to eventually fill it up and have to buy more.

When they changed of Lightroom CC to Lightroom Classic CC, and Lightroom Mobile to Lightroom CC, that was INCREDIBLY confusing to thousands of people who are now accidentally using Lightroom Mobile which (eventually) requires expensive cloud storage. Now they've changed the name to just "Lightroom" and it's hard to blame people when they use the wrong version.

"When they changed of Lightroom CC to Lightroom Classic CC, and Lightroom Mobile to Lightroom CC, that was INCREDIBLY confusing to thousands of people who are now accidentally using Lightroom Mobile which (eventually) requires expensive cloud storage. Now they've changed the name to just "Lightroom" and it's hard to blame people when they use the wrong version."

This naming scheme made no sense. Why not call Lightroom CC Lightroom Mobile and Lightroom Classic Lightroom CC? I cannot even guess at the reasons Adobe named them as they did.

Tony, you're OK with subscription software. But you're also OK with creating incredibly defamatory videos. The one about Steve McCurry was full of dumb mistakes and outright lies. Shame on you for producing such garbage. You're also OK with blocking criticism of your videos in the comments under them, so it looks as if you have nothing but support from commenters.

Andrew Morse's picture

Adobe is much bigger than just photo editing, so I really don't see them changing models unless there is a huge upheaval in their subscriber base, and the fact that they're printing money suggests to me that they're not planning any big changes.

Personally, I think I'd have a hard time ditching them because I'm also using Premiere Pro, Illustrator, Acrobat, and InDesign. Jumping to another product for photo editing means I need to also learn alternatives for all of those. I can stomach the subscription model for now provided that the service is solid, but the biggest irritant for me has been when a tool changes how it functions without me knowing and all of a sudden I need to re-learn a tool quickly. That's a nuisance.

Rick Nash's picture

Photographers might want to consider leveraging this knowledge with an investment in Adobe stock. All the moaning (me included), hasn't done anything to reduce their continued rise in profitability.

Patrick Hall's picture

I was smart and bought in back in 2014 but just glancing at my purchase from 2017 and it’s already up 100% in just two years. The original 2014 lots I bought are up 300%!

If you have the means to invest, you can easily pay for your subscription with the gains.

David Pavlich's picture

My subscription is up shortly. After reading all the replies I have to ask; does any of the alternatives do what can be done with the LR/PS subscription? I keep thinking that I should jump ship, but hesitate because 1, I'm very comfortable with LR and 2, from what I've seen no single program can duplicate LR/PS.

Patrick Hall's picture

I bought Adobe stock a few years ago and it’s quickly become the best investment I’ve made. Over the last few months I’ve explored using other “adobe killer” software but always wind up coming back to their photo and video editors. That being said, I do get irritated when their software has bugs or elements that should have been update or repaired years ago still acts up the same way in new releases.

Not sure if this is clear to everyone, but the "creative" branch of Adobe products is not really responsible for this growth. It is their whole marketing and ad technology business that is going through the roof for a few years now. That's where Adobe is competing against the likes of Salesforce, Google (amongst others) and where they got a huge part of new business revenue generated over the years from the marketers and media agencies. The creative suite is still not rendered completely irrelevant, but significantly less important to the overall success of the business than it was even 5 years ago. And maybe that's also one of the issues with stalled development for Lightroom and/or Photoshop. It is just not really important any longer.

C Fisher's picture

Companies and schools probably have signed contracts that they can't back out of just because of a sudden price increase. Increased price + locked in subscribers = profit

vik .'s picture

I have CS and LR for free each month; instead of using squarespace I use adobe portfolio for my website hosting and they give me cs and lr for free!! Life is simple, you have to pay for web hosting no matter what. Why not use adobe portfolio?

Tlamati Xochipilli's picture

What an interesting statement... "Company Is Making More Money Than Ever". My 1st thought is, ok, why do I or should I care? I am jealous and envious of NO company. Not loyal to anyone but my family and career, in that order. Everything to do with photography or what I need to get the shoot done are just tools. Brand loyalty doesn't make true sense because of the need for competition and that one company does not and should not make everything you need. Take Adobe, I mean, let's get serious, nothing, and I mean nothing, truly really beats Photoshop. Competes with PS? Heck yea... better than PS? Not today. To me, best use of my money goes with Lightroom and Photoshop. It used to be Aperture, sadly Apple became more of a media company. So what... That opens the doors for others to give a stab at it. Paying is not the issue, it's delivering products that are not buggy, work fast, regularly updated.

I would agree with their strategy if they would offer an option to keep the CC version if you quit subscription. Maybe with a condition that you must be subscribed at least one year.

Anyone who actually, voluntarily and literally *PAYS RANSOM MONEY FOR THEIR OWN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY*, as you do with nearly ALL the Adobe apps, you need a swift KICK IN THE HEAD and to have said head checked. You're an idiot.

Ryan Davis's picture

By “strong ecosystem of partners” they mean "ability to leverage monopoly pricing and market power."

The thing is, in fast-changing technology driven markets, it's really hard to maintain barriers to entry because the ground keeps shifting under your feet. Generating ill will amongst your customer base will get you, inevitably, in the end.

I'm just curious, and I would never attempt this, but anyway wanted to know if this is possible or anyone has attempted this. Say you download and install Lightroom or PS and then you disconnect that computer from the internet, and use it only for downloading and editing images. How would Adobe stop you from using that software, if you were to stop paying the monthly fee of $9.99? I know someone has attempted or succeeded at this so I'm curious!

Lightroom is a dog, and now it's just an old dog.... glad I only tested it and didn't get bogged down with it. Photoshop on the other hand is something I use daily.... but I stopped at CS6. Simply couldn't see spending money on a subscription. For decades Adobe has had a problem with compatibility whenever they did updates, and those problems still linger. Last thing I want is unstable applications that I depend on. Now that I've pretty much transitioned everything from Aperture to Capture One I'm hoping there will be a day when I can do everything within Capture One. For now it's Capture One and Photoshop CS6.

vik .'s picture

I think just like you, Captureone is the best raw converter but since i have adobe for free i keep using it.

More comments