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.

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60 Comments

Leigh Miller's picture

Not me...I don't mind the new business model at all. My gripe is with the buggy updates, lack of design around higher spec computing systems...and the glacially slow response times to support questions.

So it's working out great then ... Adobe gets your money each month ... and you get to gripe each month. Seems like a good deal ... for Adobe.

Rayann Elzein's picture

This indeed. I would have a whole lot less problems giving them my money every month if the goddamn LR software would just work flawlessly and smoothly. I downloaded Capture One but didn't get to learn it before the end of my trial period... Too steep learning curve, too little time :(

Mr Reeman's picture

I do mind that Adobe is abusing its diminishing monopoly position within the photography market. Each new invocation of both Photoshop and Lightroom brings negligible improvements and some may argue that Lightroom is starting to fail with serious slowdowns and bugs.
Like many I have already started a shift towards both Affinity and Luminar and am prepared to walk.
Professionals do not pay for Adobes software (their customers do) so why should they care?

I'm moving to DaVinci Resolve when my yearly sub is up.

Rayann Elzein's picture

I'm already on Resolve for my video needs but I was starting from scratch so I did not have to worry about the learning curve. I would have had it with Premiere too but refused to pay for what so many people call a buggy program.

Bugs are my reason for leaving as well Premiere. Crash on save as, crash on export media, lags requiring reboot, etc.
I plan on building a new system in the fall, if it's the same mess, I'll look into Resolve. But I read that you can't use 3 monitors or edit 4k with the free version. That true?

Rayann Elzein's picture

I built a new system 1 year ago to get LR to work faster. It did not change anything (what a waste of money...). When a program is buggy, I guess it doesn't matter how powerful the system is.

Unfortunately I can't answer your question. I needed advanced noise reduction so I purchased the paid version almost right away. You can find out quite easily though, just download the free version and try ;)

I've been an editor for nearly 25 years, run the gamut of NLEs and been on Final Cut Pro X for 8 years and absolutely LOVING it. If you're on a Mac and NOT using FCP, that's your loss… in stability and most of all SPEED! Nothing comes anywhere close.

Oh, and never mind that it's a PAY ONCE, UPDATES FOREVER model. Paid a measly 300 bucks eight years ago and gotten TWENTY-NINE updates for absolutely free. You do the math on what that works out to in terms of MONTHLY costs. That are of course getting LESS not MORE.

I'm PC-based, so it's a non-starter.
I've moved to ProRes capture on an Atomos Ninja V and ProRes timeline, it's plenty fast (when everything works fine). The issue is the bugs.

Warwick Cairns's picture

I think the correct form of the title should be “You Can Moan About Adobe BECAUSE the Company Is Making More Money Than Ever.” Essentially, their subscription model is a rip-off. Rather than selling you their software and offering you the chance to buy further upgrades, they insist you keep on paying, month after month.

I agree that it's a rip-off. That's why I'm paying them absolutely nothing each month. If they did upgrades like before, they would still be getting my money. This way they get zero.

I'm happy to say that Adobe is making absolutely zero money on me. Zero. Zip. Nada. Nuthin'. They can take their subscription and shove it.

Simon Patterson's picture

Same here. They got my money for Photoshop CS6 and that was that. I used CC for a year but didn't renew it and haven't missed it. The minor amount of video work I do is completed with Hitfilm.

Johnny Rico's picture

Well this article was rather fluffy

Daniel Medley's picture

The whiners are always the loudest. The fact of the matter is that the subscription model has led directly to more people using their products. In a few years don't be surprised to see most of their competitors doing the same. They will have to in order to compete on a real level.

You are factually incapable of writing ANYTHING else, right? Just a little lemming? And that for completely CONTRARY posts.

Warwick Cairns's picture

What benefits does signing up to the subscription model offer you? Versus, say, a one-off purchase and paying for upgrades only when you want them?

Daniel Medley's picture

The biggest benefit for me is the constant development. At least in theory. I want the upgrades whenever they're available without having to purchase a new application in its entirety every few years.

However, what's more important is how it benefits the vendor. A constant development model with a much smaller development team and a constant roll out of upgrades is far more cost effective then development > market > release > maintenance/update development while working on the next major release in parallel (subsequent major releases may well likely be handled by a separate team all together, etc.) > market > major release > and the circle goes 'round and 'round.

The subscription model makes it financially more accessible for many users and, more importantly, much more convenient; something that, obviously, is popular based on the numbers of new users. Couple that with the substantial reduction in development costs for the vendor and it's pretty plain to me. Because of the new model, Adobe is able to cut costs of doing business while at the same time increase their user base.

That's why I believe that their competitors--if they want to compete at the same level--will most likely have to adopt a similar model.

Warwick Cairns's picture

I can see the sense of some of that.
However, I bought my current version of Lightroom - LR6 - on 4th March 2016. It cost £59 to buy outright. That means it's cost me the equivalent of £1.59 a month for the time I've had it. With every month that passes, the equivalent monthly cost falls and falls.
If I'd been on the £9.98 monthly subscription, I'd have spent £390 so far, and I'd still have to keep on paying for ever.
For me, the subscription model doesn't make getting Lightroom more accessible - it makes it seem a crazy idea

Daniel Medley's picture

Well, yeah, the longer you keep something you purchase as a one time purchase the cheaper it gets. That goes for cars, houses, and software.

But the flip side to that is that you're not getting the product enhancements that may or may not be worth it to you. To me, and to a great many others, it's worth it. There are some very good features that I have access to on my subscription model that you don't have. The cost benefit for me (and a great many others) is well worth it. The cost of a subscription to be able to have this is far less than what the average coffee consumer pays for coffee in a year.

Plus, you're leaving out the fact that it includes PS.

Compare the cost of getting both LR and PS 5 years ago to an annual subscription. Simple math shows that i's more accessible to more people based on that. Crazy or not.

Michael Comeau's picture

I haven't spent a dime on Adobe software since 2011.

Capture One + Affinity Photo + Final Cut Pro X works fine for me.

Here’s a list of my photography and video software purchases over the past 5 years:

May 21, 2015 - Apple Final Cut Pro X: $299.99
March 28, 2015 - Capture One Pro Upgrade: $30
August 26, 2016 - Capture One Pro Sony 10: $50
January 27, 2018 - Capture One Pro Sony 11 Upgrade: $62
March 10, 2019 - Capture One Pro Sony 12 Upgrade: $54
March 17, 2019: Serif Affinity Photo: $49.99

That’s a total of $545.98 -- less than the cost of one year of the Adobe Creative Cloud.

And Final Cut Pro X and Affinity Photo are one-time purchases. I don’t have to pay for future updates.

More on this:
https://www.onportraits.com/cloud-free/

This. I am avoiding all software subscriptions.

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