Why You Should Hate Adobe's Creative Cloud

Why You Should Hate Adobe's Creative Cloud

Ok, so we've covered why you should love the Creative Cloud: it gives you access to everything Adobe everywhere you go. It gives you all the outstanding programs at your fingertips. It is taking connectivity to a whole new level for creative collaboration. Updates are instantaneous. But all that aside, it's a stifling, expensive system that might be forcing you into something you don't want.

1) You're only renting the software.

Adobe applications have become what many of us hate about other situations like internet service or rental housing: monthly payments. Worst yet, you no long can say you own the products. What happens if you can no longer afford the pricing, or what if Adobe arbitrarily increases pricing in the future? You can't combat it. You're trapped.

2) It's all or nothing Sorry, my mistake. The real issue is dropping the ability to invest.

There are thousands, hundreds of thousands even, of Adobe customers who only use one program. Lightroom, Photoshop, whatever, they don't need access to Illustrator. They have no idea how to use nor any intention of learning how to use After Effects. What the heck is Speed Grade? Ok, if you want photoshop you CAN buy it by itself, but it's $20 a month. There are CC full subs that are that price, and even at full price that's nearly half the cost of just getting everything. Not really all that appetizing. Plus, there are those of us who really like to buy software and keep it for 8 or 10 years. Can't do that here. No more investing in software, and that has a lot of people miffed.

3) After paying for the subscription for years, in the end you have nothing to show for that investment.

Let's say you buy the software subscription today and continue for the next three years. That's a large investment, and in the end you'll have spent a couple grand and have nothing to show for it. That's an uncomfortable thought.

4) You won't have access to your own files if you end your subscription.

We create thousands of gigabytes of data yearly, much of this data saved as Adobe proprietary file types. You stop paying a monthly fee, you can't access those files. In the past, at least you could open them without fear, even if the software was outdated. Now? Not the case. You pay, or you lose your process. What that comes down to is there is no way to really exit from Adobe. You're, again, trapped.

UPDATE: For those of you who misunderstand point 4, it has nothing to do with the end files you make, but everything to do with the proprietary formats like .psd or .ai. You can't open those files without Adobe programs. That's the issue.


I think the biggest mistake Adobe has made thus far is ignoring that group that only wants one piece of the software and not the whole suite. There are a lot of creatives who buy software and keep it forever. For them, the CC is exorbitantly more expensive. It's a really tough situation and one where, amongst the folks I've talked about this with, we think Adobe is really missing the mark. There are a lot of angry people out there because people hate feeling forced into things they don't want. They can't invest. That's the real issue.

What other reasons can you think of to dislike the new Adobe Creative Cloud? Will any of you defend it?

Jaron Schneider's picture

Jaron Schneider is an Fstoppers Contributor and an internationally published writer and cinematographer from San Francisco, California. His clients include Maurice Lacroix, HD Supply, SmugMug, the USAF Thunderbirds and a host of industry professionals.

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Excellent job, I've been following this Adobe Creative Cloud for a
while, and I have no interest in it at all. Renting software have no
place in my PC and I'm not falling for this bait. Think about how you
feel with your cable company, right after you find out they have made
millions of dollars of profit, but still raise your subscription fee.
That's what I'm trying to avoid. No thanks Adobe.


good points. the only way that corporations like Adobe are going to stop abusing customers like this is if people stop putting up with it and stop buying products.

For a small percentage of users, the CC package makes sense and is a bargain. But by forcing everyone into the software rental plan, they are pissing off a huge portion of users.

I had a discussion with someone about this the other day, and he had a great thought experiment.

Try and imagine what it would be like for this to apply to every piece of software. Imagine a monthly license for your operating system, your office software (already happening with Office 365), your accounting software, your html editor, your media player, etc. Imagine every piece of proprietary software going to this monthly license.

How long it will take before those costs add up to a large monthly bill? How long before you seriously start to look for cheap/free alternatives to at least some of that software?

Now imagine the advanced features of your camera's firmware was added into that group.

Is this still a good idea?

Yep. it would be a good idea...

Its actually cheaper under subscription than it was as boxed software.. (that's even before i considered upgrades)...

So i'm getting way more for less.. More software (the entire suite) for less $$ (presuming i'm enticed to upgrade every 3-4 years)....

we should also rejoice, that we are likely to see more incremental improvements to the software more often, rather than the big bang releases these companies have to do, just to try and get your upgrade dollars..

for Adobe (and any SAAS company), a monthly subscription improves the cash flow while reduces the risks and costs of delay which in turn reduces the profit requirements..

I think you missed my point.

If subscriptions are the wave of the future— as they appear to be— there will be a tipping point. $20 a month for Photoshop is not bad, but add $15 for MS Office, $10 for Quiken, $10 for your operating system, etc. Before long a computer with internet access will easily cost you $100–$150 per month just to run. Essentially, you will be paying a monthly computer bill.

Sure, most people will not actually leave the Adobe fold now, but there will come a time when consumers will reach a point that software subscriptions will be the new Cable TV bill, and they will actively search out alternatives to all their software subscriptions. After that tipping point is reached, every company that uses subscriptions will suffer at least some.

Economic downturns may also see subscription services suffer. Whereas before, people put off upgrading while times are tough but continued to use the company's software, then eventually upgraded when they could; after a customer has to find an alternative (because they can't use the software in the meantime), they probably will not return. Subscriptions are only sustainable if they are continuous.

This only guarantees Adobe's bottom line, it does not mean likely more incremental update, in fact less so as they don't have to fight for your money now because they're already getting it from the subscription, think you can just stop, you can't because then you can't access your files! Oh but application X can open adobe files.... Oh how long do you think before they put the screws on 3rd party software accessing they Intellectual Property.

And Like James mention you'd enjoy paying $5 bucks for your OS, $5 Email Application, $5 for your browser, $5 for your phone os, $5 for your phones mail client (if different than your desktop/laptop) etc., you can see that in the end you're paying hundred of dollars for every little thing, it's a snowball building up as its rolling down hill, because if one software company can do it, they all will...

Are you really getting more for less, how much are you losing by not investing your subscription fee in the way you want, before purchase? Its denying you the opportunity to invest your money elsewhere should you wish while waiting for a product upgrade. You are not buying a service, your buying a product with no support and no customer service. I'd rather save the cost of the upgrade on a monthly basis and deceide when I am going to take out my invested money and spend this on the features I feel I'll benefit from.

You are exactly right. Besides, how much do people pay for their camera gear, actual computer hardware, storage, etc?

Something is wrong with your business plan if you can't cover even $200 in subscriptions per month. These products help you make money, and they cost money to develop. You should have to pay for them. I am amazed at the value Adobe software provides, if you don't believe me, check out the Autodesk site.

It is NOT cheaper if you've already made the initial investment in Creative Suite. I only upgrade my Production Premium every other version or so and that is more than enough for my needs as a pro. And that only costs me around $16 a month... I also have software that still works should I chose to not upgrade whereas a subscriber has nothing to show for their investment when they cancel but a bunch of project files they can't open.

The subscription should be an option. Not mandatory.


You are miscalculating big time. Although you get more tools (than you probably ever want), you will in end up paying a lot more. Even if you count ALL upgrades in it and without the discounts and graceperiods any person would normally have. So. If you'd normally skip one upgrade and be alert on graceperiods, than you would even save a lot, lot more. Take a look at these guys pointing it out for you: http://www.doesum.nl/nieuws/prijsvergelijking-creative-cloud

> we should also rejoice, that we are likely to see more incremental improvements to the software more often

I want some of what he's smoking.

A subscription model means that you'll never get to look forward to a big upgrade. It means Adobe will take their time putting out updates and if you don't like it there's nothing you can do but cancel your sub and be stuck with files you'll never be able to open again.

This whole CC scheme benefits Adobe and only Adobe.

you are so stupid

i have bridge in Brooklyn i'd like to rent to you

One other point that no one has made. This move essentially turns adobe away from making a product and towards being a service provider.

It is the landlord effect. If you own a house, you let somethings go (like a door that sticks). If you rent, you expect the landlord to fix it and quickly before rent is due again. Until now, Adobe has left a lot of their customer service to the community. A subscriber will want to speak to an employee and want his/her issues addressed immediately— before they have to pay again.

That will divert a lot of resources from producing an innovative product.

You are correct.

Until today, I could license Adobe's software and the only thing that limited me using it was my own hardware. And I didn't need to pay them anything more.

Now, they are providing the service. I have to trust them to maintain their hardware and security, to provide the answers I need when I need them, and to do so without raising their prices through the roof.

They are asking for a lot of trust. All I need is one last minute deadline to be missed because my computer missed a check in due to a DoS attack or because Adobe's servers were down.

If you think this is paranoid, look at what happened with the Sim City launch, and no one makes their living playing Sim City.

Your hardware comment brought up another thought for me. We still don't know what the pace of development and backward compatibility will be. I can be pretty sure that if I buy a system today, and install CS6, that combination will perform reasonably well for a long time to come. Am I going to need to upgrade hardware more frequently with CC?

The need to upgrade hardware along with the automatic upgrades of CC scare me the most. I've survived for years with a WinXP machine and CS3. Basically, if it isn't broke, why fix it...

It was only recently I upgraded to CS6 because I had to replace my PC with a Win8 machine and CS3 was not compatible. If I were a Mac user, I don't know if it would be the same. I hope Adobe considers this with their upgrades... or maybe their next step is to go into the hardware business...?

The only reason Adobe thinks they get away with this money grab is because they are the only game in town. That being the case, there's no pressure to fix anything. Where else are customers going to go?

EXACTLY... soon you will have to rent every piece of software on your system if we, as consumers, accept this software rental tactic...

You see how adobe had a softer roll out of Creative Cloud last year where it was optional and you still had the option to buy the software as usual. They were testing the waters and getting the public to open up to the idea of renting software because it's a radical concept.

Last year when Creative Cloud was first announced, no one expected them to eliminate all other options

Luckily I'm perfectly fine with CS5 right now, but speaking of switching to free alternatives... I run both Win7 and Ubuntu 12.10, and Linux has Gimp and Darktable
Gimp = Ps alternative
Darktable = Lr alternative

If more software companies hop onto this monthly/yearly licensing kick, I wonder how much opensource will gain in popularity? Who doesn't like free AND stable?

And fear not, Lightroom to Darktable conversion is partially there

If you're a PS user, you can subscribe to JUST Photoshop CC for $20 a month ($10 for the first year if you're a PS CS3 user or later).

well americans get it cheaper the rest of the world has to pay more....

You're right, i noticed this right after publishing. Doesn't really address those who buy software to use it for 5-10 years though. That's the real issue.

What was the PS version number 10 years ago?

"8" ...the first version of Adobe Creative Suite.

I get the point of the article, but do you know anyone who uses a PS version before CS3? I don't.

I do.. I have CS (1). Still works, though I really only use Photoshop very rarely. I've found much better, non-rental options.

I use CS2. No need for me to upgrade to this new rip off scam!

they allow anyone to write stuff these days...

#4 is wrong and misleading. You can save files to your local hard drive as before. Many people use Creative Cloud and never save files to the cloud. It's the same as earlier pre-CC versions.

Also, Lightroom is still available for purchase --http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2013/05/lightroom-and-the-creati...

Other info: http://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud/faq.html and http://terrywhite.com/5-myths-about-adobe-creative-cloud/

That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about .psd files sir. I can't open a .psd without the software.

Actually, that's not true either. There are several non-adobe apps, both Mac and PC, that will open .psd files.

What can you do with those files after you open them? What are these "apps" you speak of?

Pixelmator can open and save PSDs with layers. http://www.pixelmator.com

So can you guarantee that Adobe will never claim Intellectual Property over opening those adobe file formats, and either force them to pay up (if they don't already, which I'm sure they do, and if so then it's a matter of how much you make them pay over the years) or shut them down outright or create a new file exclusively for the "creative cloud" oh perhaps .cc hmmmm? yah i think you can't....

This guy is the "Director of Creative Cloud Evangelism at Adobe" [its from his twitter account. He is also doing the same thing over at DPreview under the name gw8515 [his avatar pic is the same].

Evangelism is quite the apt word choice to describe what he does.

Um, he corrected him. I'm an Evangelist for Adobe too, but pointing out facts is fair, right?

Sure but since your a paid voice you should announce that first. Not doing so is dishonest and decietful

but that is adobes policy i guess.

"Evangelist for Adobe "
you should be ashamed...

I wasn't trying to hide the fact that I work for Adobe. I'm simply correcting factual errors. By the way, I'm also a professional photographer (http://tigeraerial.com) so I know both sides of this.

It is extremely telling that Adobe has a paid army of evangelists trolling the comments section on basically any relevant blog, trying to whisper in our ears that this software rental scheme is actually a good thing.

What does that tell you? Adobe knows their ship is sinking.


yep.. you can be sure that 80% of all positive postings about the adobe cloud made on blogs are from people working for adobe or payed by adobe!
look at scott kelby .. do you think he would tell you something other then that the cloud is good for you?
he is making MILLIONS of $ with teaching and promoting adobe software.

I doubt hes making millions but im quite sure his CC subscription wont ever run out

So lets see you have a financial stake in gouging the customer. As the old saying goes "their is this bridge in brooklyn ive got the deed to it say I can sell you it for a real low price im hard up right now and you can make a mint by putting a toll on it"

A con job is still a con job.

Good for you greg and your a professional as well who makes his money working for Adobe. so please dont try to pass yourself off as just another photographer like everyone else because your not. Your a hired hand.

Intelectual dishonesty at its worst

I didn't try to pass myself off as anything but what I am. I did try to hide that I work for Adobe. I also did not hide that I'm also a professional photographer. Where is the intelectual dishonesty you speak of?

Geez - can't we have an intelligent discussion about anything here? I'm trying to simply share facts. I'm not trying to tell you that it's a better deal for everyone.

By the way, I'm also collecting feedback for Adobe, but when you and others turn it into something ridiculous, your voice is lost. Be constructive and I'll help you.

You gave out info favorable to adobes selling points and didn't disclose you were a paid shill and your job is to pass out that information. THATS CALLED BEING DISHONEST!!!!!

Wow took a training session for this did you lets see you've repeatedly inferred and and bluntly stated that this new deal of Adobes is favorable to everyone. so now your blatantly lying.

You've dismissed as have other shills working for adobe anyones argument showing you that your numbers dont add up and that your deal is finamcialy shit by claiming "can't we have an intelligent discussion about anything here?" the last one I dealt with called people who complained "whiners".

By the way Love the link you posted people are taking apart that paid shills articles in the comments section beautifully as his massaged numbers dont add up at all.

intelligent with you..? i don´t think so.
you don´t even get the simplest things....

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