Fstoppers Discussion: About the Outcry Over the New Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud, in lieu of Adobe Creative Suite 7, has some great new features but also some hotly contested issues including the loss of disc support and move to a monthly payment feature for all future software. Mike Kelley, Rebecca Britt and I (Jaron Schneider) discuss what this means for creatives and why it may not be the big deal some are trying to make it out to be.

Mike, Rebecca and I all seem to be on board with where Adobe is going, but not everyone on the Fstoppers Staff is. We're hearing mixed sentiments. Some don't like the idea of "renting" software, while others love the convenience and the forward thinking Adobe is pushing.

It's an interesting debate, and one we likely won't hear the end of any time soon. What are your thoughts?

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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I still have to understand why in EU the same product costs an extra 65%, and we are not talking about physical goods where you have shipping costs, but it's the same bloody download from a server.

legal thiefs....

Because, as a business operating in a free market economy, Adobe is free to charge whatever the hell they want for their goods and services.

Dont like it? Don't buy it.

Or, I guess, whinge on the internet. That should help.

I guess you are american isn't it? It's easy to use the free market economy as a good excuse for everything, especially when you are in the "right" side, no?
If adobe was european and you were the one to be overcharged, I would seriously doubt you would have the same opinion.

I'm not American. But nice try.

I've worked for Silicon Valley software for years, and software costs more in europe for a simple reason: The structural costs of doing business are incredibly higher than in the US. It's about taxes, real estate, benefit costs, how much it costs if you have to make someone redundant. Costs of product and manual translations and printing of manuals for smaller market languages adds additional very large and significant costs. I worked for a hardware manufacturer and many places had a very high import duty - some contries in south america had 100% duty on any electronics at the time, don't know what they are now

Yes but we are not talking to set up any business in europe, they have to sell the same software from the same server, there nothing to build, nothing to create.
And still, we are not talking about a 10/15% increase, but a 65%.

Let me give you an example of the tax situation.

VAT adds as much as 25% to the cost of a product, in the US it's about 4-6% depending on the state.

The taxes a company as to pay on employee salary in France can be : 40% or more, in the US it's about 8%

Large companies like Adobe have offices throughout Europe for both sales and training. The costs add up.

Not really a balanced argument for 7 minutes of video.

I'm a video & gfx editor and I buy my software but I don't upgrade every year because most of the time the software has not evolved enough to spend more money to upgrade.
I still use CS5.5 and never felt the need to upgrade to CS6 so I can still carry on using CS5.5 till I feel like upgrading.

Try doing that with the new Adobe Creative Cloud model.

Yep, that's the rub. I love Photoshop, but I'm hanging with CS5 until, well, forever I guess. I can't afford to pay 3-4x as much for a product because Adobe wants everyone to always have the lastest junk. I jump about every 3 generations unless something major comes along. I understand that Adobe is a business that can do whatever it wants, but a lot of users CANT afford the perpetual upgrades and since the option is to lose out if you can't afford it, it'll put the breaks on for a lot of users. In the end, it could hurt Adobe. Only time will tell. I'll admit that I'm in a REALLY small niche and area, but nearly 100% of Adobe users I've talked with this week won't subscribe (about 50). If this ends up being consistant across the board, it'll be interesting.

This has nothing to do with the numbers of people that maybe pirating the CS software. It has everything to do with the amounts of monies people are able to place into a 'hobby' or they way they edit photos in their homes. The idea of placing a set amount on software and working with it at your own pace, or until the need arises to update is one thing. But to see every advancement hence forth to be reflected in tutorials, workshops, seminars..all based on whether you'll buy into this? It's crazy. This is a hobby for most people. The added per month+bandwidth+accessibility+what you will/will not buy into on cloud= Not feasible. This kid in the video who doesn't have the common sense to iron his shirt is "so excited" and we should all embrace change.. OH please !.

The guys who need to edit for a living not sitting next to connection are really going to be pissed.

CC will be cracked as any other software from adobe before.
maybe it´s even simpler to crack the CC protection then todays protection.. believe me you will see.

What I have a problem with, is that when I have bought, or upgraded the package or piece of software, in the traditional way... if I have a long period where I'm out of money, I still will be able to use the software.

With this model, I can spend a whole lot of money on a subscription, and in the end, I'll be left with nothing. My files will be locked in in a format based on software I paid to use, and I will not have a piece of software that can open my files when I am not subscribed.

Remember how well those interest-only variable rate mortgages worked out for new homebuyers? Neither do I.

Would Fstoppers be ok with Canon and Nikon requiring a monthly fee to use our gear? Plug your camera into your computer to make sure you're up to date or the firmware locks up. IT'S THE FUTURE!

I'm hoping for a really serious backlash, companies cannot turn investment spending into infinite account-drain subscriptions on any type of purchase they see fit.

I recently graduated from college and the student discounts on CS6 are what allowed me to buy it in the first place. Students are really going to hurt with this.

I agree with Alessio Michelini. I would really like to hear an explication for this the pricing strategy!


don´t be fooled into this crap!!!.

when you stop the subscription you won´t be able to use adobes proprietary file formats!!!
you can´t load AE or premiere projects for example in other software.
and if you stop paying for the cloud you don´t have working apps.... unlike today with CS.

so even when you decide to switch to, for example NUKE, you still have to pay adobe when you want to open an old project!!
you can´t just install your bought CS x version again... because you don´t have one!!

that is not a problem for TIFF files etc.. but it IS a big problem for other adobe formats!!

yes, good point. I realized yesterday that I have thousands of 16 bit layered PSD files. I was using this format to store final versions of retouched photos because I could go back and edit the layers if necessary.

Never did I imagine that Adobe would enact this abusive pricing policy towards users.

Here are the problems with the first half of the video:

A. People will still Pirate the software. Don't kid yourselves.

B. I am a professional and use this everyday, this model has its positives for sure, but it also gives professionals with very small budgets no option--ie nonprofits and educational institutions.

C. The software has been fully downloadable since CS5--diskless workflow is nothing new.

D. Adobe Anywhere for video requires an entire backend server with two racks and multiple gpu processors ( aka $$$$$)

E. I ran the numbers yesterday and educational institutions (where I work) will pay up to 2X more per seat in a two year period, depending on what level of the suite you are purchasing; some people only need the production suite vs the master collection--large price difference here in the old model--and now everyone is forced to buy either one piece of software for $240 a year or the master collection for anywhere between $360 and $720 depending on their business situation.

There is nothing wrong with the license model and there are some good things about the subscription model--but both of them work better for different users. Dropping the license model is a bad move for the consumer/professional no matter how you cut it. Why not make them the equivalent price for a set period of usage (something very close to update cycle) and if people on the license model don't want to spend the money to update they can keep using the old software until they are ready to spend the money again.

The program updates on the other hand are great. I'm excited to use them (yes I will be moving to subscription because I have to). Premiere and After Effects have some awesome new tools (and stuff we've all been missing from FPC7). Photoshops RAW as a filter is an awesome addition, cant wait to try that out!

yeh these kids in the video are to naive...

yeah, no discs/digital download is not the issue here. it's the software rental concept

you are a bunch of clueless kids.

adobe owns you when you join the cloud and you have no exist strategy.

you have to pay EVERY month as long as you want to use your proprietary adobe projects.
to use old projects you have to pay adobe... because otherwise you have no working software.

even when you don´t need new features.... you have to pay adobe.
im a nuke user today.... but when i decided to work on one of my old AE projects i can do that.
i simply install AE again. but i can´t do that with CC... with CC i had to pay again.

I don't even think I'd be able to watch the video for one very specific reason: This is a massive breakdown of the consumer/business relationship. Consumers buy and spend when it makes sense to them. This is purchasing power and it keeps business in working order.

Adobe has flatlined all possible variations of individual purchasing power into one, hard-as-nails model, where you MUST buy their upgrades WHEN they say, or you cannot get any work done. For every example given of how CC might be more affordable than CS, I've seen at least one other model based on someone else's perfectly legit spending habits (including my own) that show it costs more. This is worse than a price hike, however, because it is holding parts of our livelihoods hostage. Combine the two, and you have a huge purchasing power disadvantage, and you are ripe for the fleecing.

I don't know how the last decade has not taught anyone saying "this isn't a big deal" that when large corporations do not have any consumer recourse or competition, bad things happen. Boycott CC.

well look at these kids.. they don´t even know how to shave.
no wonder they fall for every cloud or social media crap.
brainless zombies....


I really wish government would get involved.

Microsoft has a de facto monopoly with Office. Adobe has a monopoly with Photoshop. These corporations are switching to these new software rental policies which harm the majority of consumers.

Yeah i would love to see the government come in with a anti trust law suit and split up adobe that would be great !

I think a lot of people thought Adobe products were already overpriced prior to Creative Cloud, but we had put up with it because it's the industry standard and you only had to upgrade every few years. You could usually do just fine skipping a version or two. So people didn't complain as much as they should have.

This new software rental policy is tantamount to robbery.

"Get on the train"??

Companies that have been around since before you were born have said those very words. Go and look for them now.

The market dictates products & services, not the other way around.

This is a bad idea. Just like the wrinkled shirt.

well they are making money with advertising this kind of crap.. what do you expect from them.. honesty?


There are no real alternatives to many of the programs. And Adobe knows it.

Not for much longer. They just created a demand for a new market. Good bye Adobe.

I've been using Adobe products for a living since 1997 and have been on the Cloud for about a year now. I couldn't be happier. Over the years, my employers have paid for my software, but last year I found myself of needing my own license right around the time CS6 came out. The idea that i can spend $50/month and get the entire suite of products (most of which I use) made much more sense to me than buying the entire $2000 Master Collection. I realize that I may be a rare case compared to those who only use Photoshop and Lightroom, but I would never want to go back to having to pay for the entire suite along with upgrades. If you only need Photoshop, isn't $20/month a great buy? I don't see myself needing a "way out" from Adobe. They don't own me. They enable me to produce work that I am proud of with efficiency and quality.

I don't think anyone taking issue here has a problem with CC as an option for people. I actually think it's a great thing for people like yourself who would be new license owners. I still think CC as it was last week would have been better if after a certain amount of time, the user was granted a full license, but fine, it was just an option with other alternatives, so that was ok. I thought the higher price was justified by getting access to new features sooner, and that was an ok compromise for those of us who upgraded when it made financial/workflow sense for us to do so.

For those of us who have spent a lot of money on our licenses only to find that it's a dead end and now have to spend more money than we would have for the same upgrade path, on some unknown, arbitrary schedule, and give up our perpetual license ownership, this is bullshit.

In 2003 I bought Ps7, then my life went to hell— medical issues, unemployment, divorce. Throughout that time I still used PS and only upgraded a couple of years ago. PS7 was not great, by comparison, but I knew PS and illustrator and was able to use it to keep some work and income. Because of that, I developed a loyalty to Adobe despite others encouraging me to find open source alternatives.

While I admit that I was not Adobe's ideal customer for a long while, and that I shouldn't take it personally (it is only business), this move feels like a money grab. It feels like I am being held hostage and bled dry. I get why Adobe is doing this, and I can see advantages to the subscriptions— you can essentially rent the software for a month if you don't use it regularly— but my response to this is based on my own experience. I would probably be in a different line of work and my life would be very different now if I had been forced to keep up with a subscription over the last ten years. That can't help but color my view of the company, and anyone who knows anything about branding should realize that is a problem.

"What if you bought a brand-new iMac and a month later they came out with a new one?" Answer - you still have a brand-new computer that you can keep using for several years.

"And I think the only people who are really complaining about this ... are not total working professionals." Do you mean to imply that semi-pro or casual users are not allowed to complain about this pricing structure? And by extension, that they are not allowed to use the software because they aren't totally invested in the system?

Pushing updates "to the cloud" immediately is just a tiny, tiny bit easier than online software updates (like the annoying things that pop up every three days about Adobe Flash security fixes).

You clearly did not do any pricing research, nor did you think about others outside of your narrow workflow and lifestyle.

I'd like to see a rebuttal video posted by Fstoppers who disagree with Adobe's new direction.

what if you paid monthly for your iMac and a month later a new one came out and you got the new one... that would be slightly awesome. I am in.

Then the month you decide to stop paying, you lose your computer. Oddly enough, in both scenarios you might have a hard drive with a bunch of files, but you can't open them.

This is going to blow! Adobe will not be seeing anymore of my money!

I agree

Great Article. Thanks for writing it I totally agree. I want to OWN my software. Not Rent it!

The print based subscription model will NEVER work in the digital era. Eventually, it will implode on them.

Dear Software Developers,

Adobe has made a big mistake. stop. Using CS6 for now. stop. Please use next few years to create competitive product with perpetual license. stop. Do to arrogant Adobe what Adobe did to arrogant Quark. stop.

Sincerely, your future customer.

Adobe has just created another million or so pirates with this cloud BS. Its a matter of time before this suite is cracked and made available for download. As a registered user of photoshop since 2.5 and later the creative suite, i saw no benefits of being registered. Anything i need to know about photoshop is available for free. This is another cash grab by the adobe management, what we need is a break on this unhealthy monopoly.

@Joe Bodego: Imagine those who bought CS6 on disks, they'll make a killing on Ebay selling it now. Not to mention what will happen when they'll push a bad update and blow everyone off. LOL

This commentary is utter bull. I have never pirated software nor has any of my friends and associates who are also upset over this decision. You mentioned the analogy of buying an IPad just before a new model comes out. Well if apple said they are no longer selling IPads but will rent them and if you fail to pay the required rent your rented IPad is utterly useless I don't think you would be a happy customer. Your elitist attitude that only professional commercial users matter is abhorrent. It appears that Abobe no longer cares for the avid hobbyist photographers that until this change were loyal customers.

Probably the least journalistic commentary on a new software product I have ever seen. This is worse than a Ron Popeil special. I mean seriously, did you guys get a free lifetime subscription for this completely biased video? Way to come off as the biggest shills ever.

"The Cloud" is just the next buzzword for people to fall in love with as a fad. The Adobe cloud is going to turn art into a "collaborative medium"? Yeah sure...people are going to load gigabytes upon gigabytes of D800 raw files to "the cloud" so that when I'm traveling to Taiwan I can still access all my files there?? Get real already...people are going to keep doing what they have always done; put all the files on a laptop and just take the laptop. I mean I can only hope that I get some of the same drugs these guys are taking.

And the guy on the left is worried about discs?? What decade are you living in? I'm supposed to love Creative Cloud because there are no discs I have to store? People have been selling licenses where you download the software online for YEARS...no discs. I'm amazed that this was even brought up.

I also love how the guy on the left is saying that only a "fraction of a percentage" of the people will be negatively impacted. Meanwhile outside Fantasy Island a *vast majority* of the feedback has been AWFUL....just awful.

This video is just comical at best.

First, I can appreciate Adobes desire
to achieve a more predicable revenue stream. Having worked for silicon
valley companies for years, I know the Wall Street demands on companies
to meet revenue expectations and predictability is something they


1. The price for
existing CS6 users is attractive right up until you see that it's an
intro price that expires in 1 year. Right now I pay roughly $600 every
18 months to upgrade, that comes to about $33 per month. The new plan
has me paying $49 per month after the first year. That's about a 50%
increase in expenses over the monthly adjusted price of the current
perpetual license plan.

2. There's no lock down in terms of pricing - prices can go up
at any time, that scares a lot of people. I understand the yearly
contract aspect, but I look at this in terms of the long term. With
perpetual licenses, There might not be sufficient feature / technical
reasons to upgrade to the latest and greatest, so I have to choice of
skipping a release and waiting for the next release.

3. With perpetual licensing, if there's a downturn in the
economy, it's my choice to delay purchasing the next upgrade. With the
CC plan, I have no option, I have to keep paying every month, if I
can't make a payment, I lose access to the software, which impacts my
ability to earn an income. Hardly an idea situation. Remember
professional photographers are getting squeezed on prices on a daily

Bottom line:
1. Will I try it for 1 year at $19.99 per month? Probably.
2. Will I renew it at $49.99 per month? No
3. Would I renew it if they kept the price at $29.99 beyond the first year? Yes

Other options
1. Create CC bundles that mimic the existing CS bundles with appropriate price points

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