Adobe puts all eggs into one basket, converts Creative Suite to Creative Cloud

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We knew that Adobe was adding more and more cloud-based functionality to its popular Creative Suite products with Creative Cloud, but the company dropped a big bombshell today at its MAX conference in Los Angeles: Adobe is abandoning its Creative Suite desktop software and transitioning to the subscription-only Creative Cloud offering. For users, this means you will no longer be buying or upgrading to new versions of Adobe’s design software like Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, or Premiere Pro; instead, you will pay a monthly subscription to always-updated, online-based apps, and you’ll have no choice if you want to use the latest features.

For those who aren’t familiar, Adobe’s Creative Suite is a package of professional-grade design software for print, Web, and video, currently in its sixth version, CS6. Users could purchase an entire suite of software or purchase each one individually, but the cost for new versions tend to be expensive – in the hundreds and thousands – even with discounts for upgrades and student editions. Adobe had already abandoned box copies in favor of online downloads. Creative Cloud was launched last April and, according to Adobe, already has half a million users. With Creative Cloud, users will pay $50 a month; $30 a month for the first year if have a serial number for CS3 or higher; or $20 per application. There’s also special pricing for multiple users and education users. According to The Next Web, Adobe will still sell CS6 hardcopies for now, but don’t expect anything more than bug fixes and OS compatibility or CS7; for new features, you’ll have to head to the cloud. 

The programs themselves will remain the same in terms of design and use (they’ll be branded CC instead of CS moving forward), however, Adobe has created new updates that will only be available to Creative Cloud users. Photoshop gets the biggest upgrade with Adobe combining both Photoshop and Photoshop Extended into one program. Photoshop will also implement Camera Shake Reduction it demoed last month, which lets users “un-blur” an image due to camera vibrations when handholding. Other new Photoshop features include Smart Sharpen tool for reducing image noise and an Advanced Healing Brush; users can also post files straight to Behance, an online creative community Adobe acquired last year. Click here to see all the new changes, including those to Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, TypeKit, and more. These new versions will launch on June 17.

As The Next Web points out, there are a few reasons for Adobe’s move. One is that the company has been seeking stable revenue; getting users to continuously upgrade to new expensive versions is a challenge. The other is to combat piracy, since Adobe software is one of the more popular programs to be copied. With Creative Cloud, Adobe will have to spend less on digital rights management (DRM) software to authenticate. There could be backlash from users, particularly those who have invested heavily in the suites or those who don’t have easy access to cloud-based platforms, but the benefits include cost savings (although that depends on a customer’s usage, whether they upgrade often or if they use the entire suite or individual programs), the ability to access the software and files from anywhere, and team collaboration.

(Images and videos via Adobe)

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