back to article Adobe: We locked our customers in the cloud and out poured money

Reassuringly expensive software maker Adobe is laughing all the way to the bank after shunting more of its customers into the cloud - like they had any choice in the matter. The company closed off fiscal ’15 ended 27 November with Q4 revenue of $1.31bn, up 22 per cent year-on-year, driven by a 44 per cent hike in subscriptions …

  1. chivo243 Silver badge

    Legal extortion works!

    See, we put a gun to their heads, and they paid!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Legal extortion works!

      While I hate Adobe lovingly, your analogy is absolutely wrong. After all, with Adobe gun to your head, you CAN smile at them and walk away. Now, with a real gun...

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Legal extortion works!


        that's a nice .indd file you have there. It would be a shame if you couldn't work on them anymore. So, can I expect your payment by Monday? With interest.

        1. Danny 14

          Re: Legal extortion works!

          Well they didnt get my money. Our 5k per year site license was going to work out at 19k due to the new model so we canceled it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Legal extortion works!

      "See, we put a gun to their heads, and they paid!"

      Hardly news. Oracle have been doing it for longer.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not really cloudy

    There’s money in them there clouds, it seems.

    There's certainly money in forcing customers reliant on feature-mature products onto subscriptions rather than outright purchase, it seems. But there's nothing very cloudy or web-based about Adobe's offerings.

    1. L05ER

      Re: Not really cloudy

      I'm glad it was a feature-mature product... I still use cs6, and can't see any reason to ever subscribe. I'll keep a win7 box running forever if I have to.

      1. John Sanders
        Thumb Up

        Re: Not really cloudy

        It runs on wine-stagging almost perfectly.

    2. Lusty

      Re: Not really cloudy

      You have to wonder though, how much of the extra revenue is actually coming from home users buying a month here and there who never would have bought a boxed product. I only use it occasionally and a few quid now and then is much easier to swallow than hundreds.

      Of course, the reality may be that they priced it too high and made a fat wedge, but it's possible that some of that is new business from former pirates.

      1. Naselus

        Re: Not really cloudy

        "You have to wonder though, how much of the extra revenue is actually coming from home users buying a month here and there who never would have bought a boxed product."

        Not much, I'd guess. Most of it is going to come from corporate design houses who now have to pay 3-4 times as much for the software that they were already using day-to-day.

        I wouldn't mind... but there's no real advantage over CS6, as near as I can tell. The 'cloud dashboard' has all the functionality of Wordpress in 2006, the cloud version of Acrobat borders on unusable, deployment is actually painful (we had to raise support calls with 2 separate third parties for Adobe's arcane AD lookup, since LDAP isn't good enough for them for some reason), and you still have to deal with Adobe's own sociopathically aggressive support staff who will gladly tell you that any given problem that only affects their programs is caused by literally anything else (even if the only thing the various machines affected have in common is the presence of Adobe products - even if they're on different OSes).

        The sooner an open-source alternative can catch up, the better. Adobe products haven't really advanced in any meaningful way for about 10 years.

    3. John Geek

      Re: Not really cloudy

      its the LICENSE thats cloudy, not the product. well, if you talk to marketing, the license IS the product, all that software is just a pesky annoyance.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "things have clearly settled down"

    Yes, I believe that's called the coma after the aneurysm.

    It is obvious that what Adobe did resulted in more profit ; Adobe's customers are practically co-joined from the hip to Adobe's products given that the competition is not exactly either ferocious on the market or up to par where competition there is.

    Open source, from what I've heard, is stepping up its game, but it's not there yet as far as the professionals are concerned. So the professionals had their hissy fit, then complied with many a grumble and regret.

    Adobe is celebrating that as a victory, but the day there is another viable solution, Adobe just might see its revenue tank and wonder why. If so, the why is simple : it's never a good idea to force your customers into anything, you encourage them with incentives.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: "things have clearly settled down"

      "the coma after the aneurysm."

      As I reach for the screen cleaner!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "things have clearly settled down"@ Pascal Monett

      I never thought I'd read a post on the Reg, and think "what an incredibly eloquent prose, its almost a work of beauty in itself". But today is that day.

      Note to any prospective grammar nazis: Grammar is for nazis.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        @ Ledswinger

        Obviously, such praise requires thanks.

        I am quite flattered.

        I do believe now is the time to leave stage right, else I dilute the moment.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "things have clearly settled down"

      "it's never a good idea to force your customers into anything, you encourage them with incentives."

      Larry Ellison says "I'm sorry, I can't hear your great advice from the top of this huge pile of 49 billion dollars I got from locking my customers in and screwing them over!"

      (Rough guide as to what that might look like in $100 bills).

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: "things have clearly settled down"

        And MS seems to be headed that way... Office365... sometime in the near future with Win10, etc. Corel has already headed there as have many others.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Pascal Monett - Re: "things have clearly settled down"

      No, there will never be another viable solution. This was the critical moment and if Adobe products users have swallowed this it is clear enough they will take any abuse form now on.

      I am personally delighted and I consider they deserve this entirely because each time alternatives were discussed they would scoff at them.

      Now, everybody, check out Windows as a service to see where you're all being herded. Don't bother looking for an exit because you have missed it long time ago!

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: "there will never be another viable solution"

        This is the Age Of Internet.

        Never Say Never.

        Come on, are we capitalists or not ? Adobe certainly has developed a metric ton of expertise and functionality, but that is nothing that the Internet cannot take on and overcome. We're not talking about Google, which has invested billions in its search engine and has harvested #Deity only knows how much data. Microsoft is currently demonstrating how hard it is, and how much it costs, to become a Google competitor.

        We're talking about a program that can create and edit images. Any number of mathematicians get together and they can very well create a program that will crush Adobe's product.

        It may not be easy, but it certainly won't require the kind of cash needed for a data center. It will only require a collaborative effort, the likes of which Linux has already largely demonstrated is possible.

      2. SImon Hobson

        Re: @Pascal Monett - "things have clearly settled down"

        > No, there will never be another viable solution

        Never is a long time in computing. It may be a long time coming, but over time you can be sure that two things will happen :

        1) People will get fed up of paying the ransom

        2) People will find ways of reducing their dependency.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "things have clearly settled down"

      "Adobe is celebrating that as a victory, but the day there is another viable solution, Adobe just might see its revenue tank and wonder why. If so, the why is simple : it's never a good idea to force your customers into anything, you encourage them with incentives."

      That's why you corner the market and make everyone dependent on you. You raise the barrier of entry and create a de facto monopoly that's tough to beat. And in Adobe's case, they have quite a bit going for them. There are no alternatives for video directing that are as well-constructed as Premiere and After Effects, and while GIMP is making inroads on the veteran Photoshop, the whole culture built around the veteran is very hard to duplicate, especially when it comes to add-ons. Plus Adobe's working hard to integrate all the applications together so that one can transition between them, making the solution more a gestalt that pretty much requires another all-in-one to duplicate, and once there's one big player in the market, it's rare for a second one to emerge since the incumbent can act against it. That's just how it is with captive markets.

      1. DaLo

        Re: "things have clearly settled down"

        Quark Xpress was defacto in the industry. It was impossible to prise it out of the designer/printer/page layout person's hands.

        Indesign came along and bam - within a few years it had unsurped Quark.

        If it could happen once, it can easily happen again.

    6. a_yank_lurker

      Re: "things have clearly settled down"

      Adobe on the cloud is giving many a good reason to look for alternatives. The key is Adobe has feature mature products which are not likely a must have feature soon.

    7. paddy carroll 1

      Re: "things have clearly settled down"


      I deleted creative cloud from all my systems 2 months ago. I will make do with the alternatives.

      1. John Sanders

        Re: "things have clearly settled down"

        The all the alternatives are currently in the process of improving "in magnitudes"

        Adobe inadvertently has opened a market

    8. John Sanders

      Re: "things have clearly settled down"

      The detail that I find most amusing is the fact that this is no cloud at all, this is a subscription driven software with online-forced DRM checks.

      The applications in the suite are all regular win32 or win64 aplication that runs on your computer. (office 365 does the same) they add some "cloud" (online) storage I'm aware of that, and some other service no one asked for.

  4. 45RPM Silver badge

    There is an alternative…

    If you don’t like being locked into the cloud, there is a viable alternative - and I speak as one who not only once used Photoshop and Illustrator, but was also paid to teach other people how to use it.

    Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer are both viable alternatives, and they require remarkably little in the way of retraining in order to use. Sure, there’s some functionality missing - but since the missing functionality is largely in the field of automation (building panoramas and so forth) it’s stuff that you may be able to do without. Personally, I’m happy to make do without and abandon the subscription model at the same time. I’m sure that Serif will be adding in the missing functionality in future versions (fingers crossed).

    Adobe does still have one worthwhile tool - Brackets. That one’s free. Download it now.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: There is an alternative…

      There seems to ba a couple of Adobe Fanbois here :)

      I totally agree with you.

      When they moved Photoshop to Subscription I said No and kept my wallet firmly shit.

      I did buy a new version of Lightroom as I was on V4 it was time to move to V6.

      I'm evaluating a few products that can replace full blown Photoshop.

      When I am done with that then it will be over to a Lightroom replacement. I need something that can work as a library to some 520K images( all taken with DSLR's since I went digital in 2002). If/when I find that then Adobe will be a thing of the past as fas as I'm concerned.

      Good riddance to bad rubbish.

      1. VinceH

        Re: There is an alternative…

        Just buy yourself a new wallet - then it won't be shit any more, firmly or otherwise. :p

      2. 45RPM Silver badge

        Re: There is an alternative…

        @Steve Davies 3

        Fanboys everywhere on el Reg. It's a very partisan site.

        I know that there are people who still swear by Adobe - my sister's business for one, and she's happy with the subscription model. I'm not even saying that the subscription model is bead for everyone - just that it's bad for me. I like to have a perpetual licence.

        I like the way that JetBrains do it - you buy a subscription and, after each year, your license changes to being perpetual for the major version that was current when the year's subscription started/renewed for you. If Adobe did that too I'd have no quarrel with their subscription model.

      3. FatGerman

        Re: There is an alternative…

        Completely this. As soon as Affinity make a Lightroom equivalent I'm off. I'm assuming they're working on one, they'd be mad not to.

        I make money from Photography and Lightroom is part of my workflow (an essential part) but - and OK I haven't researched it much because it just sounded like a shit idea from the start but - RENTING the software I use for my business? And it not working when I'm not online? Are you MAD? Apparently so.

        People have switched to creative cloud because they have no choice. When Lightroom 6 came out I searched for links to a 'Standalone' version, but despite finding links and following them I was never able to actually download a product. This is the point at which I would normally do my Dr Evil impression while saying "Another customer lost, Adobe", but given this news I'm sure they don't give a shit. What a wunch of bankers.

        1. John Geek

          Re: There is an alternative…

          problem with a lightroom equivalent (and there's a pretty decent one, DarkTable, free open source) is that if they aren't EXACTLY like lightroom, your existing libraries of albums are tied to LR and won't import well into anything else, Surely you're not going back and re-editing your entire 5 years of photos again, right? I know I won't. Yet sometimes I go back and dig out an old album and refine it some more,

      4. Naselus

        Re: There is an alternative…

        "There seems to ba a couple of Adobe Fanbois here :)"

        I for one don't believe there's any such thing as an Adobe fan. Just people with severe Stockholm syndrome.

        But really, the alternatives aren't alternatives. Adobe products are industry standard, and our clients expect psds and indds. If we open stuff up and edit in GIMP, then it can bork PS formatting. I've tried , repeatedly, to offer open source alternatives to standard CC products, but the lock-in goes beyond individual companies and actually covers whole sectors of industry - it's much like how you couldn't send out docs made in Open Office ten years ago, because no-one could open them and Word would screw up the formatting if you did. Everyone was using MS Office because everyone else was using MS Office.

        Adobe's monopoly is bad for the industry, and the sooner someone breaks it the better... but overwhelmingly, designers aren't going to accept other programs unless they're both identical in functionality and completely seamless in their interaction with existing Adobe file formats. And nothing offers either of those things yet.

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: There is an alternative…

      "Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer are both viable alternatives.."

      Mac only. So that's several years worth of cloud licences there. :(

    3. AntoniusSpudulicus

      Re: There is an alternative…

      "they require remarkably little in the way of retraining in order to use."

      Apart from the cost of buying a Mac to do so.

    4. noj

      Re: There is an alternative…

      I willingly pay for my copy of any software product. But I don't care to lease software from anyone.

      A big upvote for your comment on Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer. I only had Adobe CC to use Photoshop and have removed it; I only use Affinity Photo now. Serif is coming out with a layout product that will probably replace my old InDesign. I'm hoping Serif will work on a replacement for Acrobat as well.

      BTW: Affinity Photo panorama is available in beta. ;)

  5. 2460 Something

    I really am surprised the the sue bat has yet to be deployed. Taking a product suite that is central to a good number of businesses, with very few realistic alternatives, making it more expensive, and even removing the ability to actually use a copy of the product once the protection money stop being paid is an utterly disgusting abuse of a monopoly position.

    Yet all the bean counters see is $$ flashing in front of their eyes. Every other software vendor is looking on in jealousy and wondering how quickly they can turn their offerings into subscription based affairs to screw more from their customers.

    1. Ian Watkinson

      What would you sue adobe for, making a new version? They didn't remove any functionality from their suite. They didn't make the last version a shorter timescale for support. Arguably they decided to let their customers know that their business model was changing, they released a major upgrade to it, said this will be the last, but given that some people had been quite happily running on CS2 for a number of years, and not everyone upgraded every year, gave customer 2-3 years notice.

      If your business can't deal with it's tooling prices going up, then don't upgrade, buy CS6 today and use it out of the cloud.

      Or, you know do what the rest of us do, look at the alternatives, evaluate them, work out if they are better for you, buy them and train again.

      There are loads of alternatives to the CS suite, so they are hardly a monopoly.

      Key to their turn around I suspect is that businesses had to sort their licences out, and it's not easy to pirate a cloud.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Removed functionality

        Actually they removed the oil paint feature which made some people very upset

      2. Naselus

        "What would you sue adobe for, making a new version?"

        It's America, you can sue anyone for anything! :D

    2. Amorous Cowherder

      Wise up to the facts

      "making it more expensive" - As a semi-pro photographer it's a darn sight cheaper. Were it possible, PS and LR would cost me around £750 for aboxed copy, for which I get no upgrades and I'm tied to using and registering just a single copy of the software, it still has to phone home, granted it only does this during installs and uninstalls.

      With CC I get to install the software on 2 separate machines ( I have one copy on Windows and the other on my Macbook ), I get constant upgrades and patches every few weeks all for just for £8/month. It simply needs to phone home once every 30 days. So I get 6-7 years of use for the same money but I get patches and upgrades. My files don't stop working just the software gets switched off, that's shite FUD people spread. Your PSDs don't stop working! Personally I only work in TiFF format, never PSD so I can take my files and bugger off to GIMP or Affinity if I like if I ever get tired of Adobe.

      "and even removing the ability to actually use a copy of the product once the protection money stop being paid" - Yes but the Adobe software has always had to phone home during installation and if you want to uninstall/reinstall the software it has to phone home to unregister and re-register itself. With the huge disadvantage that I could only use a single copy for your £700 spend. At least with CC I only have to "phone it in" once a month.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wise up to the facts

        And when your £8/month turns into £20/month what then eh?

        As for phoning home once a month... My cousin was on board a ship studying marine life in the seas around South Georgia. They were at sea for two months. Sat networks were very restricted and expensive. No way could they download any updates.

        Some of his colleagues were well and truly stuffed becaise of the 30day call to the mothership thing.

        Luckily his copy of CS6 came to the rescue.

        Still want to vote in favor of subscriptions? What if you went off grid for more than 30 days eh?

      2. x 7

        Re: Wise up to the facts

        " the Adobe software has always had to phone home "

        not if you set "hosts" to resolve as

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wise up to the facts

        Even the boxed version of Lightroom (don't know about Photoshop) allows for two installs on two separate devices (as long as only one is in use at a time). It does "phone home" to check for upgrades, but you can disable it and it won't stop working if it can't.

  6. TaabuTheCat

    Want this to change? Support the alternatives.

    Seriously, invest a couple of bucks in alternatives like Affinity, Pixelmator, Corel, etc. Even if they aren't Photoshop equals (yet), we need to encourage and support these developers so that we have options - including telling Adobe to get stuffed. Otherwise a few years from now Adobe will be all that's left, and then watch what happens to the subscription price.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Want this to change? Support the alternatives.

      Corel isn't a good choice in this as they're now into "subscription" and "cloudiness". I needed Corel for a hobby and found X6 still available in one time purchase download. X7 is subscription based.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Want this to change? Support the alternatives.

      I was a long time user of Paint Shop Pro, but Corel turned it into real crappiness. Stopped upgrading it after I bought X3 - and it also installed strange processes that continuosly scanned my hard drive (and no, there were no way to not install them). With competitor like this Adobe sleeps on gold.

      Affinity looks a far better alternative, but being Mac only it's not what I need.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Reassuringly expensive software maker Adobe is laughing all the way to the bank after shunting more of its customers into the cloud - like they had any choice in the matter."

    There was a choice, and I took it. Losing Photoshop after 20 years fucking hurt; but there are alternatives that are almost as good (for my purposes, although I'm still looking for a decent GIF animator, ideally FOSS) and don't come with the toxicity.

    Going cold turkey was not painless; but there isn't a single Adobe product on my machine; no irritatingly frequent reminders popping up unbidden that you're Adobe's bitch and you are going to do things their way or else; and as a bonus, I'm several thousand times less likely to get hacked.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well done for persevering.

      I did too, although I was only a light user - it wasn't too painful, payed off in the end. (bonus: no longer need Windows)

      I never did understand what Photoshop's "killer features" where, apart from familiarity and de-facto standard.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Photoshop was always considerably ahead of the competition; but 'de-facto standard' is a big part of it too...even now, if you can't play with .PSD you are simply not in the game: Clients want working files and they want them to be PSD. Plus you sometimes have to shiny up old files and they'll be PSD too. Also there's the force of habit thing...if you've used a program over an extended period of time you get used to certain ways of doing things and anything different is going to be a pain in the arse.

        PSD handling is a big part of the reason for my particular choice of substitute; and there's a linux version too, which ties in with my longish-term goal of ditching Windows as well.

    2. The_Idiot

      Re: Bloom

      If Bloom would release a USB Portable version - or even answer the email I sent them some time back asking if it ever might happen - I'd buy a copy today. Sigh...

      And yes. I know Photoshop was never USB Portable. But I don't always have admin rights when I sit down, so I'm still GIMP-ing and from USB in those case...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bloom

        Photoshop was never portable...officially. Maybe you could try online editors (not really my thing so don't have URLs; but I've read about some quite promising ones); or possibly making yourself a Tails DVD with whatever you need to function included.

    3. DiViDeD

      @moiety. Gif Animators

      Wasn't there a gif animator in PSP in the old Jasc days (before Corel got their claws into it and turned it into the lumbering beast it is today) that eventually got hurled out into the FOSS arena? Animation Shop or somesuch. It's been a long time, but I remember hours of fun with it in the early days (you are on day 837 of your 30 day trial).

      Of course, it might be too lightweight for your purposes, and I have no idea where you'd get hold of a copy ( maybe?)

      In fact I don't know why I brought it up. As you were.

  8. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Lets face facts - the only reason they went to a subscriber model was that more than 75% of Photoshop being used was a pirated version. Subscribers can't pirate. Their userbase probably hasn't increased that much but their legitimate users have.

    1. Jason 24

      More than likely, I've had entire departments of web developers at companies making very good money using pirated Adobe throughout.

      I priced up the legit stuff and got laughed out of the owners office.

      Yet when someone asked for an installable local copy of the software they created they refused on the grounds it might be pirated.

      1. karlp


        While I am no fan of Adobe, I haven't walked in on a single pirated copy of Adobe in the past year. Everyone who is anyone seems to have decided that 50$/mo/seat was simply the cost of doing business and signed up.

        While I doubt the move to CreativeCloud has made any substantial dent in the pirated copies among the casual-personal user crowd, there is no doubt that the move to an OpEx friendly accounting model has given a palatable on-ramp to many chronically under-licensed businesses.

        1. karlp

          Which brings up another point..... Companies which are trying to compete with subscription offerings better have a financing plan in place for the target company before they make a pitch.

          In the past few years I haven't seen a capex/opex argument win towards the capex side when the payoff is 3+ years down the line and the vendor didn't give financing options in the same breath as the price.

          Seriously, the move to "cloud" or "subscription" products has much less to do with everyone wanting to lock you in and more to do with the customers dictating they need to pay as it makes sense with their own revenue stream.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Everyone who is anyone seems to have decided that 50$/mo/seat was simply the cost of doing business and signed up.

          For a design firm, that's fuck all, for your main tool. It would cost more to have a meeting about whether or not they should pay for it.

          For an indie, it's a bit of a piss take.

          1. CADmonkey

            re: For an indie, it's a bit of a piss take.

            By 'indie' you mean a fucking pirate chancer, don't you? You make a buck, you pay your dues.

            1. Naselus

              Re: re: For an indie, it's a bit of a piss take.

              "By 'indie' you mean a fucking pirate chancer, don't you?"

              Or he means 'someone who makes only a small amount of money from deign work a month'. If you're only making $400 a month from design work, giving $50 or it to Adobe for the right to use a tool for 8 hours of that month hurts a lot. I know a few indy designers who are desperately micro-managing their subscription because there's some months when they have enough work to afford it, and other months when they don't; if you can't get 3-4 jobs on in one month then it's not worth it.

              1. CADmonkey

                Re: re: For an indie, it's a bit of a piss take.

                Whether you're a plumber or an artist, you either paid for your tools or you didn't.

                Does your hypothetical struggling artist drink $50 of coffee a month?

                1. Charles 9

                  Re: re: For an indie, it's a bit of a piss take.

                  Last I checked, plumbers don't rent their wrenches and painters don't rent their canvas.

                  As for the struggling artist, don't forget the rent/property taxes, the groceries, and the utilities (particularly in this case electricity and Internet access) among other things.

    2. Amorous Cowherder

      Didn't work! From my observations of the supply sites, there seems to be even more effort to "release" the CC versions from their shackles than the boxed versions that came before!

    3. Barbarian At the Gates

      Adobe's move got some people/organizations to become more...diligent....about purchasing licences for software they were using. The "cloud" moniker is rather poorly applied here, but I suppose from a marketing point of view, they couldn't call it the Creative License Enforcement Suite.

  9. NotBob

    There's gold in

    screwing your customer base after they're locked in

  10. Natalie Gritpants

    Welcome to my world

    Or rather my employers world. In EDA and using Synopsys, VCS, NCsim etc. They are not cloudy but they are licensed (and mighty expensive)

  11. PhoenixRevealed

    The cloud is for storing data, not running apps.

    It will be a frigid day in Hades before I rely on any software that I have to pay for in perpetuity to be able to access my legacy files in the future.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The cloud is for storing data, not running apps.

      Well, the Ninth Circle is full of ice, last I read, so you may not have much of a choice anymore. Either cough up or go without. Unless you want to try to build your own solution from scratch...

      1. DavCrav

        Re: The cloud is for storing data, not running apps.

        "Well, the Ninth Circle is full of ice, last I read"

        You misread. It's full of Vanilla Ice.

  12. Hollerith 1

    Cloud at work, clapped out old copy at home

    I wouldn't go cloud, so have hung onto my very old CS copy of Photoshop. When I've needed something like Illustrator, InDesign, etc, I have found cheap or free versions that do pretty much all I want.

    Now I'm in a job where I just PS a lot, and of course am on the CC version. I've lost some effects I liked, got a lot of stuff I don't use, and on the whole am not convinced I'll need it in my semi-pro personal work. When and if my clapped-out personal copy dies, I'll check out Affinity.

    It's the bad taste from being locked in that I don't like.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Cloud at work, clapped out old copy at home

      I rarely use any of them, but my workstation still has CS5 or 5.5. I'm not a fan of subscription or die, but if you are a legit house, and use the Adobe suite, as someone already said, it's the cost of doing business.

      I wonder how many companies have factored this into their pricing?

    2. Havin_it

      Re: Cloud at work, clapped out old copy at home

      Pfah! 7.0.1 over here, in a VM along with my Macromedia Studio MX Plus. Everything thereafter was but fluff. (No, not "butt-fluff"... well, actually ...)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Of course there is a choice. I decided that Acrobat Pro was too expensive, and will find a third party editor.

  14. Barry Rueger

    Where are the GIMP fan boys?

    I'm astonished that no-one has jumped in yet to claim that the GIMP is a viable alternative to Photoshop.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where are the GIMP fan boys?

      Maybe they've realized they were wrong all along?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC - Re: Where are the GIMP fan boys?

        Why wold they be wrong ? Are you trying to tell us here that unpaid GIMP developers failed to give you for free a product having the same quality as Adobe PS ? Let's not be silly, shall we ?!

    2. FatGerman

      Re: Where are the GIMP fan boys?

      GIMP isn't even a viable alternative to MS Paint. I know, I use it every bloody day.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @FatGerman - Re: Where are the GIMP fan boys?

        Which one of them are you using ? It's not clear to me, if you use MS Paint how comes you know about GIMP and if you're using GIMP why do you bother mentioning MS Paint ?

    3. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

      Re: Where are the GIMP fan boys?

      GIMP is usable for simple edits but it needs a number of upgrades before it is even the equivalent of PaintShopPro. (The biggest need is for a good user manual - the existing help files are nothing like enough.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Duncan Macdonald - Re: Where are the GIMP fan boys?

        Then pay Adobe the monthly fee and let's all be friends. What is it that keeps you from sleeping at night ?

      2. Chika

        Re: Where are the GIMP fan boys?

        So what about Inkscape? I know one person that uses it quite a lot (no, not me. I have used it but I'm hardly a professional in that respect).

        1. Havin_it

          @Chika Re: Where are the GIMP fan boys?

          Bit of a different beast, old stick. Vector editor, more up Illustrator's Strasse if anything. Not bad kit, the tracer tool and PDF import have been handy to me on occasion, but I find some of the vector manipulation tool UIs awfully fiddly, nested groupings of objects can be a right mare to pick through, and it doesn't speak CMYK (this is also GIMP's Achilles heel).

          Great fun for doodling around in, but not a pro tool as yet. Very much the Illustrator to GIMP's Photoshop.

          1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

            Re: @Chika Where are the GIMP fan boys?

            Inkscape is a huge learning curve for anyone used to Illustrator and I find its approach unintuitive. I keep having a go, but when you know it's lacking CMYK and multi-page files, why bother?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Barry Rueger - Re: Where are the GIMP fan boys?

      Annoyed much by having to pay for the half you get for free with GIMP ?

    5. Mage

      Re: Where are the GIMP fan boys?

      Future Alternatives: Paint Shop pro had promise at Ver 7.

      Corel bought it and messed it up.

      Gimp isn't as bad as it used to be, but I'm going to see can I install PSP7 on WINE!

      There does seem to be some alternative to Adobe Ransomeware for some people.

  15. BitDr

    Fund FOSS then...

    Get together as a group, make up a list of features you must have that are missing from something like, oh, say the GIMP, and then fund the development of those features. Write off the costs as R&D, and you will have your software, as many copies as you need on as many machines as you need, FOREVER.

    Buh-bye Adobe.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fund FOSS then...

      Not necessarily. Adobe can continue to innovate with things like cross-app integration and better add-on support from professional houses. Plus as OS's progress, old versions may stop working.

      Put it this way. There's a good reason why we'll probably never see a mature substitute for Windows the way ReactOS claims: they're chasing a constantly-moving target. And I can't jump to Linux because hardware and software support for my config is lacking (random reboots plus most games are Windows-only).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fund FOSS then...

      Unluckily, it doesn't workk so easily. Especially when it's not just a matter of mapower, but you also need higly specialized skills - and those having them can get nice wages working in companies like Adobe... also ensuring everything work flawlessy in professional imaging workflows requires some expensive resources.

      What you would need is some big company that for some reason need such a product but it's not its core business, so it can fund development of it and pouring into it not only money, but also the required skilled people. But I won't bet on it... even the mighty Apple stopped development of products like Aperture.

  16. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    You say "cloud" I say mainframe.

    And mainframe software was always extortionate to buy.

    And the rental always kept going up.

    Welcome to the future.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You say "cloud" I say mainframe.

      I remember how much that all cost, especially what government agencies were extorted. Well why not greet the next iteration of the grand dance. Everything old is new again.

      [I also got to live through the "democratization" of these tools which resulted in far greater profits to those that sold more inexpensive but generally capable tools to all and sundry.]

  17. WolfFan Silver badge

    Adobe wants $60/month

    They're not getting it from me.

    I have not moved to Creative Cloud. I still have CS 5.5 on Mac and 6 on Windows. When they stop working, I'll move to Affinity's products on Mac and just stop doing graphics work on Windows. Affinity's products cost $40 or so each, or less than one month's rent for CC. I'm learning how to use them while using CS, until CS finally dies. Those who went with CC have already paid more than I paid for CS 5.5, and CS 5.5 is still working.

  18. s. pam
    Thumb Down

    Now, FLUSH Flash

    If you're really wanting to make some money Adobe, FLUSH Flash and see customers return.

    The Ebola virus of network security nightmares ='s I won't spend a pence with you until you do.

  19. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Short view?

    They may have all the existing users by the nuts, but what about new people with no portfolio committed?

    I can believe a dramatic change in Adobe's fortunes in a few years time.

    1. Charles 9

      Re: Short view?

      Nope, because the newcomers have to associate with the incumbents, and guess who has their nuts. It's like writers and Word. Many would like to get away from it, but to get their stuff published, they have to go through the editors, and the editors swear by Word due to its annotation features. So if the only way to town is across a frozen river, you better learn to ice skate.

      1. Kiwi

        Re: Short view?

        Nope, because the newcomers have to associate with the incumbents, and guess who has their nuts.

        Not even slightly a problem, except that (last I checked) Gimp doesn't talk CMYK. When I am doing something for someone else (which is rare, I am not a graphics person but I do know how to do some things), where I can I work with more widely acceptable formats if I can, eg if I'm doing website graphics them I'm only going to be saving to png/jpg/gif (depending on requirements).

        On the odd occasion I need to pass stuff out to someone who uses photoshop, in which case I export the file to the poorer & sadly deluded format. Not one time (only a handful) has there been issues, in fact often the other people have thought I owned photoshop. Which I think I do actually, but found the learning curve greater than the time taken with Gimp to do what I need, which isn't much.

  20. Bob Dole (tm)

    We signed up for a cloud account with adobe for photoshop. A few weeks ago I spent about 3 hours trying to to shut it down as we no longer need it. I gave up. This article reminds me that I need to spend some more time on this.

    I imagine they have a large number of accounts like that. People paying every month and no one knows if it's being used or not.

  21. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Meanwhile, in another industry

    There was a piece of software with basically no competitors. It was the only thing that did the job and had a huge range of 3rd party plugins from all the major players in that market.

    They started charging an annual subscription of around £1000.

    There are now five competing products, all of which are both better and cheaper - and offer perpetual licence options with free updates.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile, in another industry

      But how many have the third-party plugin support that locks many in?

  22. tempemeaty
    Big Brother

    Small fries take a hit

    Even some studios retain relationships with independent artists to cover styles not done in house for add and art work. I would have liked to see more push back by the larger media industry to protect those independents who often live on a shoe string and are harmed by Adobe's new Photoshop monthly payment scheme.

  23. joed

    good times

    I'm no fan of renting and idea of chasing great new features at great expense does not sound convincing to me. But I'd agree that for a short term gig type of business this makes perfect sense - pay only for what you use and drop it when business is down or alternative shows up (we'll see Adobe's revenue the next economic downturn). Not sure how much it takes to terminate the service - if it resembled Comcast's experience I'd stay away.

    Yet it seems that it's the bigger, established businesses that have no problem burning money in monthly/yearly allotments - supposedly it's better from financial/tax perspective than owning some assets. Obviously, access to new features is a must (even if no user can utilize them).

    I have no idea why some hobbyists fall for it though. I guess it's the same like with O365 subscriptions - it's only 10$ a month they say (well, for me it's a waste of 120$ a year).

    It's sort of like with all you can eat buffet - looks like a great deal until you realize that moderation is not only cheaper but a healthier choice.

  24. DougMac

    Helps the bottom line when they also take away all discounts

    Prior to this year, it was fairly regular to have heavily discounted renew costs all the time.

    This year they supposedly implemented a plan to never offer discounts again.

    About that renewal you only paid half for last year. Yeah, its full price this year. So sorry your budget is blown out of the water.

  25. mikeauknz

    To the President and CEO of Adobe - Shantanu Narayen,

    Your recent comment this week needs adjustment from

    “We locked our customers in the cloud and out poured money Profits double after shift to software subscriptions”

    The Update is the wheels are actually falling of the cash cow of Adobe ref Premiere Pro Nov Release

    The purpose of this letter it to notify you directly of our campaign to be called

    NOGAF in Reality about the clients within Adobe or the Cloud Base team.

    The reality is Adobe Premier Pro Nov Update – Cripples PP Pro and Windows 10

    This has effected 10,000s of Adobe Clients and is being ignored by incompetent people

    Which by the way you Shantanu now claim not to be unware of..

    This smacks of the VW Golf response from the BMW Owners

    The reality is that to this day Adobe is still encouraging users to update to a known defective release which they cannot recover from.

    This release NOV is a known error producing faulty update this requiring a strip down and reload of the entire PC from Window 10 up and the cleaning of the c drive by reformatting it.

    Converting back to a previous Adobe Premiere version as they claim fails to correct the damage done inside Windows 10 and as no revision of the current faulty release has been provided Adobe is knowingly pass off of the problems by way of a sleek PR campaign being run by their customer support teams and encouraging further problems which is misleading and deceptive to the users and clients.

    The reality is Adobe is operating a covert stealth operation similar to VW Golf in attempting this cover up.

    By following each individual on several forums there is a clear and misleading pattern and practice been undertake by Adobe towards the paying clients which they have exposure to from a class action for damages for.

    Regarding the deception and venerability and misleading responses to its client base that since it released the latest update in Nov.

    This is effecting many users and has been extremely costly both in terms of damage and loss of profits.

    Adobe Comment toward the problem was simply busk passing to another team who pass it on with a suggested reload of the previous version which fails.

    Michael Packer

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh, fine and dandy. Have you CC'd this letter to an Attorney General as well, given that what you claim could be considered criminal in nature?

      1. CADmonkey

        Crimes against punctuation, grammar and spelling at least...

  26. keithpeter Silver badge

    student pricing and bundling

    UK student pricing seems to be £15+ per month for the CS (a small percentage of the students I teach Maths to use Illustrator as part of their main course). That is OK for University students I suspect (Beer token use much higher) but seems kind of large for a 16 year old on a College course. We all know that to become *fluent* with a package you need to spend time with it.

    Any views on the runability of an older offline version of CS/Illustrator under Win 7/Win10? Can these still be (legally) bought? We are talking about basic fluency with the interface here not the latest bleeding edge effects or industrial grade workflows.

    Bundling: if I've read the UK adobe page correctly, it seems that you either get Photoshop OR the whole CS. You can't just have Illustrator.

    1. Robert Sneddon

      Adobe Creative Suite 2

      A couple of years ago Adobe shut down their registration servers for Creative Suite 2 and published universal keys for users still working with the several-generations-out-of-date software suite. About five microseconds after the keys were released sites with downloadable installation media for CS2 started appearing on the web...

  27. Michael Habel

    The real teast

    Will come for MicroSoft, and the inevitable Windows as a Service. Don't doubt that it's never gonna happen. 'Cause its gonna happen sooner or latter.

  28. Dieter Haussmann

    We kicked out Photoshop and went with Serif Affinity just as in the pre-press era we kicked out Quark Xpress and went with Indesign.

  29. ecofeco Silver badge

    No surprise here

    As there is really not much alternative to the Adobe CC6 suite, of course they were able to screw over, er, profit from, their customers.

    Like it or not, CC6 is the most used commercial media production suite. For now.

  30. Kiwi

    The updates are <sarc>sooo wonderful</sarc>

    A friend of mine was an adobe evangelist. She found what I could learn from her and translate to Gimp amazing, but still she swore by Adobe.

    These days it's more swear at Adobe. The updates when she is trying to work.. The loss of functionality when a feature she's relied on is wiped (and she says that from the forums many other people get pissed off), the changes to settings and things like her graphics tablet disappearing from Adobe's products or losing some functionality..

    Adobe - you could've had more customers but you're actually damaging those who were your biggest advocates. For now you have good momentum and things look rosy. But people are getting pissed off with your antics, are seeing that there are alternatives that may be far from as good as your products but they can work with them.

    My friend doesn't move because she is getting on (late 60's), and has invested a lot of time and effort into learning Adobe products. She also has invested a ton of money into Adobe products and hardware to suit. She doesn't want to learn something else.

    But.. Every time Adobe changes something, she has to learn things again. How long can this go on before she realises that she can use another product, eg Gimp, to achieve what she does without having her workflow changed every time some twit at Adobe has a brain fart and shits all over the interface?

    1. Fatman

      Re: The updates are <sarc>sooo wonderful</sarc>

      <quote>But.. Every time Adobe $VENDOR changes something, she has to learn things again. How long can this go on before she realises that she can use another product, eg Gimp $ALTERNATIVE, to achieve what she does without having her workflow changed every time some twit at Adobe $VENDOR has a brain fart and shits all over the interface?</quote>

      Now, let's see how we can use global find/replace?


      Microsoft, Windows, Linux

      Microsoft, Internet Explorer, Firefox

      Mozilla, Firefox (w/ Australis), Pale Moon

      and the list goes on....

  31. Jeff B

    The Adobe Cloud Subscription service is very expensive when you lease all their software that you have to pay an expensive monthly subscription fee. Plus their tech support is horrible. I finally found a better way to go with Adobe CS6 Master Collection. I got it from the below for a one time low price and they give great 24 hour tech support in English. See below.

    If you want to avoid paying a monthly Subscription fee for Photoshop and other Adobe software see below. You can get all the best Adobe software now at a much reduced cost in the Adobe CS6 Master Collection for just $151.00. It downloads directly from Adobe and there is not any Monthly Adobe Cloud subscription fee. It comes with all Popular Adobe software like Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended; InDesign CS6; Illustrator CS6; After Effects CS6; Acrobat Pro; Dreamweaver CS6; Premier CS6; InCopy CS6 plus more, and as a Bonus lots of great Photoshop Plugins to make using Photoshop easier and much better. See it here.

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