back to article Brexploitation? Adobe gets creative with price hikes

Adobe, the developer of overpriced software for creative types, is just about to get a whole lot more expensive in the UK with steep rises set to be introduced from next month. The flash monkey is the latest firm to blame a slump in the value of the Great British Pound for hikes on product, with the ranges understood to be …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Morphius

      Re: By The Short and Curlies

      I like to think that most people knew the negative aspects but if you want to use the programs you have little choice.

      A more honest approach would be to say "if you subscribe for x years then when you cancel you get to retain the version you are on". Make x years total up to more than the outright purchase price and they are still quids in. Most people who subscribed once would subscribe again for the latest version anyway.

      But the beancounters much prefer constant revenue streams so the subscription model will be here to stay for a very very long time.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: By The Short and Curlies

        A more honest approach would be to say "if you subscribe for x years then when you cancel you get to retain the version you are on" --- Morphius

        Perhaps the Eurocrats might propose this kind of cap on the subscription model? Good job the UK will be out of the EU and safe from all their silly concerns about consumer protection by the time that happens.

      2. P. Lee

        Re: By The Short and Curlies

        >But the beancounters much prefer constant revenue streams so the subscription model will be here to stay for a very very long time.

        Right up until the point that someone looks as the vast amount of cash being raked in and writes a new bit of software. Well that's the theory, anyway. Sadly, the ability of large companies to tie smaller ones up in legal knots until they run out of cash spoils the theory somewhat, as do the problems of moving data between products.

        The reality is, if your business depends on a piece of software, you will probably pay whatever. Massive price hikes don't work in the long-run as they encourage alternatives, but that's a different manager's problem.

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: By The Short and Curlies

          "The reality is, if your business depends on a piece of software, you will probably pay whatever." P.Lee

          Indeed. Furthermore, most businesses are, in my experience, ridiculously squeamish about CapEx even when their OpEx is almost out of control, so an ongoing subscription or licence often gains approval more easily than a lump sum. Although, that's possibly a good thing, because often when they do cut OpEx they normally do it in a way that damages the business.

      3. pompurin

        Re: By The Short and Curlies

        This is currently how Intellij license their software. When you first buy you have a perpetual fallback license for that version (including minor updates).

        Originally they didn't allow this and were the same as Adobe, but with community anger they were pushed towards it.

        I think it's fair and reasonable.

    2. Mark 65

      Re: By The Short and Curlies

      Interesting that they always tout currency movements as the reason for price rises but don't give you the option to pay in $US and hence take on the currency risk yourself. Arseholes.

  2. Oh Homer

    Does not compute

    A bunch of code monkeys sitting in cubicles somewhere in San Jose spend a few weeks writing an Adobe app.

    Job done.

    The results are then "licensed", forever, to millions of people.

    Adobe recovers its investment costs after the first few dozen thousand "licenses", with a markup big enough to keep everyone driving new Beamers that year.

    Then this mystical thing called "Brexit" comes along, and suddenly it's vitally important that "license" prices in the UK be increased drastically, in order to cover the additional cost of ... erm, what exactly?

    What an utter scam.

    1. inmypjs Silver badge

      Re: Does not compute

      "What an utter scam."

      Scam? Vendors will always get what they can for their products. I remember saying at the time Adobe was forcing the subscription model that they were expecting customers to say thank you for being bent over and butt fucked.

      Well you are still bent over and still being fucked - more fool you for taking it in the first place.

    2. ratfox

      Re: Does not compute

      Yeah well, you don't expect them to give it away for free after they recovered their investment costs, do you?

      From their point of view, they set the price once and for all — and that price hasn't really gone up. It's the worth of the pieces of paper in your wallet that has gone down.

      1. Oh Homer

        Re: "you don't expect them to give it away for free"

        But they wouldn't be "giving it away for free" since they've already been paid several millions of times over, which is already several million times more than they should have been.

        Imagine you went to your first ever day of work, never went back, but got paid forever, justified by the pretext that you left behind a photo of yourself sitting at your desk working, as if this abstract representation of a single instance of labour were somehow equivocal to the actual labour itself, in perpetuity.

        That's "licensing". It's basically theft.

        Then, years later, some equally abstract market fiction occurs that prompts you to demand an increase in your salary, for the work you're currently not doing, presumably in honour of the one and only day of your entire life that you actually did some work, all those years ago. This is to cover the additional costs you're not incurring as a result of the work that you're still not doing.

        Is Adobe allowed to do this?

        Our perverse laws say "yes".

        Should they (or anyone else) be allowed to do it?

        Billions of people who have to actually work for a living say "no".

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: "you don't expect them to give it away for free"

          By now I'm so monumentally fed up with Adobe's way of doing business that I wouldn't use any of their products if they actually were giving them away for free.

          Fortunately, in my line of work, I have non-Abode alternatves I can work with.

        2. ratfox

          Re: "you don't expect them to give it away for free"

          @Oh Homer:

          It's irrelevant that they already got their money back. As long as the product is useful to you, it makes sense that you need to pay for it.

          If you rent a house, there is no magical point in time after which you don't need to pay rent anymore. Once a movie has become profitable, you still need to pay to watch it in a theater.

          People get rewarded in proportion to how useful their work is, not how hard they worked. If Adobe's products are useful for many years, they deserve to get paid for many years. This is in fact their incentive to do a good job. And if you think they're not doing a good job, feel free to use a competing product, or write one yourself.

    3. Sykowasp

      Re: Does not compute

      "in order to cover the additional cost of ... erm, what exactly"

      An executive's new lear jet.

      And the fact that Adobe is a US company and earns in dollars, so the exchange rate means more £s to get the same $ value. But they've gone way over the real world change, unless they didn't change prices since 2014.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. billse10

        Re: Does not compute

        "And the fact that Adobe is a US company and earns in dollars, so the exchange rate means more £s to get the same $ value. "

        True - and fine, just let me pay in $, regardless of location.

        1. Lars Silver badge

          Re: Does not compute

          "just let me pay in $, regardless of location.#.

          Could well happen, that's the easy way out and how companies deal with odd and unstable currency like with African countries. Some of the American companies mentioned in this article did that and were duly up voted by some commentards. With some luck I will eventually be able to be charged in $ and not in this problematic Euro, the lack of sovereignty seems to be the problem I have.

          Life is complicated, I have met Americans who claim they have had price hikes although they pay in $ and in the USA. And then there are people who complain and complain about no wage hikes in years, and when I ask them why - "are you going to work harder", I manage to make them speechless. To be honest, such a good feeling.

          As for Adobe, look, both "up or down."

          "As part of doing business globally, Adobe monitors currency exchange rates in order to make adjustments to our pricing up or down as needed.".

          May's speech must have impressed them, all those promises, all that uppidy up.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Lars Silver badge

              Re: Does not compute

              @Shadmeister, what do you think I tried to explain.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Does not compute

              "are you going to work harder", I manage to make them speechless. To be honest, such a good feeling."

              "And the sometimes answer is, "no I'm going to leave and let everyone else work harder to clear up the shit you've created"

          2. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Does not compute

            "As part of doing business globally, Adobe monitors currency exchange rates in order to make adjustments to our pricing up or down as needed."

            Have Adobe ever lowered prices? Maybe it wasn't "needed".

    4. P. Lee

      Re: Does not compute

      >in order to cover the additional cost of ... erm, what exactly?


      Like the music industry, *making* the stuff is actually cheap, its convincing people to buy it that's hard and consumes large amounts of cash.

      The same is true of most IT. Look at the top tier support for Enterprise IT and it normally runs at around 40% of the new cost every year - that's without a cloud model.

      Realistically, we've consolidated so far that we now have to spend large amounts of cash - its too big to let it fail.

  3. forger
    Thumb Up

    You had me at

    "Adobe, the developer of overpriced software for creative types"

  4. James 51

    Sorry in advacne but it had to be done.


  5. cd

    Clearasil for that adv-acne.

  6. phuzz Silver badge

    Remember a few years ago, when someone found a page on Adobe's website with links to Photoshop and Illustrator CS2, along with valid license keys?

    It's still there if you search for it. You know, just in case you need a working copy of photoshop for a quick task, but don't need the latest version.

  7. breakfast Silver badge

    The annoying thing is that InDesign is apparently the only product that is any use for publishing. Annoying when it feels as though there is no choice although rumours of Affinity Publisher on the horizon are hopeful and the new Quark may be alright. By and large InDesign is the thing everyone seems to use, though.

    1. Hope Spirals

      <Shame> I was employed by Adobe </Shame>

      As such entitled to very cheap copies of InDesign amongst other things.

      Time passes and so my job left tearfully for Noida leaving me behind; only with an option to take up a subscription.

      So I've use Scribus ever since.

  8. Zog_but_not_the_first

    And coming soon....

    Windows 10 subscription (and increases).

    Money {slurp, slurp}

    Data {slurp, slurp}

  9. MrNed


    Ah - the inevitable gouging-out of locked-in customers. I think we all saw that coming.

    IMO Affinity Designer is considerably more powerful than Adobe Illustrator whilst being slicker and smoother in use; it is simply awesome for doing GUIs and screen designs too. It costs less than one month's Adobe CC tax.

    Affinity Photo is also excellent and I have yet to discover anything it can't do that Photoshop can. Again, it's less than one month's Adobe tax.

    Both Affinity products are available for MacOS and Windows. And both launch in seconds rather than minutes. No, I am not affiliated with Affinity in any way - I'm just an extremely satisfied user.

    Let's see - what else has Adobe got and what could it be replaced with...

    Premiere? Try FCP-X if you're on Mac, or DaVinci Resolve on Windows or Mac

    After Effects? Trickier... try Apple Motion (not a full solution, but capable of most things), or DaVinci Fusion, which also runs on Linux

    Dreamweaver? Komodo edit, Eclipse... many many many more!

    Flash? Obsolete. HTML5 and JS will take care of that for you.

    InDesign... hmm... come on Affinity - I've heard the rumours...

    I "consciously decoupled" the moment they launched Creative Cloud. It was tough at first, but I'm on wide green uplands now! During a recent OS refresh I didn't even bother to reinstall my old Creative Suite license - I haven't needed to open an Adobe app in months.

    Adobe chummed the waters with their Creative Cloud con, and sharks came. Now they're re-chumming the waters whilst surrounded by sharks, and those sharks are already fat from the last chumming. Adobe have not only lost their monopoly on creative design software, they also now have some very real and totally viable competition. And yet they choose to raise their prices by how much?

    Don't bend over for another Adobe shafting - retool and be happy.

    1. Steverh

      Re: Inevitbale

      I'll second the recommendation for Affinity Photo. I'm ditching my Creative Cloud subscription. I was never happy with their raw processing, and increasingly fed up with their business model.

      I've just bought Affinity Designer as well.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Inevitbale

      I'd be Adobeless is I could find a decent replacement for Lightroom that can handle a catalogue of 110K+ photos (1.3TB)

      any suggestions most welcome.

      1. MrNed

        Re: Inevitbale

        "any suggestions most welcome."

        Isn't Lightroom still purchasable as a standalone pay-once license? If so then at least you're not gouged monthly, and once purchased the license remains valid no matter whether you continue to pay or not

        There's Darktable - maybe you've tried it already. It's fiddlier than Lightroom and is a bit quirky, but has pretty-much the same toolset. Couldn't tell you how well it works with large catalogues, but it won't cost you anything other than time to find out cos it's open source. There're versions for Windows, Mac and Linux too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Inevitbale

          Darktable is not yet a replacement for Lightroom for serious work. Affinity Photo (and other tools like PhaseOne, etc.) are better alternatives.

          The main issue anyway switching from Lightroom is all the photo processing is stored in the catalog or sidecar files (unless you exported everything to tiffs or jpegs, but then changes are persistent and no longer editable), and processing results depends on the internal algorithms. What you get moving to another tool may be different enough to require a tedious long work of checking and reprocessing.

        2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Darktable

          Thanks for the pointers.

          Sadly there is no Windows version

          For the reasons.

          If I can get my hackintosh running then I'll give the MacOS version a go. None of my Linux system have a GUI, command line only.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Lars Silver badge

            Re: Darktable

            Your comment is: "None of my Linux system have a GUI, command line only.".

            What do you mean by that. In *nix you always have a command line and if you need a GUI then choose one.

            There are many to choose from, like KDE, Gnome and many more, all for free, just check your Linux distro.

            From the link:

            "Up till now there is one technical thing that unites all developers: None of them is using Windows as operating system. Some are using Mac OSX, Solaris, etc, but most run some Linux distribution. "

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Inevitbale

      "I think we all saw that coming."

      No, there always seemed to be those who thought it was a good idea. They thought it was working out cheaper.

  10. Mr Humbug

    I seem to recall ...

    that when Adobe was taken to task a few years ago for selling it's software in the UK using an exchange rate of close to $1=£1 it said that this would "protect us from constantly changing prices owing to currency fluctuations" or something like that

  11. AegisPrime

    Software rental sucks.

    Which is why I'm still using my circa 2010 Photoshop CS5 and MS Office 2010.

    Unfortunately Microsoft (being the asses they are) won't allow me to install it on my laptop since I've supposedly used all my registrations (which I haven't) - subsequently neither they nor Adobe will get a penny from me for these products in the future.

    They're both gradually becoming less relevant anyway - if I was in the market for a PS and or Office replacement there's plenty on interesting alternatives for the consumer (not so much for big business though).

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ahh, the advantages of pay forever subscriptions... (for the seller).

    Autodesk bought Eagle PCB and version 8 is now pay forever. The excuse was more releases, so I checked and over the last few years there have been one or two per year.

    Still, it's the push I need to move to a more open alternative.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Tromos

    Vote for Bugxit

    Expunge every last trace of Adobe Software and rejoice in vastly improved system security.

    1. John Crisp

      Re: Vote for Bugxit

      >Expunge every last trace of Adobe Software and rejoice in vastly improved system security.

      Not always as easy as you think.... as I discovered years ago

  14. IsJustabloke

    bit rich to blame the pound....

    given that no physical product is shipped with a cc subscription.... perhaps electrons have had an import tarrif imposed on them.

    As it happens, my sub has increased from 9.99 to 10.25 which i don't consider outrageous.

  15. IsJustabloke

    Afinity Photo

    have just seen that it's now available for Windows, so as soon as trial becomes available I'll give it a whirl.

  16. fruitoftheloon
    Thumb Up

    For once I'm not entirely pissed off

    Thankfully for the stuff I do (UI, Web, local print-not pre-press) I can now give Adobe the two finger salute, as Affinity Designer/Photo are shaping up just fine.

    Of course they won't meet the reqs for all folk, but £100, as a one-off cost for both, not too terrible methinks.

    Plus I understand they are now available on Windows as well.

    Happy times, £45/month was a lot to my little business.



  17. Mark Simon

    The bigger scam

    Remember that Adobe subscriptions are automatically renewed, and if you attempt to cancel before the next renewal you get hit for half the remaining fees.

    I had to cancel my credit card to stop them from ripping me off further.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And people (adobe)

    wonder why piracy is STILL a thing...

    1. JulieM Silver badge

      Re: And people (adobe)

      Well, piracy is the reason why software developers suffer, but The Industry are dead wrong about who loses money due to piracy. When you take a pirate copy of Adobe Photoshop, you aren't causing Adobe any loss; rather, it's whoever you would have bought a graphics editor from, if you couldn't have had Adobe Photoshop for nothing, that is losing out on an opportunity to earn. And since you have learned your skills on a pirate copy of Adobe Photoshop, your future employers will have to buy Adobe Photoshop at the full business rate when you get a job with them, and not some competitor with a less expensive graphics editor, even for business users.

      Historically, the likes of Adobe preferred to tolerate rampant copying of their products in order to get as large a user base as possible, rather than to risk driving ordinary users into the arms of competitors.

      If they are now moving towards a model where there is no possibility of using the software without paying for it, then there suddenly appears a market for inexpensive, competing software. The pool of users trained for free in the use of expensive proprietary software is diminished, and prospective employees begin to demonstrate familiarity with alternative, less-expensive tools.

      So, will users keep paying for Adobe products, or bale out and learn to use something else? That's the gamble .....

  19. JulieM Silver badge

    You can rebel .....

    You can rebel against the system by using Open Source software.

    Yes, it's awkward, having to learn something new and maybe manage without certain refinements you may have got used to.

    But once that's over, it's over forever. Nobody has the ability to force you to do that again.

    And it doesn't even matter if you get a job somewhere they already use Adobe software; it isn't as though they would have to pay anything for you to have the software you were most used to on your own workstation (and it can read and write Adobe's files just fine). They might even be persuaded to seek out other Open Source users, rather than renew proprietary licences .....

    Or you can choose to forgo the massive inconvenience, and keep paying Adobe's menaces money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can rebel .....

      The problem arises when 'certain refinements' are essentials for your job. For example the Gimp still lacks what are now basic features like adjustment layers. When you're a professional and time is money, wasting it to achieve with more convoluted processes what you can achieve quickly with another tool, is not an option.

      1. Adrian 4

        Re: You can rebel .....

        What stops you commissioning someone to write the extensions you need ? It would probably cost a lot less than an Adobe license. The critical thing thing about open source software is not that it's (usually) free, but that you, or your contractor, can extend it. They don't have to write from scratch.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You can rebel .....

          Check what a professional developer able to add, for example, adjustment layers to The Gimp would cost. 100K + per year - if you can find one available? Sorry, that's not what I pay in Adobe licenses.

      2. JulieM Silver badge

        Re: You can rebel .....

        The point is, those refinements quite clearly are not essential for your job. Because, in case you have forgotten, people managed to do it perfectly well before computers, let alone the version of Adobe Photoshop you are using.

        Time spent doing something by hand that the computer could be doing for you is time that you will never see again, but money paid for proprietary software is money that you will never see again. And for most people, time is in greater supply than money.

        The real solution is to work with the developers of your favourite "nearly ready" Open Source software to get the features you want added. But that's harder work than just complaining and expecting somebody else to pay for something expensive .....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "And for most people, time is in greater supply than money."

          For your bedroom projects, maybe. For many professionals, time is far scarcer supply than money. And they can't wait for someone, some time, add to a software what they need. If it's already available, they will buy it.

          "money paid for proprietary software is money you will never see again"? Are you kidding? When the outcome of your tools is valued many times the cost of the tools, the tools repay themselves very quickly. Software is really no different than any other tool. And software like any other tool - allows to perform tasks that were previously impossible, or took a lot of time and money.

          I understand people like you expect someone else to pay to add missing features to tools they use for free.... it won't happen.

  20. Charles Smith

    Halve their income

    The great thing about the subscription model is that you can cancel at short notice. If you have users who don't use their product or only lightly use a subscription it may be worth cancelling those subscriptions.

    In our case we're going to cancel the subscriptions on old PCs which we rarely use. The net effect we'll pay a lot less to the Adobe coffers. IT Managers should be sure to present an extra bill for internal services to their users showing clearly the impact of the Adobe price increase. In that way the user management can assess whether the Adobe products are value for money.

  21. Marcus Fil

    Hate to say I told you so...

    but really people if you cannot read the writing on the wall get ye to SpecSavers. Creative Suite 5.0 aleady on VM, CS 6.0 soon to join it on my next machine update. I stopped filling Adobe's coffers the moment it moved to rentware. Very few people listened to us naysayers at the time. Tell me, do you rent your car or do you own it? If you live in Europe chances are you own it. Why is that?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Monthly fee ......

    Ok .... but any month with a unpatched security issue they know about, I can charge them for putting my machine at risk. Any time an OS update makes their software unusable. I can't use it so can charge them for the inconvenience. And for the incredible comedy value.

  23. PassiveSmoking

    Eh, Between "cloud", subscriptions, crappy data security and a slew of gimmocky new "features" while bugs that have existed for years go unfixed I've ditched Photoshop in favour of Clip Studio Pro anyway. It's far cheaper and better adapted to an illustrator's needs than Photoshop is these days.

    If you can find a tool that does the job you need well enough to ditch an Adobe product I suggest you do so. If Adobe lose enough market share maybe they'll start treating their customers as people again instead of as cash cows.

  24. Zoo

    Sweden also

    Just got an 33% price increase in Sweden on student and teacher, stating exchange rates as the reason. Last time I checked there's no Swexit on the horizon and the exchange rate in the wake of Trump is going the other way.

    1. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Sweden also

      Hello Sverige. There are some positive opinions about the Trump presidency your old premier Goran Persson has expressed. Any link, preferably in English.

  25. Jason Hindle

    I'm a victim of the price hike....

    It's not too much, but I'm a little disappointed. I like Lightroom, so could conceivably move to a perpetual licence (assuming Adobe still offer this). I like Photoshop, but rarely do much with it. I could, I suppose, move to something else*. OTOH, it's just a couple of extra quid each month.... I'll continue to ponder.

    * Polite warning to any El Reg nerd who recommends GIMP: I have a very particular set of skills....

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As an IT manager, I get shafted for Adobe subscriptions for a different reason; the creatives demand it and jump up an down to ensure they get what they want. In our organisation they are very much the golden ones, and any suggestion from me that they evaluate alternatives will be circumvented first by complaints to their boss and, if that doesn't work, to his.

    The move to CC for us was inevitable; every new version of Adobe in the past simply had to be bought straight away as "the companies we collaborate were already using it and the files aren't compatible any more" (cough). The subscription model gets round this somwhat (ie. we can provide them with the latest toys without having to pay unexpectedly large amounts) but even this causes us fun and games; I was told, by a creative with a straight face, on the morning one of the most recent releases was first made public, that he needed it that day to make use of one of the new features.

    Realistically, they could probably easily switch to Affinity (I love that tag line "No subscription. Just £48.99") but until that looks better on their CVs, I'll be stuck with the annual Adobe butt-fuck.

  27. JJKing

    Price gouging.

    Welcome to what we have suffered for many years Downunder. There was a Senate enquiry 3 or 4 years ago and the Adobe guy justified the price because of the <quote>user experience</quote>.

    About the same time, the Oz $ was buying USD$1.04. I was paying US$ price x 1.5 AUD$ price for Microsoft TechNet. I stopped buying the Action Pack because that was the same formula except it was x 2.5 AU$ price.

    At the same time as the above Senate enquiry, Adobe CS6 was released. A small Graphic Design shop in Sydney put one of their employees on a plane to Los Angles to buy THREE copies of CS6. They arrived in LAX, walked across the road to the software "boutique", flew back to Sydney and the business save AUD$4,500 from not buying it in Oz. The saving was after the return airfare of about AUD$2,000 (and a bit) was added to the purchase price. The flight was 15,000 miles (24,000kms), 29 hours of actual flight time yet they still save AUD$4,500. If that isn't price gouging then I don't know what is.

    Do this arseholes not realise they are encouraging piracy? This seems no different to the way the video and music industry treat their victims who part with their hard earned and purchase the crap products.

  28. Tikimon

    Subscription Critical Mass on the very distant horizon?

    Too many companies make shortsighted, narrow-focus decisions. They figure they can handle the fallout for their particular slice of the world. But what happens when one day people realize how many subscriptions they're paying to truly own nothing? (one figurative day, I know it takes years)

    Seriously! The car, the phone, the music and movie collection, all software, games and "apps", your home appliances and even the lights. Dozens of little payments every month and what do you have to show for it? There will be occasional lockouts for various reasons, and the cumulative effect of these might help drive the eventual backlash.

    Pushback from consumers has managed some change to stupid business models before. The "real food" backlash is forcing companies to use fewer or no artificial ingredients in more and more products. The stampede to spying-as-a-service and subscription-only models looks unstoppable now, but consumer annoyance might reach critical mass one day and start driving Ownership again. Maybe.

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