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kitkats

Adobe's licensing model changes

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With CS6 Adobe announced monthly or annual subscription licensing options, which seemed like a good additional option to me at the time for flexible studios etc. But now they have announced both 'Creative Cloud' for release next year, and a new upgrade policy. From CS6, upgrades are only eligible from the previous major version (eg. CS5 or 5.5 is eligible to upgrade to 6 (and 6.5 when available)) Meaning the longest period a licensee would be able to leave upgrades is approximately every 2 years. Previously, upgrades were eligible from 3 versions back.

 

Let's not forget that these .5 updates are, for some applications, completely negligible. In my opinion, the 'rapid release cycle' is in reality no different to the old release cycle as major versions simply have fewer or less sophisticated new features than they used to.

 

It's unclear how the 'Creative Cloud' will affect the existing subscription options: at $50 per month for the entire Master Collection and more, it would appear to wipe out the annual subscriptions, but we'll have to wait and see.

 

I think Adobe are starting to fully realise the leverage they have with a software suite that contains more than a couple of virtual-monopoly products. Personally, I'd be happy to support Pixelmator over PS and Avid/FCP over Premiere; but I don't have an alternative for AE or AI, and so I may as well just purchase the suite and use as much of it as I can. In time, I am becoming even more dependent on it.

 

It seems to me that Adobe's finest innovation only really occurs when they feel the need to monopolise. Lightroom vs Aperture, InDesign vs Quark and now Premiere vs FCP are all battles that benefited the customer. The problem, for me, is that once Adobe have won these battles (or bought out the competition) the innovation and development seriously slow down. Combine that with being pushed towards a subscription model and I start to feel like I'm being fleeced.

 

Edit: Links-

 

http://blogs.adobe.com/conversations/2011/11/adobe-creative-cloud-and-adobe-creative-suite-new-choices-for-customers.html

http://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud/faq.html

http://forums.adobe.com/message/4017866#4017866

http://forums.adobe.com/message/4018166#4018166

Edited by kitkats

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the cloud aspect would have been great if it involved some kind of really well integrated backup/storage/asset management/version control killer app. as it is though I guess it can be useful for people who work on short term projects or companies that regularly need to add or remove extra seats.

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Weren't we over this? Really, you all happily pay your annual MSA's for C4D or subscriptions to whatever Autodesk programs you may use and you only qualify for that by being and staying current. So why is that any different when Adobe does it? I will agree on that Adobe have failed to provide meaningful feature updates over the CS5/ CS5.5 cycle in several programs, but hey, converting to 64bit is no picknick in the park and the rest is a case of YMMV - there are enough people getting aroused over the Warp Stabilizer in AE and as long as that's the case, Adobe will always be able to sell shit to someone, no matter what you and I may think. Unifying the technical basis is good, though. As I've mentioned on my blog it will allow them to move forward and maybe then we'll see something really good coming of it. And I disagree about your statement about "monopolising". The facts are that at the time Quark rested on its own monopoly it had back then with only minor innovation for an extremely expensive program, endless delays on the Windows version, awful support and all that. Anyone could have surpassed them with enough commitment. similarly, You can't exactly blame Adobe for Apple making a mess or Aperture. You just need to dig up some old infor from the web about Ap's awful performance and a ton of issues, things that LR did better from the get go. And well, FCP vs. Premiere Pro vs. Media Composer is a story that is still in full swing, so I think any predictions about what Adobe will or won't do are premature...

 

Mylenium

Edited by Mylenium

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Adobe's licensing policy is geared towards selling multi-user licenses to businesses, which is fine (it's their business after all) but makes life difficult for sole traders who have to constantly switch machines and have to activate/deactivate constantly. Their pricing is suspect and their products more like bloated old maiden aunts rather than sleek race-horses. As Mylenium says though, Adobe will always be able to sell shit to somebody (in this case, us).

 

Truth is, when a business becomes a monopoly then customer satisfaction is less relevant than pleasing the bean counters, and Adobe turned down this path may years ago. The difference between paying my MSA for C4D and podding out for Adobe's piss-poor 'keep the lemons at arm's-length' service is that when I contact Maxon I speak to an actual person, I can email the boss, discuss my requirements in detail with a living human being and get personal support when things go wrong (which is inevitably my fault).

 

With the exception of Todd on these pages, Adobe might as well be on the moon waving little coloured flags at us for all the use they are. Still, we buy the software and we get what we deserve to a large extent. Get this straight though: Adobe don't give a shit about you. End of.

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Who is "you all" ? Personally I don't pay an annual MSA for anything, I prefer perpetual licenses and the option to skip a version or two. Besides which, Maxon continue to be highly innovative. My argument is that this is because they have stiff competition from Autodesk etc.

 

Substitute 'monopolise' for 'compete' if you like, the argument still stands. The fact that Quark was just as bad when they lacked competition only adds to the theory. Adobe have stated that making Premiere the number 1 NLE is one of their goals, hence we see more resources devoted to developing it than applications which already dominate their competitors.

 

The only reason I posted this was to make people aware of the situation (of increasing cost & dependency and decreasing reward) as I see it and what it may or may not indicate about the future. I sincerely hope that "forcing their users to attain the same version level will allow things to move forward more agressively" but previous experience causes me to question that.

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Adobe have stated that making Premiere the number 1 NLE is one of their goals, hence we see more resources devoted to developing it than applications which already dominate their competitors.

 

Don't think so. That's just not how it works. Your argument in so far is flawed in that it assumes that one replace specific user needs by employing clever marketing or forcing features down user's throats. Adobe are just - once again - benefiting from Apple's fuck-up and are trying to take the skim. Whether or not this has any long-term value remains to be seen. 5 years down the road PPro users could just be as fed up and another swing happens.... And certain dependencies existing between different apps simply means that they cannot solely focus on PPro and completely neglect AE, AME, Encore and whatever else they come up with. Also don't write off the competition. Avid is doing well, Vegas Pro has made considerable inroads with many users and FCPX still could turn out alright, after all....

 

Mylenium

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Their pricing is suspect and their products more like bloated old maiden aunts rather than sleek race-horses.

 

Amen to that. Whether or not they care is another matter. Some of them do, but it's one thing to be a developer having grand ideas, another to push it through the hierarchy. When it comes to that, Adobe is as just like any other big company - decisions build upon decisions and eventually something just doesn't get through to the people in charge.

 

Mylenium

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I really don't see anything in their pricing policy that I would call suspect or regard as fleecing. I'll put myself under the category of someone who enjoys the monthly subscription for the Production Premium. And like MSA's, I can calculate for the year what my software upgrade costs will be. Over the years, with many different software vendors, I've found that you pay to keep current, one way or another. Obviously it works out for them to keep their users on the hook (in a way) by having non-subscriptions being prohibitively high, but that seems to be quite standard these days. I don't believe that just because of this, they will be able to rest on their laurels and stop developing new features. (as Apple did with FCP) No one is being forced into anything against their will. There are competitive products to everything. (disclaimer: I'm talking about PPro, AE and PS. the rest of their products, I know very little about -feature and competitor wise. so I could be wrong if you're talking more about AI or something.)

-Don't like AE? Digital Fusion can do it all and more. Not a fan of PPro? there's too many alternate options to even list.

I happen to use AE and PPro because they work very well together and speed up my workflow. However, I also own and use many of their competitor's products as well.

 

Whatever this whole "Creative Cloud" business is about and what it means, I have no idea. Honestly, I read the first paragraph on their web page and my eyes rolled back in my head: what a bunch of marketing malarky. It's completely nebulous corporate speak:

 

Adobe Creative Cloud is a major new initiative that will radically redefine the content creation process and become the focal point for creativity. It will reinvent creative expression through a new generation of applications and services that reimagine how people interact with creative tools and build deeper social connections between creatives around the world.

 

"reinvent creative expression"

"reimagine how people interact"

"build deeper social connections"

 

-oh please. That says a whole lot, without telling me anything.

I actually feel bad for the developers of AE and PremierePro; they have to live in this world. God only knows how many TPS reports they have to file on a daily basis.

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Your argument in so far is flawed in that it assumes that one replace specific user needs by employing clever marketing or forcing features down user's throats...

 

....Also don't write off the competition. Avid is doing well, Vegas Pro has made considerable inroads with many users and FCPX still could turn out alright, after all....

 

Sorry, but I don't understand what you are saying here. My argument related principally to licensing and pricing models... unless you mean that those ARE a form of marketing?

 

....Also don't write off the competition. Avid is doing well, Vegas Pro has made considerable inroads with many users and FCPX still could turn out alright, after all....

 

I didn't write-off the competition, I mentioned Avid in my original post. If customers have choices then products and prices improve in customer's favour. Supply and demand. I care about paying a price that is in accord with the merit of the product, and I care about having choices. It doesn't surprise me that Adobe don't care about me and will happily 'sell shit' to me, I'm not that naive. The only power I have in this situation is to express my views in a forum where others in the same boat might hear and possibly concur and think on. What happens after that is out of my reckoning. I guess I didn't quite expect such a jaded, defeatist and misunderstanding response. That was probably naive.

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Sorry, but I don't understand what you are saying here. My argument related principally to licensing and pricing models... unless you mean that those ARE a form of marketing?

 

 

Sorry, my mix-up. I was meaning to write that even the most clever marketing cannot bypass the users' genuine needs and that despite what people may think, Adobe's decisions are ultimately driven by users. We may not be part of this particular fraction of users and we may think some things stink, but alas, there'll always be someone who'll get something out of even a minor feature update. Again, YMMV.

 

 

I care about paying a price that is in accord with the merit of the product,

 

...oh please...

 

The only power I have in this situation is to express my views in a forum

 

...or you could just use this: http://adobe.com/go/wish ?

 

Mylenium

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Whatever this whole "Creative Cloud" business is about and what it means, I have no idea. Honestly, I read the first paragraph on their web page and my eyes rolled back in my head...

 

I can translate that for you ^_^ It reads 'Remember that CSLive thingy you tried once in Photoshop, then turned off and never bothered looking at again? Well, you might have forgotten it, but we haven't!' My take is that it's going to be dropbox for Adobe files, tied in with a couple of web/tablet apps. Of course, all the 'creatives around the world' that you're going to have a social connection with? They'll need to pony up too of course!

 

Adobe is looking for new customers, or ways of making more money out of existing customers. Latch onto these tablet thingies is one way. Monetising your existing customer base is another. Why not do both?

 

Personal reaction is that I'm finding myself much more reluctant to jump onto the subscriber option for CS than I was for C4D, even though it makes financial sense - the reservation comes from how distant my perception of Adobe is, even though I've been a user since the mid-nineties (yikes), and the feeling that entire editions could arrive with absolutely nothing to offer me.

 

...despite what people may think, Adobe's decisions are ultimately driven by users.

 

Question about this - and anyone can answer ;) Have you met anyone who is using 3D inside of Photoshop?

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I guess my fear is this kind of aggressive push toward subscriptions decreases incentive for them to innovate their products even more. If you buy a version and the next update (or two or three) is crap bloatware you can vote w/ your wallet not to upgrade but still use a product for as long as you need. That pushes a company to innovate so people will pay for an update. When you're on a subscription you still need to use an app to actually get work done on a daily basis so you're stuck w/ paying for the upgrade anyway.

 

And let's be honest AE/PS/IL has a monopoly on the motion graphics market. I hope Nuke continues to develop more and gains more mograph-centric features since I doubt Motion will ever make any waves in the industry.

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Yes, point taken. If they slack off that could definitely pose a problem. They haven't yet, so I'm not too worried that it's going to happen any time in the near future. (Although I agree that the potential is greater when dealing with such a large company). And frankly, I feel like they've really done some great things lately, which I think bodes well for the future. However, I guess the best thing to do is always stay flexible and on top of what's out there, since you never know when things are going to change.

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I care about paying a price that is in accord with the merit of the product

 

 

Maya: $3,500

Cinema 4D: $3,700

Nuke: $4,900

Avid: $2,500

 

After Effects: $1,000

Photoshop: $700

... or every single Adobe product: $2,600

 

Even if Adobe did away with upgrade pricing altogether, it would still be the cheapest software a motion design or VFX company would buy.

Edited by Aaron Scott

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I have been glad of the option of skipping upgrades when they didn't look good value (CS4 anyone?). And although I have signed up for the C4D MSA, it wasn't necessarily happily, it was more that they threatened price rises on upgrades that looked prohibitive, making the MSA look good value.

I guess in the long run they will probably get roughly the same amount of money out of us either way.

It is difficult to know whether companies are fleecing you. Maxon has a smaller market than Adobe, and their team is definitely producing a lot of good code doing interesting new stuff. That is going to cost money. Is Adobe earning all the money we give them, or are the shareholders just pocketing a nice dividend? I could probably find out if I could be bothered. Maybe I should become a shareholder, then at least some of the profit would come back to me.

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Maybe I should become a shareholder, then at least some of the profit would come back to me.

 

Maybe enough profit to pay for your upgrades.

 

 

Personally, I'd be happy to support Pixelmator over PS and Avid/FCP over Premiere; but I don't have an alternative for AE or AI, and so I may as well just purchase the suite and use as much of it as I can. In time, I am becoming even more dependent on it.

 

unfortunately FCP doesn't really seem like a viable alternative for editors anymore. I have to say I prefer FCP for editing...even though AE workflow is easier with premiere. This however was before FCPX and apple removed support for FCP 7. It seems like apple is bowing out of the Pro Video editing game and just forcusing on consumer level products like things that start with "I". So for now Adobe really seems like the only option...Also what AE does is amazing at that price point...Premiere is just a bonus really.

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People complained so they backtracked on this & today they say that they are

going to "offer special introductory upgrade pricing on Creative Suite 6 to customers who own CS3 or CS4".

 

http://www.adobe.com...ade-policy.html

 

 

We’re very excited about the upcoming release of Adobe® Creative Suite® 6 software and Adobe Creative Cloud™. CS6 will be a major new release of our creative desktop tools, with huge improvements for every type of creative professional. Adobe Creative Cloud will be our most comprehensive creative solution ever, giving members access to all of the CS6 desktop software plus additional services, new tools, Adobe Touch Apps, and rich community features. In addition, Creative Cloud members will receive continuous upgrades and updates to all products and services as part of their membership.

 

 

 

With these great new releases coming in the first half of 2012, we want to make sure our customers have plenty of time to determine which offering is best for them. Therefore, we’re pleased to announce that we will offer special introductory upgrade pricing on Creative Suite 6 to customers who own CS3 or CS4. This offer will be available from the time CS6 is released until December 31, 2012. More details on this offer, as well as any introductory offers for existing customers to move to Creative Cloud membership, will be announced when CS6 and Creative Cloud are released later this year.

Edited by mario5

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Guest Sao_Bento

By decoupling the software and it's development from the money you pay, they get out of needing to justify upgrades. It's a lot like Chucky Cheese or Xbox Live - once your real money is converted into funnybucks, seeing it flow out of your account doesn't carry the same tinge of pain it once did. No more people jumping up and down about how nothing changed between 5 and 5.5 except the splash screen. See how ingenious that is? It also makes for consistent incoming cash flow and easy revenue projections. It's a win/win for Adobe.

 

They can also diffuse any criticism of the new model by saying that it frees them up to release updates as soon as they're available - without having to wait for those darn big 'ol bundles (that they created) to be ready for release as a group. That's "value added" in my book.

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By decoupling the software and it's development from the money you pay, they get out of needing to justify upgrades. It's a lot like Chucky Cheese or Xbox Live - once your real money is converted into funnybucks, seeing it flow out of your account doesn't carry the same tinge of pain it once did. No more people jumping up and down about how nothing changed between 5 and 5.5 except the splash screen. See how ingenious that is? It also makes for consistent incoming cash flow and easy revenue projections. It's a win/win for Adobe.

 

They can also diffuse any criticism of the new model by saying that it frees them up to release updates as soon as they're available - without having to wait for those darn big 'ol bundles (that they created) to be ready for release as a group. That's "value added" in my book.

 

I think you should hold off putting the boot in until we see what they do with the new system. You're probably right, but it does seem a little unfair to judge them before they actually do the dirty deed.

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Guest Sao_Bento

It's really quite ingenious in a sense that Adobe's new model is probably going to be one of the more successful attempts at replicating Apple's closed-loop ecosystem. Lots of companies have been trying to find a way, but very few are approaching success. Now Adobe just needs to avoid choking itself by having too many vaguely defined and intermittently supported products. It's a shame to think the money they make from their bread and butter core apps are going to waste rather than being used to actually improve those same apps.

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