What if you didn’t own software licenses?

“As you know, when you buy an app, you don’t actually own it. You own the license to use it for as long as you like. And that can be a pretty long time, although new computers and new operating systems may make it impossible to use,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night owl. “So if you have Word 5.1a, released in 1992, which some consider to be the absolute best version of Microsoft’s word processor ever, don’t expect to have it work on your spanking new 2012 27-inch iMac.”

“In moving to OS X in 2001, Apple included a ‘Classic’ environment that allowed you to run all those old apps in a separate window. There were some limitations that wouldn’t apply to Word, though Classic itself disappeared by 2006 with the advent of Intel-based Macs,” Steinberg writes. “The main point, however, is that, without having to have an old Mac serving standby duty, you were able to use Word 5.1 on a reasonably current Mac for approximately 14 years. Nobody from Microsoft threatened to take your license away. It was yours to keep.”

Steinberg writes, “This week, Adobe announced that they will not deliver a direct successor to Creative Suite 6. There will be no Creative Suite 7. Instead, they are moving to Creative Cloud apps. What this means is that, beginning in June, you’ll be able to download the newest versions of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro and all the rest for monthly fees. For the first year, users of Creative Suite 3 or later will be eligible for discounted monthly fees for the new Creative Cloud suite, beginning at $29.99 per month; students pay $19.99 per month. The fees will go up next year to $50 per month for a regular user (which means $600 per year). But if you miss a payment, prepare to lose access to your software… Has Adobe considered possible lost business as a result?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Since we got PixelMator, we just haven’t missed Photoshop – the only Adobe software we were using with any regularity, so Adobe’s death wish doesn’t phase us. Now, if this were Apple, we’d be screaming bloody murder, so we can understand why Adobe CS users are having some issues with this news. Are you an Adobe CS user? What do you think? If Adobe stick to their plan, will you be a CS user this time next year?

Related article:
Adobe goes subscription-only, rebrands Creative Suite as Creative Cloud – May 6, 2013


  1. Adobe apparently doesn’t believe there is a worldwide Depression going in right now. Fee-for-use hasn’t helped the TV industry so far (Cable and Satellite vs Flix), why does Adobe think it will work for them with a captive audience?

    The value of standalone Adobe Suites just went up. Adobe thinks the Internet is “always on” and everyone has fat pipes with lots of bandwidth. NOT!

    1. It’s not a question of fat pipes and always on. The software still resides on your hard drive and so does your product. The application simply phones home whenever you want to use it to see if you’ve paid your bill.

      Bye-bye, Adobe, and good luck!

  2. Will I still be a CS customer?

    Yes, because using a legacy copy of CS is how **NOT** to become a CC customer who’s stuck paying a monthly fee to the tune of $600/year per seat.

    This applies for both my home small business interests as well as for my ‘Large Enterprise’ day job.

    What I expect will happen is that I’ll figure out an alternative to Adobe for my own stuff, that will become the basis of the recommenation I’ll be making for my boss at work to get rid of Adobe in the larger Enterprise setting.

    Adobe already has a bad reputation of not being very good as a value proposition product, and this change will force the issue and motivate changing platforms…*away* from Adobe. Their business decision…and subsequent risk.


  3. this truly sucks! Why not offer subscription and the ability to purchase software? I will not be paying monthly fees, I want to buy it once and not have to worry about spending any more money on it UNTIL I’m ready to upgrade on my terms…I have the retail version 4, and photoshop 5 select and was planning on upgrading to 6 or 7 in the future. This is my hobby and right now in my life, I dont have the time to be on the computer doing my photography thing until later this fall…

  4. As a design professional, Adobe has been a part of my life on a daily basis. I’ve watched this company through many iterations. Going to the cloud makes sense for Adobe, but I think it’s strictly on the premise of piracy, but in a certain sense Adobe brought the pirated issue upon themselves with unreasonable pricing structures.

    As a student, there wasn’t a way I could afford to buy the software outright, and many of my peers were in the same boat – so we bought one copy and passed it around. As for the quality of Adobe software: it use to be cutting edge, but it’s morphed into bloatware. DreamWeaver generates terrible code that are not even standard, and the suite just got bigger and bigger. Photoshop isn’t as special as it use to be. Steve pegged them on Flash, and we know that he was right on the money – Flash is horrible in security or efficiency.

    The one great thing about Adobe is their Mercury engine they developed for Premiere.

    I’m planning to hold onto Adobe CS5.5 for as long as I can. There’s nothing about Adobe’s products that makes for a compelling upgrade for me personally. Adobe’s approach to an ‘all in-house’ suite for designers have compromised in quality, and service.

    The pricing for a user at $600.00 a year is ok, but not for a student. I think if Adobe kept it at $450 it might be something I would use. I don’t buy into ‘you get all this’ when at times, I don’t need ‘all that’. There should be more flexibility (a-la-carte), I just want Photoshop, After Effects and charge $10.00 per app/per month because honestly who uses over a dozen apps per day in their work-flow?

    I’m all for paying for quality software, and like Quark knows you don’t treat the design community well, we will abandon you. Show some love Adobe with some reasonable and flexible pricing structures. I understand you need to make money, I understand you have families to support with your employees, but show some love with what works for the design community, churn out some innovative software and I’ll be in line to back you up again once again Adobe.

    1. Your comments about pricing are way off the mark. Adobe has always had student pricing that is extremely reasonable. And the prices for their pro packages have also been way under the industry standards. Under the new plan there is also student pricing at $20 a month, in line with their old model. As a business owner, I don’t mind the new strategy. I’m not getting any kind of deal, Adobe pretty much upgrades every couple of years and I shell out my 800-1000 bucks per seat, but it’s painful to do it all at once like that. The monthly plan spreads those payments out, making it much easier to keep up to date.
      As for the bloat-creep, I wholeheartedly agree with you. AE should have been redesigned from the ground up years ago. Now it’s just a big buggy mess. Photoshop has actually gotten interesting again, Illustrator is a mess, dreamweaver is a mess, inDesign – who cares, f*ck print 🙂

      1. “Adobe pretty much upgrades every couple of years and I shell out my 800-1000 bucks per seat, but it’s painful to do it all at once like that. The monthly plan spreads those payments out, making it much easier to keep up to date.”

        Or you could plan ahead. 😎

      2. blaargh

        What you neglected to mention is that the software you are “spreading out the payments for” is now rented. When you stop paying, you own nothing. Previously, you payed a similar amount every year, and had access to the most current version. Stop upgrading, and you didn’t lose what you payed for up to that point.

        I realize that with the cloud you get every piece of software Adobe publishes, but as others have said here, most people only need what is offered in a single Creative Suite package. For myself, and most of the designers I know, it has been the Design CS Suite or its Web equivalent.

        I have been using Adobe products for 18 years. The first app I learned to use was Illustrator, and I still use primarily Adobe apps for my day-to-day workflow. I used to have a lot of respect for Adobe. Now I am starting to see the greed showing through.

    2. I have a cousin that uses Photoshop, Indesign & Acrobat in her business making newsletters and flyers, as well as contracts and other documents in Acrobat (she needs the special options of the Pro version). But, she had to buy CS3 Design Premium to get these 3 apps (which included Illustrator and several other apps she didn’t need) because those three she needed separately cost more than the suite. She hasn’t been able to afford the upgrade pricing (nor seen the need) and CS 3 for her still works in 10.8. But, how much longer will it continue to work? Another problem for her is learning new interfaces (She had PPC Photoshop and Pagemaker before CS3) and when upgrading in such huge jumps it really befuddled her, as she doesn’t accept change well. (Going from OS9 to 10.5 was a HUGE complication that she still has trouble with.)
      Adobe now allows you to subscribe for $10/mo only the apps you need, and receive constant/automatic upgrades and one is always current. One doesn’t have to “rent” the whole suite, only what you need. Just need PS, then it’s $10/month. Same for the others.
      Also, Adobe is still offering CS6 indefinitely with bug fixes/security updates, but no new features will be added, with the old pricing model and permeant licenses for those who wish to upgrade using that model. While this new pricing model may not appeal to all, there are definite advantages to many, if thoroughly looked at. Yes, there are alternatives, and now maybe some more developers may fill the void and offer them a run for the money seeing a larger need to be filled.

      1. Software companies, record companies, the movie industry think we’re all stupid–we’ll some of us actually are–BUT!!!…..
        they’re bastards who gouge us for things we’re happy to pay a fair price for…and hence they encourage stealing.

        These ass-hats won’t learn until it’s too late.

  5. Big opportunity for competitors! Especially if they use Apple’s pricing model for their apps (inexpensive, affordable) I stopped upgrading CS at version 3, and haven’t missed out on anything. Pixelmator can clean up a lot of business as a result of this boneheaded move on Adobe’s part. Kinda sad, another giant from my early Mac years slowly collapsing in on itself.

    1. Huge opportunity for Google to come in, copy the look, feel and functionality and then give it away to gain advertising. I’m sure their little forgers are looking at this as I write.

  6. I used to run InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Premiere. I am down to only Phothoshop now. I am also in the process of transitioning to Pixelmator. If it wasn’t for gradient blending of layer masks (which I do a ton of), I would have ditched PS a good while ago. Hope other programs step up to the plate and take over the Mac market. Screw Adobe.

  7. It’s already ridiculously expensive to buy CS, and I hate the idea of it being just as expensive with no long term use options. It’s an investment to buy software, not a recurring bill. I’ll never subscribe to their monthly plans. I’ll continue to use my CS6 as long as possible, and will likely look to competitors thereafter.

  8. It will be up to consumers not to follow them like sheep. I say sheep as opposed to cattle the Adobe Cloud scenario is more akin to being a regularly fleeced flock of sheep.

    New products are coming along and I hope people try them. After years of acquiring Photoshop skills, learning a new program is not a thrilling idea, but Adobe should not be rewarded for this. So try the new products. Reward developers by paying for them also. Help developers make their products as good as Adobe’s. DON’T ( for crying out loud ) use FLASH when developing websites.

    Acorn look extremely promising.


    Gimp of course

    Seashore (Gimp but more Mac Like)

    Live Quartz

    Adobe’s tools are powerful and mature, but you can ween yourself off of them if you try.

    1. Pixelmator for Photoshop
      Acorn for Illustrator
      ????? for InDesign

      InDesign is the problem. When you have to send something to a professional offset printer what are you going to use?

  9. @ GDL, you’re right on the money. I only use Photoshop in my business. I could explore CS6 for a long time and still find new things in there. I guess that’s what I’m about to do.

  10. I’m done with adobe if they really go subscription-only. No way I’m encouraging that licensing model. I’m a graphic designer who’s used Photoshop since the early 90s, but I upgrade when it makes sense for me businesswise, not just because Adobe thinks its time I paid them more money.

    This move marks the end of innovation, because adobe now has no motivation to improve their product. Also, every customer is on the bleeding edge — will it be possible to keep running old subscription versions even after newer ones comes out? I suspect not, which means forced upgrades.

    The whole idea stinks. I now use Sketch instead of illustrator, Acorn 4 instead of Photoshop, and iBooks Author instead on InDesign. The latter’s actually *free*! Well under $100 for software I can use for years instead of paying $600 a year for te “privilege” of using adobe’s bloated crap!

  11. I’ve always hated this Apple vs. Adobe narrative that peaked during the Flash episode. Apple won, Adobe lost. But in losing, Adobe became better. For example, I actually really like Edge Animate. I’m still new to it but I greatly prefer it to Flash AND it ‘s HTML5 code. While not perfect, I think InDesign has made great strides in democratizing DPS for those that don’t work for mega-corporations (like me). I was an early subscriber to Creative Cloud and I really like it, but then again I was an early adopter of Final Cut X and saw the potential in that too (and happy to have stuck with it).

    I can’t see how moving to SaaS is a bad thing for Adobe – if the software and service are great, the market will speak. If they suck, the market will speak. I take the over.

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