Adobe’s Photoshop turns 25

“This week is the 25th birthday of… Adobe Photoshop, an image-editing program that was created when we snapped pictures on film and displayed them on paper,” Farhad Manjoo writes for The New York Times. “It has not just survived but thrived through every major technological transition in its lifetime: the rise of the web, the decline of print publishing, the rise and fall of home printing and the supernova of digital photography.”

“But now, for all its cultural cachet, Photoshop risks missing out on a far larger market of casual photo bugs and their smartphones. Once, for better or worse, we Photoshopped photos. Now, more often than not, we Instagram or Snapchat them, and everyone, it seems, is a photo editor,” Manjoo writes. “But not everyone needs or even wants a fancy program like Photoshop.”

“So Adobe is taking a big risk and reinventing Photoshop. The process actually started in 2011. Rather than selling licensed copies of Photoshop and its other high-end creative applications for hundreds of dollars each (Photoshop used to sell for $700 a copy), Adobe began offering monthly access for as little as $10 a month,” Manjoo writes. “The price change was initially met with fury from loyalists, who didn’t like the idea of renting rather than buying… [But] Adobe now has 3.5 million subscribers to its Creative Cloud suite of apps (which includes Photoshop), and it expects to have nearly six million by the end of this year, with annual revenue generated by those subscriptions approaching $3 billion. It’s on track to beat the record $3.4 billion that Adobe made from selling boxed software in 2011.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Mac image editors: Download the free Affinity Photo beta, we think you’ll like it – February 11, 2015
New Mac-based Photoshop rival ‘Affinity Photo’ is now a free beta – February 9, 2015
New Pixelmator for Mac and iPad updates now available – December 17, 2014
Pixelmator gets even better with Limestone upgrade for OS X Yosemite – November 11, 2014


    1. Having rent-only options from software manufacturers shows nothing but pure financial elitist contempt for pro’s, semi-pro’s and amateurs who may or may not be making money from their products. There should be options for all.

      1. Adobe has always thought they knew best, and has complete contempt for their users, who they still see as pawns in their game. First they tried to kill off Apple by giving priority to PC development (yeah that worked…!), then they bought Flash and made it even more of a dog. Good to see them playing the long game… to their eventual destruction.

    2. I’ve been trialling Perfect Photo Suite 9 for the past 30 days instead of using my Photoshop CS6.

      I had dabbled with previous versions of Perfect Photo Suite, but only occasionally, I bought version 7 and 8.5 but decided to bypass version 9 when it first launched.

      I’m glad I decided to try it out FREE. Version 9 has some excellent tools for a fast and professional post processing which unlike Photoshop is actually fun to use. My trial is now over and with an offer upgrade price of just $79.00 I’ve bought it.

      I can’t see me using PS6 again. Perfect Photo Suite 9 does everything I need and more.

      Bye bye Adobe and hello OnOne 🙂

  1. I agree with Chemistry…I know I know I know many people make the argument “but you’re renting ANYWAY when you buy an upgrade every year but that really misses the point. EVERY upgrade I ask – is this worth it. The vendor has to fight for my money. If I don’t think it a good direction or I don’t like the upgrades I can keep my software and MOST IMPORTANTLY my workflow the way it currently is. When you rent the software what is the incentive to add a huge new feature that may cost patent licensing fees or many hours of development? You’ve all ready got the money. Also can you imagine the day when an “auto upgrade” on my rented software has a huge bug or changes my Workflow in a way I did not expect. Holy POOP. Cloud based software can be a bag of hurt.

    1. Agreed. I bought Affinity Designer, and have the beta of their Photo app. Later this year, I’ll be test driving their Publisher app. As a micro-publisher, that’ll hopefully complete my migration away from Adobe’s excellent-but-buggy-&-overpriced bloatware.

      The idea of never again owning their apps was the final straw for me, after many years of using them.

      Farewell Adobe…Hello Affinity!

    2. I’m keeping a close eye on Affinity too – CC is good, but the rental option is ludicrous. And I doubt very much the Instagrammers of the world would have used Photoshop anyway, that was more the iPhoto crowd – the line between pros and social media posters has always been pretty well demarcated, no one is ‘losing’ customers’ in that particular equation. Adobe’s new licensing model on the other hand, that is something to talk about.

  2. Renting software is like being blackmailed. Keep paying, or else. We are already looking into alternatives for the day when our version of Photoshop CS5 stops working. I’d be really surprised if those millions of people now renting Adobe software include very many non-professionals. I think that given the option between a low-cost alternative that satisfies most casual users’ requirements, and renting forever, most people that don’t absolutely need Adobe software would choose the former. I’d bet Adobe’s growth in subscribers is soon going to level off, and thereafter be limited to a MUCH smaller market than prior to the switch to a rental model.

  3. i am running CS6 and make sure i have my license and the install files secure. i am prepared for the day i have to load CS6 onto a machine that is not connected to the net if Adobe decides to EOL and disable CS6 on connected computers. i have used Pixelmator but i still am not used to the workflow and i fight it too much for me to really commit to it. PS is just much faster for what i need.

    but i am a local install loyalist. i want full control of the applications i install on my mac that i use for design and development. those systems are too critical to leave up to the whim of rented software and upgrades i cannot control.

    i am completely comfortable with content and consumer apps being auto-upgrade – i.e. my apps on my iPad and iPhone. but leave my professional apps alone.

  4. I rent because it’s about value delivered. 120 a year for the latest Ps and Lr is a fair deal, because for that amount of money, the value is there. I own PS6 as well but prefer the added features of my ‘upgrade’ by renting. If this landlord (Adobe) raises the ‘rent’ to a point where other alternatives make sense, then I’ll move out and use another service or product.

    1. This is a valid point too. If you are someone that upgrades every year, CC is actually *less* expensive by hundreds of dollars. It’s also nice to get new features as they are created rather than waiting for an annual refresh.

      1. It’s a valid point only for those who upgraded everything regardless of how poor the supposed “upgrade” features were…and it isn’t at all hard to recognize that that’s not a value-centric paradigm customer.

        Adobe’s value paradigm for a Photoshop eroded over the years such that many of its customers (starting with the Prosumers and SMB’s) became more deliberativly critical of just which upgrades to buy and which to skip…that was how many of this consumer group cut their Adobe licence maintenance costs by 50%.

        And versus 50% of the upgrade costs, Adobe’s rental model is simply not a better value for the consumer.


  5. Remember when we had to rent our phones from Ma Bell?
    Where we essentially payed for the phone every a couple of years but then still had to keep paying for it?
    Remember how innovation during those years was thriving? /s

  6. Hmm. So basically Adobe is expecting to make in 2015 as much money as it was making back in 2011? That’s not financially encouraging. Get lost, Adobe. Your subscription model is a gimmick used to prop up a decaying empire; it’s equivalent to the Feds taking your money first and giving you a refund later, maybe.

  7. I consider my master files – original layered PS, AI, AE, PP and other documents – my intellectual property. I refuse to hand over my intellectual property to Adobe. If I were to be on this rental system, once I stopped paying rent, every single one of them would be inaccessible.

    And this is not just me. I do not know of any employer who would willingly put themselves in such a situations.

    I’ve been a major user of Adobe products since Photoshop 2.1 and, with the exception of their killing Freehand without harvesting any of their (still) state of the art features, I’ve always liked Adobe. But this rental deal put a screeching halt on any positive thoughts I have about the company.

    Adobe’s rental model is greedy, self-serving and shows a brazen contempt for customers. If some want to rent, let them but Adobe should maintain the traditional method alongside this.

    As far as I know, Master Collection CS6 is the end of the line for me after well over 20 years. I no longer look forward to new features because if the only way to get them is to rent them, forget it.

    1. Our office group had an Adobe fan who would annually “educate” local management about how many pirated copies had popped up each year and needed to legitimized with purchases. With the subscription model, they said screw it. Just from this one workgroup, Abobe lost probably $20K-$30K/year in sales.

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