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Adobe Creative Cloud Upgrade Offer Ends, New Features Begin

Adobe Creative Cloud launched in the spring, offering a way to get access to all the Adobe Creative Suite 6 applications in the Master Collection, plus many other additional applications and services. For example, it includes the subscription-based Adobe Muse, a visual way of creating web pages that works very much like InDesign; a preview version of Adobe Edge, an interactive tool for creating animations using HTML, CSS and JavaScript; Photoshop Lightroom 4; and more.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud

Since it launched, those of us who have licenses to recent versions of Adobe Creative Suite have had the chance to migrate to Adobe Creative Cloud for only $29.99 per month for the first year, instead of the standard $49.99 per month plan. But that offer ends August 31, so if you were thinking about going the Cloud route, now is the time to do it!

This month those of us who subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud are also starting to get some of the other benefits of being members. We begin to get updates to our Creative Suite 6 software with features which will not released to non-subscribers until Creative Suite 7 arrives next year. The first of these arrives very soon with an update to Adobe Illustrator CS6. It will include some new features including the  ability to package Illustrator files with placed images and fonts, just as InDesign does it. InDesign users have long taken for granted the ability to package their assets, but it’s always been a royal pain to do it in Illustrator without buying a third-party solution. Rufus Deuchler (who has presented at InDesign Conferences) did a sneak peek of the feature that Adobe has posted.

So, why can’t Adobe offer this kind of deal to all Creative Suite 6 users? Because if you buy a license to the Creative Suite (rather than a subscription), U.S. law prohibits adding new features to software you’ve already purchased without charging for them. However, subscribers to the Adobe Creative Cloud are not held to this restriction, and they can receive the update when it’s available.

There will also be updates to Adobe Muse and Adobe Edge applications coming this week as well.

Steve Werner

Steve Werner

Steve Werner is a trainer, consultant, and co-author (with David Blatner and Christopher Smith) of InDesign for QuarkXPress Users and Moving to InDesign. He has worked in the graphic arts industry for more than 20 years and was the training manager for ten years at Rapid Lasergraphics. He has taught computer graphics classes since 1988.
Steve Werner

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21 Comments on “Adobe Creative Cloud Upgrade Offer Ends, New Features Begin

  1. “So, why can?t Adobe offer this kind of deal to all Creative Suite 6 users? Because if you buy a license to the Creative Suite (rather than a subscription), U.S. law prohibits adding new features to software you?ve already purchased without charging for them”

    Not true. This is more of an accounting and reporting decision, since Adobe’s finance guys would have to make a change of accounting policy. They would then have to convince their auditors that revenue (which comes at the start of the cycle) and associated costs were being fairly spread over the whole CS6 cycle. That fair spread is the underlying legal requirement, but it might equally be satisfied if extra features were added mid cycle, or if the auditors determined that Adobe weren’t “materially” mis-stating revenues by adding extra features. There are legal issues, but essentially it’s a voluntary limitation.

  2. @John,

    I have no legal training so I’m not competent to comment on the legal ramifications of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that Bob linked to. But Adobe is not the only US corporation that follows this interpretation. Of course, it can work to their advantage because they prefer the continual revenue stream of the subscription model over the “buying a box” software model. That way, new features can be an incentive for users to go the Cloud route.

  3. I question the idea that they aren’t updating purchased software because of law prohibiting it since the law quoted has been in effect for some time now and Adobe, among many others, has been regularly updating the software they sold. Every version of Lightroom has had several updates as has Photoshop. I ahve purchased a number of software packages that specify in the purchase that it includes updates for X amount of time with X equaling the time between new versions.

  4. Jim, you’re dead right. Other Adobe products have new features added on a fairly regular basis.

    We can only assume then that this is Adobe’s way of trying to force us all to the cloud model – whether it suits us or not.

    I don’t know why Adobe feel the need to try and hide their ambitions behind spurious legal arguments.

  5. Lightroom, Photoshop, InDesign, etc. have bug fixes between regular releases. They don’t add new features.

    There’s no reason you have to go with the Cloud model, even if new features are added. If you wait until CS7, arriving in 2013, you’ll get them too.

  6. To be fair I haven’t heard Adobe use this legal argument. I understood this as Steve’s take on things.

    But here’s another thought. As software matures and everyone has it, Adobe has fewer new sales. That’s less money for Adobe. As the software gets better, there are fewer new features that will be needed by everyone, so Adobe sells fewer upgrades. Fewer new sales and fewer upgrades = eventually a company that has low income. Worst case scenario, not enough money to survive. To me subscriptions kind of seem inevitable. I don’t think this is only true for Adobe. This will probably be a change we see in a lot of software. Look at Apple. Every year they put out a new OS for $30, and now $20. Sure, you don’t “have” to buy it. But at some point you have to, in order to stay compatible. So it’s a subscription of sorts.

    I just hope that subscription rates become (and stay) reasonable and that Adobe continues to add good new features, because once everyone subscribes, Adobe “could” get very lazy. I hope that doesn’t happen. It will be interesting to see how this all works out. The software world is alway evolving.

  7. Steve W. is absolutely right on this. John is correct that this is an accounting issue, but ultimately it ends up being a legal restriction. I have heard this from a wide range of people at Adobe for over a decade, so it’s not new. As Steve pointed out, they can release bug fixes between versions, but they effectively cannot release value-add features unless it’s a paid-for upgrade or you’re a subscriber.

    The Creative Cloud is a great way for Adobe to get around a wide range of issues they’ve dealt with for 20+ years. For some people, the CC is a better deal, for some it’s worse. I think it’s a pretty awesome deal, all in all.

  8. You know, all legalese aside, I’d pay good money (sarcasm fully intended) to understand why a $49.99/month offer magically transforms into a ?61.49/month offer for French subscriber (and the British £ or Australian $ conversions are JUST as bad).

    I could – barely – buy the whole “shipping and handling” price increse when they actually sold physical boxes. It still came cheaper to FLY to NYC, buy the US-version software, and FLY BACK to France than pay the local prices, but I could pretend there was a rational, spurious though the difference was.

    But THIS… This is a slap in the face. The dematerialization of the software distribution system means that it costs them litteraly NOTHING (at most some piddly bank fees I’m probably paying part of as a customer) to distribute their service here as well as across the US. At MOST, a direct translation of prices from $ to ?, the way Apple tends to do, could MAYBE have flown. But this price means that I’m paying a 50-freakin-percents premium because I happen to live overseas.

    If you guys have a good reason for this that would stop me from frothing at the mouth, I’d love to hear it. I can just imagine how many freelancers, small businesses and mid-size companies are gonna flip a big ol’bird to Adobe across the Atlantic for this one.

    Insensed is FAR too mild a word.

  9. @Quentin: I know this won’t serve as consolation, but here in Brazil the Creative Cloud costs US$ 95 a month. And there’s no discount for the first year (which, I guess, is the case in Europe, too).

    Just like you, I would love to know the reason for this outrageous difference. The “official” excuse must be, obviously, the high taxes collected by the government. However, other non-physical software stores, like Apple’s iTunes Store and Sony’s PlayStation Network, sell their products in Brazil at the same U.S. prices.

    I can’t help to think that the unofficial (and real) reason is pure greed.

  10. Steve, I do have that training, and no David, Steve is not “absolutely right on this”. You may have heard the convenient excuse from a variety of people, but you clearly haven’t been speaking to those competent to explain these issues in any depth! The legal requirement is for fair reporting of income and costs, but within those parameters Adobe can follow a variety of methods of recognizing revenue. Introducing significant features would require consultation with the auditors if they are judged to be so significant that the current revenue recognition is no longer fair. But it can be done.

  11. @Lindsay : Glad to see the situation is not new.

    The awful part of this article is where they admit in so many words that the price discrepancy is based in part on how much they can get Europeans to agree to pay above and beyond the costs paid by US customers. Not on what the regional localization costs them but just what “research” tells them they can milk out of the local market.

    In other words, they are screwing us over purposefully – which is truly obscene. I feel sick as well as mad now.

  12. One of the new features of Creative Cloud I haven’t seen mentioned here is the upcoming addition of unlimited DPS Single Edition apps. Given that the current price is $395 anyone jumping on the Creative Cloud bandwagon at the current rate of $29.99/month would more than cover the first year with one app.

    If you have any thought of publishing to iPad from InDesign it’s pretty much a no brainer, at least for the first year.

  13. @Bob,

    I hope you can write a post about the addition of DPS Single Edition apps to the Adobe Creative Cloud when that feature becomes available. I think it would be helpful for us to have more details.

  14. @Bob said “One of the new features of Creative Cloud I haven?t seen mentioned here is the upcoming addition of unlimited DPS Single Edition apps.”

    I hope you’re right, but Adobe never states unlimited exports of DPS. I’ve called Adobe to ask what inclusion of DPS Single Edition in the Creative Cloud means, and they told me they don’t know and to call back when it’s released (they asked the DPS team, and that was their response). The Adobe website says it includes DPS Single Edition, but never explains what that means. Does it mean one, or unlimited exports? Technically it could just be one DPS Single Edition included with a year or Creative Cloud. I’ve heard various reports from different Adobe people I’ve spoken with, so I hope you’re right that it’s unlimited. But I’ll believe it when I see it.

  15. RE: EU pricing… Something that is not discussed is patents. It is easier to fight patent infringement in the US because the US patent office gives out patents like candy. One can get a patent for a new way to sneeze. It is more expensive for a software company to defend/protect their IP in the EU, if they can do so at all. These are two very different markets.

    Here’s a tip for the technically inclined that require licensed software… Buy Adobe software while posing from an IP address in the USA.

  16. @David Adobe doesn’t always have their own story straight. I’ve heard several things from different Adobe people. Some said it might just be one DPS export, some said unlimited, others said they had no idea. But I’m glad you heard unlimited exports.

  17. The first discussion (new features):
    It is absolutely untrue that in America, the free market paradigm by excellence, a law could forbid you updating anything free of charge. There are a lot of examples where it is done.

    The real reason is: If all the new features would be included into the existing version for free, why would I BUY the next version. Cloud users pay a monthly fee, so there needs to be an incentive for this. Continuously new useful features is that incentive…

    The second discussion (price policy for non-us customers):
    Shipping may introduce some price hike, taxes may do an other. Let’s face it: Shipping is out with downloading, and Adobe does not pay more for a European download then it does for a US download.
    Taxes: I don’t know for the Brazilian situation, but in Europe, taxes are reasonable and are due on your profits. Sales taxes are indicated separately and as such are identifiable.
    This leaves localization: Putting the software into an other language, translating the documentation etc. does introduce some costs, but that should be reasonable. BTW: I’m using the English version of the software products whenever it is possible. No reason for a premium.
    May be there is a cost associated to do business in Europe: that’s not more then doing business in the US.
    Last reason (and may be the correct one): Profits! It seems that we Europeans are ready to pay more for less service!

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