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Adobe InDesign CS becomes a Cloud-Only InDesign CC

Don’t panic. You might recall those memorable words from The Hitchhiker’s Guide, and they are certainly words of wisdom today. Adobe annouced today that they are adopting a cloud-only future, and the next version of InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and all our favorite tools, will be be available only by subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud. Some people will flail their arms and say it’s the beginning of the end; others will breathe a sigh of relief; most folks will wonder what it all means.

There is so much news and background here that we’ll be breaking this into several articles. But I have to get a few quick InDesign-focused headlines off my chest:

  • InDesign’s name/branding becomes InDesign CC.
  • InDesign CS6 will continue to be sold.
  • InCopy will be added to the Creative Cloud. (If you don’t want the whole cloud, you can get a subscription to InCopy only for $10/month!)
  • InDesign gets a new dark UI (so it looks more like its siblings, Illustrator and Photoshop), a performance boost by going all 64-bit on the Mac OS, and a few minor features (like QR codes and a pretty awesome new Font menu in the Control panel).
  • CC ships June 17.

Okay, now let me explain.


Adobe, like all software developers, needs income. They’re not trying to rip you off or reach into your wallet unnecessarily. They’re not overly greedy thugs or bullies, like some flamers have implied. They need income to keep supporting and improving their software. And, like most software developers, they have found that it no longer works to offer new versions once every 12-24 months and hoping that people will upgrade. That model, which worked for two decades, just doesn’t anymore. The world has changed, and it has become clear that the only way for Adobe to provide products is to provide them as a service.

Unfortunately, Adobe has not been particularly good at offering services in the past — they tend to kill them in one way or another. So many of us have wondered about the future of this whole “cloud” thing. But today it became very, very clear that this is different. Adobe is saying, “we’re betting the farm on this strategy. We cannot go back to the old days.”

That said, Adobe acknowledges that there are a lot of people who simply cannot jump the chasm and go all-subscription yet. That’s why they’re going to continue supporting (and selling) the CS6 product line. They may be crazy, but they’re not insane!

Dispelling a Myth

By the way, I need to take a moment and clear up something important: A “cloud” subscription does not mean you use the software in the cloud. It means:

  • There are no more boxes. You must install the software by downloading it with the nifty, new “Adobe Creative Cloud” app.
  • You still install the software on your desktop or laptop computer.
  • The software “calls home” over the internet once every so often (at least once a month) to make sure you’re still a paid subscriber. This only becomes a significant problem if you’re going to live in a cave with no internet access for more than a couple months at a time.

For more myths debunked, please see Terry White’s article here.

Providing Value

Adobe is painfully aware that they need to “sell” this big change to their customers, and so they’re doing everything they can to make it clear this is a value proposition: You agree to a new pricing/distribution model and they give you a lot in return.

  • Price: To be honest, the price of the Cloud is already reasonably low, but they’re making it even lower for the first year (and possibly longer). If you already own CS6, it’s only $20/month to get the whole cloud. That’s $240 for the whole shebang. (If you own an earlier version, there are other discounts.)
  • Products: Remember Adobe’s “master collection”? It was over $2000? you’re getting all that plus more with the Creative Cloud. The only way to get Muse, Edge, and some other products is through CC.
  • Fonts and Services: Adobe bought Typekit, the leading online web font service. Guess what: It’s a creative cloud service now! And even better: You’re soon going to be able to download Typekit fonts to your desktop to use inside InDesign! Adobe bought Behance, the leading online creative community. Guess what: you get a “paid” subscription free with the Cloud. It’s clear that Adobe is bulking up the value with these add-ons!
  • Cloudy Stuff: Adobe has already started adding “cloudy stuff” — that’s what I call features that are directly related to cloud services. The idea is that there are things these programs can do when they know you’re connected to the cloud. We’re going to be hearing more about these features soon!

Remember when Steve Jobs and Apple did away with the floppy disk drive, telling people they didn’t really need it anymore? People freaked out and then, relatively quickly, realized Apple was right. I have no doubt that people will spit on the ground and stomp their feet at Adobe’s decision. Heck, personally, I hate the idea of not “owning” my software (see the Macworld article I wrote on the subject a couple of years back).

Ultimately, history will show whether this was the right choice for Adobe, but I think there’s a good chance that, over time, we all will find ourselves annoyed, then resigned, then curious, then, ultimately, excited about Adobe’s CC decision.

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

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252 Comments on “Adobe InDesign CS becomes a Cloud-Only InDesign CC

  1. I like the point in this article you made about software developers needing income. That was probably the one thing I agreed with. I have gotten so tried of listening to people review software where they keep asking the developers to make dramatic cuts to their pricing. I don?t know why some people expect software to be dirt cheap.

    The part where David and Bob err is in thinking that the money all has to go to Adobe. Many Adobe users are very passionate about completing products like Final Cut Pro or Coda so they should be able to fund those products instead if they so choose. I found for myself that buying plug-ins is sometimes a better deal then buying ID updates. I noticed that ID CC added the ability to make bar codes which is nice but plug-ins have had this feature for many years so it made more sense for me to give my money to the plug-in developer instead. The same goes with auto text flow. The feature was broken in ID so my money went to the plug-in developers instead. This is the way things should work. If Adobe can?t make software that is as good as someone else then I don?t believe they are entitled to get paid for an inferior product.

    I am not against CC because I am a cheapskate I am against it because it is anti competitive. Bob has compared Adobe?s subscription pricing to a monthly cellphone bill but if you think about it CC is not like that at all. With cellphone services there are many that you can pick from which encourages prices to be competitive and services to improve. Adobe doesn?t allow for this to happen since they bought out all the significant competition. There is a big difference between these two fields.

    • There’s a big difference between Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile but it’s a still a choice. I understand that not everyone is happy about this but I stand by the comparison. Adobe is not a monopoly, contrary to some of the things I’ve read. Anyone that thinks they are has no understanding of what a monopoly is. There are plenty of other choices out there. Whether they’re as good as those produced by Adobe, is going to depend on your needs.

      As consumers, we talk with our wallets. Nobody is forcing anyone into anything.

      • There are many phone services that are roughly comparable to one another (not exactly comparable but pretty comparable.) Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, Qwest, Clearwire, and those are just the services available in the US. If you multiply that by all the other countries in the rest of the world you are left with an enormous amount of choice.

        What companies are comparable to Adobe? Quark? I wouldn’t say that a company that has one product is adequately comparable. Corel? Not really. New products like Pixelmator or Sketch? No, those products haven’t had the time to mature that Adobe products have had.

        Adobe’s real competitor was Macromedia. Macromedia wasn’t an exact competitor to Adobe but it was really close. It was much closer of a competitor then Quark, Corel, or any of the start up graphics companies that have cropped up over the last decade. Yes I realize that technically speaking Adobe has competition but you know that you are really stretching the truth. Macromedia was their only REAL competitor.

      • Not true Bob
        I am the very least being forced into an always connected and download delivery method. With NO future guarantee that I can get into my files in three years (or perpetuity) if I stop paying the highway robber.

      • That’s not true, Bob. We are very much forced into this murky cloud because there is no alternative if you need to keep working.

  2. There is a great deal of upset about this subscription model, amongst people who have a perfectly good understanding of how it’s going to work.

    These are long standing users of Adobe software, some of them well known artists using Photoshop for instance. I suggest you check out the threads on CG Society, as just one of many examples, to see anger not by ‘flamers’ as this article breezily dismisses them as, but people who have legitimate concerns.

    An idea of how Adobe deals with awkward customers:

    Observe how Adobe’s CEO transparently attempts to avoid a perfectly legitimate question about some alleged outrageous price imbalances by repeating ‘Creative Cloud’ over and over like a protective mantra, as if it’ll mesmerise us into submission. The view that Adobe is not greedy or disingenuous is contradicted by this kind of corporate double-talk.

    Even if, for the sake of the argument, the questioner had his facts wrong, the CEO’s response remains evasive. Monopolies always behave this way.

    Just because some people have gotten overly emotional and used somewhat, ahem, ‘colourful’ language in their criticism of this move, it’s a ‘straw man’ argument to dismiss as flamers those who are rightfully angry with a perceived transparent attempt at imprisoning its customers, having the monopoly as it does in certain software fields.

    It does look to many that they’re doing this for one reason – to extract more frequent revenue while at the same time removing the compulsion for major feature upgrades. They can now, if they’re so inclined, improve and debug the software as slowly as they see fit, with no incentive to do otherwise, while slowly increasing the price, hoping that we’re like the frog in the pot slowly brought to boil, we won’t try to jump out until it’s too late. And even then the question is – jump to where, for software like Photoshop?

    Some might argue that’s what they’ve been doing all along anyway, pre-subscription – but the major difference is that you’re now forced to pay for ‘upgrades’ you may not see as worth the ticket.

    Perhaps the concerns will prove unfounded or even paranoid. I have my doubts, but time will tell. I’ll revisit this article in a year (it’ll take about that long to see how Adobe really behaves in this new model) and we can talk about who’s wrong – if I am, I’ll be happy to admit it.

    But I’m guessing that customer outrage will force Adobe to modify its strategy, and render the argument moot.

  3. Is there a way to sort the comments so that they are in chronological order? It looks like newer comments are mixed in with older comments so if I check the site every few days to catch up, I’m having to skim through all the comments looking at the timestamp to find the comments I haven’t read yet.

    • @ABlake: Thanks for your note. It is tricky for two reasons. First, we have implemented threads, so you can reply to a specific post. That way you can see actual conversations instead of just trying to piece them together through a list of comments.

      Second, we are currently displaying comments from newest to oldest (based on the first comment in the thread). I’m not sure I like this. I prefer reading from oldest to newest, but we’ll discuss it with our web designers/developers. [UPDATE: We’ve reversed it; now we’re displaying oldest first.]

      In most blog posts it’s not hard to keep up, but when a blog post has as many comments as this one, everything gets harder to follow. Sorry!

      • I have two suggestions.

        For readers: Might be obvious, but use Cmd-F and search for the date (e.g., “May 16”). If you’re checking back every morning or evening you can bounce around the thread right to the new comments.

        For David, et al: Start a new “comment overflow” post?

    • Could your developers provide a nifty option I’ve seen on other comment boards? You can sort from oldest to newest or from newest to oldest?

  4. A year ago I was in the anti-cloud camp, but recently I’ve changed my mind. As implemented by Adobe, CC should mean:

    1. Improvements come sooner. That’s especially important with digital book formats.

    2. Improvements will come a few at a time, making them easier to learn.

    3. Improvements coming in small batches is likely to mean fewer bugs.

    It doesn’t take a lot of improvements to recoup the cost of that monthly subscription.

    • 1. Improvements come sooner. That?s especially important with digital book formats.

      Adobe comes out with updates every single year. Is that not soon enough? Adobe’s problem has never been being slow at updates their problem has been stability. They release the product so fast that they become very unstable.

      2. Improvements will come a few at a time, making them easier to learn.

      Why would that make it easier to learn?

      3. Improvements coming in small batches is likely to mean fewer bugs.

      Actually what it means is that the frequent updates will break plug-ins (see Firefox and Chrome web browsers) and those plug-in developers will have to waste their valuable time making their products compatible with every little update Adobe puts out rather then focusing on making improvements to their software. That is a problem.

      • Here’s the problem with the 12-month release schedule, which was rather forced onto Adobe by the breakneck pace of change in the web and digital publishing realm (think “iPad and Kindle, HTML5 and CSS3”): when your company is committed to continuing to create a suite of products that all work together, and you are constrained by law, as a publicly-traded company, from adding features to a released product, then every engineering team for every product has to finish at pretty much the same time. If you’ve ever been a project manager for anything, you can imagine that nightmare.

        One knock-on effect of this very real nightmare is that most teams have to shut off changes before all the known bugs are fixed, so they can meet the deadline. Another, arguably almost as bad, is that they have to commit to a set of features to work on for a particular release cycle, based on the engineering resources available, the time, and (sad but true) the needs of the marketing department. This means that needed functionality gets deferred to the next cycle, and the next… You get the idea.

        The development teams and product managers have to pitch (sell) their selected features and fixes to management, accounting — especially if they need more engineers — and marketing. If marketing says, “We can’t sell that, it’s got no sex-appeal,” then the team can still win their point if they know we need “that” and they have a specific story that shows why we need it. That’s why the wishlist on is something we all should keep pounding on.

        One of the side-effects of a subscription service is that it frees the engineering teams from the tyranny of the suite-wide release cycle. Nobody has to fit with everyone else’s calendar. With a service, as opposed to a product, any of the product teams can add features as soon as they’re “baked,” which will likely happen faster and better because stress levels are going to be much lower.

        One thing is for sure: the people I speak to at Adobe are sincere, devoted to their products, pleased as Punch when they add a great feature and worried as heck when they don’t feel they’re meeting our needs. Overall, I think the Cloud is going to be good for them, and good for us.

        There are wrinkles in the fabric yet, to be sure, like the issue of how to stay coordinated with plug-in developers, how to handle the situation of a long-term subscription that’s now lapsed (which is not “all your files are belong to us”) and so on. Based on what I know, these things are being earnestly discussed and worked on, and I’m confident they will be worked out equably. Adobe-the-corporation has no vested interest in leaving anybody high and dry.

  5. I’ve been subscribed to CC for awhile now, and I really like it. Instead of being hit with expensive upgrades at what seem like random times, there’s a reasonable monthly price for the latest versions of everything. As a freelancer this is just a cost of doing business to me. The subscription system is easier to budget for. I like the prospect of not having to struggle with which of my clients or vendors has what version. No more saving down to CS4 and hoping hundreds of pages of text don’t reflow. No more digging out the serial numbers every time I need something updated. And now I have access to Muse and lots of other inspiring stuff. I can also imagine this is a relief to the developers, who can take the time they need to design upgrades right rather than be pressured to design them on what I’m guessing were somewhat arbitrary schedules. I like it.

    • CC is not easier to budget for since it takes money away from me that might have been better spent on ID plug-ins or competing products. These products are sometimes better then the Adobe offerings.

      I am also a freelancer but my clients don’t use Adobe apps since none of them are designers. Sharing docs though CC has no use for me at all. We already have products that can track file versions like Google Drive. I don’t need another service that works outside of the Google ecosystem that I spend all day working in. That would be a step back for me.

  6. So what is a Federal Government employee supposed to do when the “computer police” won’t allow us to download from the cloud? It’s hard enough for us designers to obtain permission to purchase Adobe InDesign, let alone download it. Sometimes even minor updates to CS6 are denied by those in control.

    • Absolutely agree. Ask a government fiscal person to approve an ongoing expense as opposed to a one-time expense and they’ll look at you like you just asked to go to Mars. It just doesn’t work that way.

  7. Your electric company, your bank, your cable company, your phone company. Now Adobe, who can also continuously explain all the good things they are doing for us…to explain their annual or biennial subscription/fee increases. Hey, Adobe, you know how people feel about the cable and phone companies? You’re already there.

  8. Does ANYONE believe the CC won’t be down for “servicing,” weekly, monthly. I can’t afford to not be able to work because Adobe is servicing the Creative Cloud. I work odd hours, but more importantly I don’t want to feel I am trapped by Big Brother.

    I don’t want Adobe to be able to take away something I’ve already paid for because I don’t want to pay a monthly fee for eternity.

    I watch my budget. I ONLY upgrade to the next version of Creative Suite when there is a new feature I feel will make a difference to my work flow. This doesn’t happen often. Until January I was using CS3. I found NO use for CS4, CS5, or CS5.5, but CS6 had features I could use, mostly 64 bit, when I changed to Windows 7, plus some other features I didn’t have on CS3.

    I really don’t have the time to learn the new features and interfaces Adobe “decides” to have on one version to another, at the specific time they make the change. If I’m in the middle of a project and Adobe decides to change where things are, or the interface, mid-project, I’m going to SCREAM!!!! That is not the time to learn something new.

    I have a HUGE problem paying Adobe $600 a year for products I don’t need. Using this equation, I would have paid about $5200 to Adobe between CS3 and CS6, as oppose to the $1500 CS3 Design Suite originally costs.

    As I mentioned, I use the DESIGN SUITE, I don’t have a need for ALL the Adobe products. I didn’t want to pay for software I didn’t want or wouldn’t use in the past, and I don’t want to pay for it now. Minimally Adobe should divide the $50 per month into separate units for it’s separate software products allowing people to subscribe ONLY to the software they use/want.

    Adobe is going to interfere with MANY, MANY peoples work flows and productivity. At Pepcon 2 years ago, a man said his company hasn’t upgraded since CS3 because they have templates his company uses constantly. And the process to update all of his templates would take 18 months if they upgraded, and none of the recent CS versions had enough that they needed to warrant him buying a new version, and doing 18 months of extra work. I’m certain there are many people out there with this same situation.

    Years ago Adobe put out InDesign with the intent of it becoming a Quark Killer, and it has essentially done that. But with this CC move, Adobe is putting itself at risk for a different company to come along and become an Adobe Killer.

    • I believe very strongly that it will be. So, what? The software is installed locally. Creative Cloud Connection which seems to be what many are worried about is still in preview so I haven’t used it for anything critical.

      For those worried about being forced to the cloud, don’t go there. Talk with your wallet or take the good folks at Corel up on their offer:

    • This is why I don’t like that Adobe called it the Creative Cloud. People are misunderstanding it as requiring the internet. Apps like Ps Ai and Id are installed locally on your machine. They run without the need for an internet connection. So they won’t “go down”. Yes every 30 days (or 180 days in some cases) you’ll need to be on the internet so it can reauthorize for the next 30-180 days. So that shouldn’t be a concern. You’ve stated other valid concerns, but going offline weekly or monthly shouldn’t be one of them.

      As for when you get the features, that is up to you. You will be notified of an update, but you do not need to install it right then. So you won’t have a change right in the middle of a project, unless you tell it to install that update. So hold off until the time is right for you.

      I just wanted to correct those misunderstandings, because I see other people having them as well. I have issues with the Creative Cloud, but those aren’t amount them. I think the main issue with CC is price, and having to pay Adobe for the rest of our lives. To me the answer is simple. Rent to own. If you subscribe for a year you could pay XXX and the end of the year to walk away with the apps locked into that feature set and keep using them forever without paying monthly. After two years you pay less. After three years you pay nothing (something like that. I’m not sure the length of time or amounts you’d have to pay). That would alleviate the legitimate fear of us to having to pay Adobe forever. It’s more like a car lease with a right to buy at the end.

      I also think various price points is required. $50 for everything is more that many need. $20-35 for just print or web apps is more palatable for many and more in line with what they were paying for in the past. I don’t need the master collection, so why should I pay for it all? $20 for one app is simply too much.

      If people had more affordable pricing options, and a way out so they don’t have to pay Adobe forever I think most people’s issues would be solved. These are things Adobe can do relatively easily. It’s not really that the CC concept is flawed, just its pricing. As it is, I really think that Adobe has created a monopoly situation and they are abusing it. I’m not saying it is an intentional abuse, but saying you must pay Adobe for the rest of your life to simply open you file is an abuse whether Adobe realizes it or not. I won’t be surprised to hear news of a class action lawsuit against them. And unless Adobe changes, I think they would lose such a lawsuit.

      • Dan, I’m sorry, but I disagree. First, how is “rent to own” any different than the system they have now, with CS6? They allow you to buy or subscribe. What you’re suggesting is the same. Adobe has been very clear that they want to get out of the “sell perpetual license” business.

        Second, how could a class action lawsuit possibly win against Adobe? They are not doing anything illegal. Adobe has a financial responsibility, first and foremost, to its shareholders — not its customers! Adobe is not the only company switching to subscription models.

        Third, Adobe is offering smaller subscription rates. If you only use InDesign, it’s only $20/month. Are you telling me that a professional can’t afford that? Come on, people. This is not highway robbery. This is “pay to use a tool.” It’s a rental. And Adobe is offering thousands of dollars worth of value for a relatively small cost.

        The one area I agree with you is that Adobe needs to do something to allow people to open their documents down the road. I have argued with them for years that they should provide a “Reader” app that would let people open, print, and export a PDF (and/or IDML). Period. No editing. But if they did this, I think it would at least solve one big problem for users.

      • I respectfully disagree with you, Dan. No way in the world would Adobe lose such a suit and I doubt you’d even find a good lawyer to take the case on a contingency.

        Adobe is NOT a monopoly. I’ve said it over and over, producing a best in class product does not make a company a Monopoly. Corel is running a special offer for Adobe customers and there’s always Quark for pagelayout.

        On David’s point about a reader app, we already have Adobe Reader. Illustrator already saves its files as PDF compatible and I suppose a similar feature could be added to InDesign or Photoshop. Both are already capable of export or saving as PDF but I’m not an engineer so I won’t even guess what’s involved.

      • Most print designers use InDesign Illustrator and Photoshop. That means they have to get the entire CC. The $20 per app is too much compared to the entire thing for $50. Most people use more than one app, but hardly the entire master collection. While it “might” be a good deal (if you absolutely needed everything), most people don’t need it all.

        Lots of people I teach skip an upgrade or two because they simply don’t need the new features, can’t afford it or other reasons. Adobe used to have upgrades every two years for under $400. That was $200/year if you upgraded every other year (less if you skipped more upgrades). Just recently Adobe started with $400 upgrades every year. Now CC is $600/year. Notice the price increase? Will the average person using the CC start automatically earn $200 or $400 more per year? I doubt it. So it’s a price increase for most people. Call it what you like, but many people will now have to pay more for things they may not need, use or even want. Just because they have no choice in the matter. You can’t simply say “use apps from another company.” The entire graphics industry is built in Adobe apps. That’s why people are up in arms about this. Adobe is not giving people enough options. The CC is right for some people, but not all. Adobe is saying take it or leave it.

        Yes David, as you say “Adobe is offering thousands of dollars of value for a relatively small monthly cost.” But month after month that adds up. Over time people will pay more for that value than they are today. Not in the short term, but in the long term. People are looking ahead and see their costs rising. Even if you upgraded every year for $400, that’s now $600.

        I understand why Adobe is doing this. I get the innovate faster idea. But then they just announced the end of Fireworks (the best web graphics app they have) and keep developing Flash! So the CC for me is actually a downgrade because they are dropping an app I use for every website I make! Yes they are keeping Fireworks CS6, but they are not developing any new features, so it’s a dead end. If Adobe had fixed PS and AI to add sorely needed features that Fireworks has today, BEFORE killing Fireworks I may have given them a pass, but instead they left a gaping hole. So forgive me if I am not trusting Adobe with a good vision for the future of these apps. They make mistakes, just like everyone, but we also suffer for their mistakes. It seems like Adobe didn’t think a lot of this through and are just running full steam ahead before dealing with issues like a reader app so you can open old work once you leave the subscription. But if those things aren’t in place now, and Adobe hasn’t even said they are working on them, can you see why people don’t just go on faith?

        David, you said “Adobe has a financial responsibility, first and foremost, to its shareholders ? not its customers!” That’s a scary statement. Without customers, Adobe would have no company and no shareholders. Their first responsibility is to their customers. Without customers Adobe is nothing. If fact, that type of thinking is what people seem to be reacting to, Adobe thinking of profits over customers.

        I’ll end on one last note. When we inquired about getting the CC (a while ago) for our Adobe Certified Training Center, they essentially said they didn’t yet have a system in place to sell it to us (because we have a large number of seats). In the past we’ve had 2 year subscriptions to the Creative Suite at an affordable academic discount. For the time being they told us to stick with that until they sort things out. Well now we need the CC. I have to contact Adobe again and I hope by now Adobe has figured out how to sell us their product. And yes, as far as I can tell it will cost us more than we were paying before.

      • Dan, Adobe’s messaging about CS CC has been a big part of the problem. Until I read posts here today, it sounded to me exactly as if CS apps were now going to be thin clients in a client/server system (sorry, I don’t go along with the “cloud” marketing hype–this stuff is just old-style client/server, for the most part); and I had read at least a couple of dozen articles about it.

        However, I don’t understand Alan’s comment “you are constrained by law, as a publicly-traded company, from adding features to a released product.” I’ve worked in software development; and, no, you are not. For example, dot releases of Mac OS X can and do contain different features, as well as bug fixes. Of course, if you are going to add a major new feature, you’ll want to key it to a major (paid-for) release. In any case, Adobe does not have a good history of updates/fixes/cross-capatibility (though it’s better than Microsoft), so expect major problems in an environment marked by running changes (and thus moving targets re bug fixes and testing).

    • Dan, you comment that most print designers only use Ps, Id and Ai. Fair enough. That’s where I came from, too, but over the last several years, because I’m a freelancer, I found I had to be able to go far beyond print. First it was Flash and ActionScript (for interactive displays, not websites), then web, then ePub, then motion graphics with Ae… you get the idea. I wish the CC deal had been around when I first upped to the Master Collection, frankly. For my workflow CC a steal.

      Then there’s fonts. Upgrading to OpenType for some of the bigger type families is a big expense, and for display purposes the cheapo fonts don’t cut the mustard. I’ve spent quite a lot on fonts, which comes to an abrupt end with the new TypeKit-for-InDesign service.

      So while I understand that CC isn’t ideal for everyone, and it obviously isn’t for you, I’m one of those who can appreciate the value proposition and don’t feel at all like a “small customer,” even though I certainly am.

      • OK, for you the CC may be a good deal (I’m not saying it’s wrong for everyone). All I’m trying to say is that I’d like to see Adobe have more options for people that don’t need everything. As a trainer I see many use cases, and I see people that simply don’t need everything. Some people only use and need a few apps. For me personally, I don’t need the Master Collection as I don’t use Adobe’s video and audio apps. I only need their web and print apps. Some people I teach only do print, some only do web. They used to have pricing options that no longer exist with CC. Maybe some of those people will some day need other apps, but for years they haven’t needed them and don’t foresee a need for them. It would be nice to see Adobe offering cheaper options for them, so they aren’t paying for things they don’t need. I’m not suggesting anything new. Adobe had these pricing options with the CS and I’m simply saying I think they should continue to have them with the CC.

  9. Adobe CC means Credit Card, er Constant Charges, oops I mean Creative Cashflow, excuse me Cash Cow, Oh I give up.

    David, I thought if anyone you be up in arms over CC’s forced payments regardless as Adobe products will suffer over time. CC’s product managers they “Got us” so there is no incentive to fix or enhance existing tools. Instead they will do as today, bundle a boatloads of crap-apps in an effort to add value for our $600 renewals each year. It doesn’t matter, they know they’ll get the money anyway.

    Adobe already abused this with Indesign 5.0 to 5.5 upgrade, where we gained NOTHING except the ability to open customer CS5.5 files. NOTHING ELSE. No other enhancements had any value. But I paid $500 that year per seat so we could all share files.

    David, you’re missing the point. What causes so much anxiety is the forced nature of this, forever! With little regard to existing owners and their investment in the tools. Now, we’re FORCED to Pay Adobe no matter what they do, for every seat regardless if they did anything to earn it. If we were getting REAL FEATURES that were usable for print, maybe that would be worth it. Actually, 64-bit alone would be nice but comes loaded with CC – Constant Charges handcuffs forever I cannot support.

    Since CS2 I’ve been instrumental in many major companies and design firms switching to Indesign. I am now 10X as vocal to NOT adopt CC, be vocal as a show of solidarity against Adobe. Why would ANYONE give Adobe carte blanche to take $600 per year regardless of what they do for us to enhance the products? Where’s the decision, there is none since we lose access to files. WAKE UP. This is a terrible deal for all of us.

    • If it’s a terrible deal FOR YOU, don’t take it. It seems the difference between those that see value in it and those that don’t is that those that don’t insist it’s no good for anyone while those that do see value readily admit that it may not be perfect for everyone…nothing is.

      The only conclusion I’ve come to at this point is that Adobe is indeed in this for the long haul. Everyone raves about Steve Jobs and how he shook things up. If he had thought about only leasing computers but getting a new one every year as part of the plan most you would be building him a new statue.

      • Bob, I would certainly object if Steve took my computer away after the “lease” ended.
        As I understand it, there is no way you can use your ID CC files after you end this “subscription”.

      • Incorrect, Jongware. You can pay for a once month subscription and be done with it. Tack on a $75 fee to whomever the project is for and bill it out that way.

        Look, this is not perfect. Would it be better if Adobe could maintain two models? Yes. But they’ve made a decision to support one model only and I have no problem with their choice.

        If they screw it up, I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong but I’m not going kick and scream about it and I’m sure as hell not going to worry about what happens 5 years from when I have to open an old file.

        Here’s what I said to someone on my blog. Those of us supporting Adobe are betting on their success while those opposed to this decision are HOPING for their failure.

        The only thing I see Adobe guilty of in all of this is less than stellar communication but most of the users aren’t even trying to learn the facts despite having them spelled out.

      • I don’t rave about every discussion Steve Jobs made, see my comment about killing the floppy drive so early. There are many examples of poor discussions he made.

      • My comment above should have said “decision” rather then “discussion”. I must be really tired. It would be nice if this forum let you edit your comments like all the other forums.

      • Bob, I take it you’re the type that would rather lease a car than own it? Pay for it then just give it back. Take the write-off, right? So Adobe makes perfect sense? It is what it is now. Anything goes, right. I am being flip because this says to accept Adobe’s new grab or keep driving the old Chevy.

        But I am pissed because they End Of Life my CS6 unless I agree to this forever pay plan. Lots of us non-leasers are forced to upgrade because we all share files with clients, but I don’t trust this company one bit. Adobe WILL become Lazy since they have a constant source of revenue no matter what.

        All the access to shiny exterior crap-apps they bundle won’t stop the distaste of this TERRIBLE deal.

      • Quite the opposite actually. My car is 10 years old and quite paid for, but it still does what I need it to. 10 year old software doesn’t.

        Listen, I don’t care one way or the other what you decide. The choice is yours…subscribe or don’t subscribe. You think it’s a terrible deal, then I believe you shouldn’t subscribe. I think it’s a great deal and so I chose to subscribe.

        I think it would be wonderful if Adobe could support both models, but it apparent that the speed at which they want to move makes that very, very difficult.

        Facts are facts and all the screaming and complaining won’t change anything. Even 20,000 signatures on a petition are meaningless without proof that those are real users ready to BUY CS7.

        To me this is a lemons and lemonade situation. You’re free to make your own choice but progress always ruffles feathers.

  10. Okay, let’s look at what you get with a CC subscription.

    • Assuming you have CS3 or later, CC is $360 for the first year. It’ll probably be $600 for subsequent years unless they extend discounts (which I think is likely)
    • If you’re a student or teacher, it’s $240/year
    • If you’re not upgrading, it’s $600 per year.

    For those who are freaked out about monthly fees: you don’t have to pay monthly; you can pay for a year subscription.

    For that, you get:
    Acrobat XI Pro
    Adobe Muse?
    After Effects
    Adobe Premiere Pro
    Adobe Audition
    Flash Professional (can now export to ipa and html5)
    Media Encoder
    Edge Animate
    Edge Inspect
    Edge Web Fonts
    PhoneGap Build
    Edge Code
    Edge Reflow

    Typekit: Thousands of high-quality fonts for web sites, and soon will be for desktop apps, too

    20 GB Creative Cloud file storage
    Story CC Plus (collaborative screenwriting)
    Business Catalyst sites
    Unlimited Single Edition Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) apps
    Behance ProSite (portfolio site; normally $99/year)

    What if you only use 1 app?
    If you don’t need all those — say you only use InDesign — you can get it for $240 per year. Actually, it’s only $120 for the first year.

    Plus, these all work on either Mac or Windows. Each user can run it on two machines, so if you have a Mac at home and Windows at work, that’s fine.

    It’s not perfect, but come on… I think that Adobe is offering a pretty astounding amount for what they’re offering.

    • Our govt. office has three CS5 licenses. There is no funding mechanism for subscriptions of any kind because ongoing expenses must be approved by the legislature. Do you really think an “enterprise solution” is a cost-effective alternative? For three users? I suspect we’ll be left with a big pile of inaccessible CS5 files as soon as CS5 is no longer supported by Adobe and/or our IT department. We can put them with the eight-year-old quark files.

      • Why would your CS5 files become inaccessible? You have a perpetual license for CS5. Nothing changes for that so none of this is even relevant.

      • Ha! We still have access to our quark files too! They’re just not much use to us anymore. This all has more to do with Adobe being able to placate investors by shedding workers as they move to the Amazon web services framework. If a few thousand users are lost in the process, no big deal. I’m sure quark didn’t sweat the first few thousand defections to Adobe, either. Every Adobe expert I’ve read appears to be so heavily invested – emotionally and financially – in seeing Adobe succeed that they refuse to see the downside to this. For me, it’s that government buys. It doesn’t lease, and it doesn’t subscribe. Feel free to change their minds about that, but I’m not going to because I don’t agree with your argument.

  11. If you’re expecting to pay $600 a year on your graphics software for upgrades anyway, why wouldn’t you want a system that costs the same thing, with a known sum payable over time, and get access to upgrades as soon as improvements are available? You don’t actually need to download it to your setup until you’re comfortable with it (say, waiting to install until after that big job you’re still in the middle of).

    No one is forcing us. We’ve decided to use Adobe software because the programs work well for us. Let’s see, $600 a year for one upgrade to a small batch of programs, or $600 a year for a ton of regularly maintained programs?available whenever devices change or when we want or need new skills (see also:, another subscription essential). If this means we are now suddenly being penned in, then we should admit we already were.

  12. OK David let?s go down this list to see if this is a good deal or not.

    InDesign – I usually need updates to ID this is fine.
    ?InCopy – I am not a content writer so I don?t use this.
    Photoshop – I use about 20% of Photoshop CS4 so constantly buying more updates in CC probably won?t make much sense. I don?t use most of the features that are already there.?
    Lightroom – I use this so that?s fine. I see value in upgrading it regularly.
    ?Illustrator – Mediocre replacement to FreeHand but I guess I have to use it so that it integrates well with ID and PS.
    ?Dreamweaver – I don?t do any coding, all of the coding is handed off to experienced developers. I went school in become a graphic designer not a coder. ?
    Acrobat XI Pro – Always seemed like a product that would be better suited to an office suite then a design suite. I never use it.?
    Adobe Muse?- You?ve got to be kidding me.?
    After Effects – Will never have a use for.?
    Adobe Premiere Pro – Final Cut Pro interests me more.?
    Adobe Audition – Music? Audio? Won?t use it.?
    Bridge – There are better file navigation tools like Houdah Spot, Tembo, Tags, Punakea, etc. Bridge doesn?t work well since it relies on a dated folder hierarchy system rather then a power powerful tagging solution.
    Encore – Nope?
    Flash Professional – I have always hated Flash.?
    Media Encoder – Won?t use it.
    ?Prelude – Won?t use it.?
    SpeedGrade- Won?t use it.
    ?Edge Animate – Won?t use it.?
    Edge Inspect – Won?t use it.?
    Edge Web Fonts – Won?t use it.
    PhoneGap Build – Won?t use it.
    Edge Code – Won?t use it.?
    Edge Reflow – Won?t use it.

    20 GB Creative Cloud file storage – I already have file storage that I prefer using more since it integrates better with my other Google services. For cloud storage it makes more sense for me to use Google Drive.?
    Story CC Plus (collaborative screenwriting) – Won?t use it.?
    Business Catalyst sites – Won?t use it.
    ?Unlimited Single Edition Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) apps – Won?t use it.?
    Behance ProSite (portfolio site; normally $99/year) – Another social networking site to use? No thanks. Also I am not looking for more work at the moment.

    What if you only use 1 app?
    Pointless question nobody uses 1 app. Shouldn?t even be an option.

    That comes out to 4 pieces of software or services out of a total of 28. I am not seeing the value of this. The ability to access the software only matters if it is software that you are going to use. I am trying to figure out why you seem to assume that since I like use a small handful of Adobe apps I would then like all the Adobe apps. Adobe makes many applications that aren?t very good at all.

    • I don’t know why my comment has all those question marks they just showed up after I submitted my comment.

    • Kip, there is no question that CC is a Costco type of thing. You get way more than anyone needs but there is something for absolutely everyone. But let’s turn your “won’t use it” around and say “will now be able to use it.”

      That’s a lot of potential new business for you and anyone else with enough foresight to actually sit down, take off the blinders, and look ahead. It’s your call because, IMO, Adobe is most certainly in this for the long haul.

      I was not surprised at all at the decision to go CC-only. I admit I didn’t think it would come as soon as it did but it was inevitable. It’s here now and while I would never say never, I would be very surprised to see Adobe change their minds.

      There are already 500,000 subscribers and I don’t see very many complaining.

      • “But let?s turn your ?won?t use it? around and say ?will now be able to use it.?
        Bob, I will not be able to use those products here is why:

        1.It takes lots of time to learn a new program. I don’t have any time to learn new software even if I wanted to learn it.
        2. Even if I took the time to learn the new software I still wouldn’t have the skills necessary to do that kind of work. This would require me having to go back to school to learn how to become a musician, or video editor or whatever else.
        3. Both of these endeavors would be a monumental waste of my time since I have a lots of ID, PS, LR work to do. The best use of my education time is learn about how to start a publishing company not trying to become a musician (especially since I haven’t so much as touched an instrument since the 1990s.)

        “There are already 500,000 subscribers and I don?t see very many complaining.”
        The only people that are not complaining are you, David, Terry White, and Scott Kelby. Basically all people who make their living teaching Adobe products. All the other regular users are complaining. I am indifferent to whether Adobe succeeds or fails I simply want the best products for my needs.

      • Well, this one is sure as hell complaining. Firstly ID6 is not working efficiently or even rationally. Causing me endless pain and I can’t get work done nor can I get any help at all from Adobe.

        And reading these entries I’m getting really worried. I am not working for clients, I am working for a historical society. These files belong to the historical society, as does my computer. I am not paid for my 60-hour week. Yet I am now stuck with monthly payments, apparently for the rest of my life. And according to some within this forum, should I stop paying, the files are no longer ours.

        I have literally thousands of files that must be maintained forever and continue to be used — all beautifully filed in folders within folders within folders, just where I want them.
        Now my new ID6 refuses to let me file them where they belong, if I open one and make any change — as I do constantly. No, off the altered file goes to the wrong folder, and what’s even worse, there then exist two different docs. in two different places — both with the same name. Utter confusion. But it seems I’m stuck with this, and can no longer work efficiently. What have you to say for Adobe now?

      • Pat: You make an excellent point that the CC membership system doesn’t work very well for people or companies that don’t make money with the tools (non-profits, hobbyists, volunteers, and so on).

        However, the problems you’re having regarding where files are saved, or that CS6 isn’t working for you, etc… those probably aren’t InDesign problems. My guess is that there are either other issues or misunderstandings on your part. For example, if you open an older document, it is by design that it won’t just let you save it. You need to use Save As, and you need to track what folder it goes into.

    • Kip, this is a GREAT analysis of your needs. And the good news is that you have saved yourself hundreds of dollars a year. Get a perpectual license for Photoshop and Illustrator now (CS6 or CS5 or whatever you are currently happy with), get InDesign CC for $120 for 12 months, and then $240 per year after that. Sweet deal!

      • David, that solution you gave sounds fantastic if it were not for the fact that it is totally impossible. The problem with running both new and old versions of the Adobe software has to do with the operating system. The old apps will stop working when new OSes come out eventually (which is very common on MacOS since they are currently putting out one major update every year.) The new versions of the software won’t work on the old OSes. There are really only two options:

        1. All old software on an old OS which is what I am doing now (CS4 on Leopard.)
        2. All new software on a new OS.

        To further complicate things there is no way to just upgrade PS and Illustrator to a boxed version without paying for a very high stand alone price. I don’t believe I should have to pay a high stand alone price since I already bought those programs. There should be a stand alone upgrade price.

  13. Yeah David you got that right about its a money thing. Shareholders first and customers somewhere down the line. That is what I have been suspecting for some time now.

    I got a CC subscription and I’ll have to see when my year is over whether I do it again. Right now I am planning on not doing so but things may change as they usually do. Oh no I feel some heresy coming. Scribus, Inkscape, and GIMP are sounding good for me right now. But like I say we shall see.

    One thing I do like it the ability to get both Windows and Mac versions of applications.

  14. Don’t upgrade is not really a long term option to build my business on. Say what you want, we will all be forced to switch to CC eventually, since our standalone’s CS are now end-of-lifed.

    The most insidious part of this is CC’s forced annual payments scheme pre-rewards Adobe annually, even if they do nothing for me. CC’s pay-to-use stops my ability to vote “no” when enhancements don’t deliver or miss the mark. […] they know they’ll get our upgrade money anyway. Or they’ll shut off my tools.

    What is good about that? No need to answer back. I see a bunch of koolaid drinkers are here and I understand. I hope you get hundreds of thousands of new Indesign Secrets subscribers. You guys might see a payoff. Glad someone does.

    • @modmel: I want to be clear about something… I do not prefer the CC model. I would much prefer Adobe to offer perpetual and CC. I want to own my software, just like everyone else here.

      I have, however, become resigned to the fact that this is “the new normal” and I am pleased that Adobe is offering so much (at least from my perspective) for the cost.

      That said, I have also lived through 2 major page-layout revolutions, from PM to QX to ID. I know that if Adobe doesn’t play this right over the next couple of years, there will be very suitable alternatives.

      Adobe knows that, too. Nobody I have talked with at Adobe thinks they have users on a leash. (And I’ve talked with a lot of people there.) What they talk about is “how can we really make this a slam-dunk, no-brainer awesome value for our users so that when they do go CC, they’ll be super happy. And how can we keep adding more value so that people will see that a CC subscription will continue to pay off.”

      This reminds me of an interesting experience I had in a very different context? when I was researching my book The Flying Book I had the opportunity to “jump seat” in a cockpit on 4 flights, sitting just behind the pilots. I quickly realized that the pilot’s experience flying is nothing like the passengers’. When you see the pilots’ perspective, there is no concern, no fear, even in bad turbulence.

      It’s possible that I have just drunk the adobe kool-aid, but it’s also possible that because I have worked so closely with folks at Adobe for so many years, I see it a bit more from the cockpit and even as a user (passenger) it’s reassuring. I know that the InDesign team has lots of cool stuff planned; they can’t help themselves — it’s what they love to do!

      • Hi David,

        Thanks for the reply. By the way I own your books and like your writing style. You’ve helped make my clients make Indesign indispensable. RE: CC, I completely understand your point of view and agree you’re closer to Adobe’s inner sanctum that most of us will ever be. You may be right. I may be right.

        My worry is that Adobe’s core tools has achieved rock-star status and it’s gone to their head that they’re that good. And to think we would love all this extra bundled crap instead of lower price or further refining the core tools. For me 30 bundled pieces of useless crap is still just crap. It won’t fly long term, it cheapens the produce… but wait, there’s more, do we get steak knives too?

        I am having deja vu all over again. I started with Pagemaker 1.0, then Corel while they shot themselves by not listening to users, then Quark’s idiotic uppity stance, aka. users are pests. Adobe has upset thousands of us enthusiasts and really ought to rethink that statement about it’s too hard to maintain cloud and standalone versions. There really should be an outright purchase CC forever license, then offer optional paid-for upgrades. This is nothing more than tweaking cloud versioning system.

        If you get the chance, please tell the inner sanctum that a CC forever license would make us all happy again. At least me.

        Best to you regardless David. ModMel is over and out.

  15. David, there are not going to be suitable alternatives to Adobe for for a very long time. The REAL alternative to Adobe was Macromedia which is no longer around. Had Macromedia merged with Corel and Quark and started unifying their interfaces across the different programs we would have ended up with a company that would be very competitive to Adobe but that just didn’t happen. Bob loves to talk about how Adobe is not a monopoly but the fact of the matter is there just are not REAL options out there. A one trick pony like Quark just isn’t going to cut it. A company like Corel with only a couple of competing products won’t work either.

    The reality is that the Adobe-Macromedia merge left the playing field to be reduced to a joke. It was sad to watch Adobe kill off some really great tools after the merge and introduce some of the most lackluster programs in their place. I wish they could get out of this downward spiral they have been on.

    • I agree with you.
      You can see the same phenomenon with Autodesk in the 3D field.
      They can afford to force people to subscription because they have almost the monopoly.

  16. I think this was basically covered in the latest podcast, but just to confirm–if you have an InD doc living in your cloud storage, you will not be able to place other cloud-based files (.eps, etc.) into it as if it were a local network, right? Everything would have to link through the local synced copy, right? My team works collaborates on InD docs with large numbers of placed graphics, etc., all of which live on a local server, so I’m trying to figure out if CC has the potential to replace that local network–and the answer at this point seems to be ‘no.’ (We had the same issue with–our IS people don’t seem to understand why we still need a local network.)

    • Right… as far as I know, “cloud storage” is really more like Dropbox. The files are all still on your local computer, but they get synced to the cloud. When they’re in the cloud, you can preview them and such, but you’re not really working on them there. Same thing with images “in the cloud.” You still need them locally to place, edit, etc.

      Maybe that will change someday. It would be cool to be able to actually work on ID files right inside a web browser or something. But that’s not 2013.

      BTW, there is a solution for placing files from a URL: ctrleLink from CtrlPs, which Keith Gilbert reviewed in InDesign Magazine a couple of issues ago.

  17. David, et al,

    The biggest reason that I am not happy about CC is not the subscription model per se. It is the fact that as a small business owner, I could never afford to upgrade to every version of Adobe’s software each time they came out with something new.

    I would budget the money to upgrade when a) there was a compelling technical reason to do so (eg an OS changed, or a particular feature was deemed as worth the upgrade, either by its productivity increase or it fixed a “broken” feature), or b) I was receiving too many files from customers and vendors that I couldn’t open because I still had an older version of CS (InDesign specifically).

    This meant that, like probably more than half their customer base, I was skipping versions, sometimes two. In my circle of customers, vendors, peers and such, NO ONE upgraded every time. Not even commercial printers. The cost was prohibitive.

    I don’t mind that Adobe wants to use a subscription model. What bothers me is that it is at least half again as expensive to the vast majority of their customers than it was before (with the possible exception of Australia). $1250 every three years (they never really had a 12-month upgrade worth getting) is the equivalent of $35/month. Now they are requiring $50/month (assuming it stays at that level for three years – Adobe hasn’t addressed this issue publicly, I believe). Sure, they offer the first year at $30/month. That is fine and dandy, but a year from now, that goes up to $50 and who knows from there?

    So, the math is such that from when I bought CS5 (a month before 5.5, and I missed the free upgrade by 3 days and was told “too bad”) until now is only half of my upgrade cycle. If I get CC now and hold for another 18 months, I will have paid only $660 plus the initial $1250. Not bad for that period, perhaps, but at that point it is $600 per year, or $1800 per 3 years — so in order for it to be a wash, I shouldn’t get CC for another 3 months or so (when their $30 special won’t be available…).

    Again, I get Adobe’s desire to get regular revenue rather than guess at when and how much an upgrade cycle will affect the bottom line. Microsoft is doing it with Office, and consulting and contracting firms have been offering “service contracts” to IT departments for decades that included software upgrades for a monthly fee. This is a trend that will not stop soon, if ever.

    What will be interesting is their annual report figures next year. My guess is that revenues will be up 50% – and it won’t be from a significant increase in licenses.

    You said no one you speak with at Adobe is not on the side of providing the best value for the customer. You probably aren’t talking to upper management nor the accounting people who have to worry about the investment community.

    I simply wish Adobe would have created the pricing model that better reflects a wash or a small increase in customer cost. 50% increase is a bitter pill for my accountant to swallow. (Remember, the $1250 I spent 18 months ago is “amortized” over 36 months. Now it is something less, due to no fault of my own other than I bought Adobe products.)

    The other thing to keep in mind is that all this discussion is about a single license. $15 a month doesn’t sound like much of an increase, unless you have multiple licenses to deal with – and you don’t fall into a significant discount category like a large corporate or government might. (and you know Adobe isn’t requiring the Navy to check in each month to see if their credit card has expired)

    Alright, my rant is over. I suspect that Adobe will get some sense into them from all the feedback and there will be compromises over the next 12-18 months in what packages are available (Photographers are mostly hit badly) and at what prices. They will likely take a look at lapsed account issues (what if I sell my business and the buyer uses something else but still needs edit access to the files, or any number of other crazy scenarios) Perhaps they could offer one use per month of any program in order to either manipulate or convert files. Any more uses requires a monthly charge at prevailing rates (A “Maintenance License” that gives goodwill to the customer for being loyal over the years). Or as suggested, a smaller monthly fee for use of up to 4 programs each month (the “Freelance License”). This way, a Photographer could use PS and LR and the occasional DW, IL, and ID.

    ‘Nuff said.


  18. Wow! long thread. Almost everything was covered in the discussions. I agree with some of the points and I don’t with some. Personally, I think there will be more pros than cons (hey, but that’s just me). The only way for me, or anybody for that matter, to know for sure is to try it out and decide after…

    My problem is Adobe is not allowing me (yet) to join the CC: “Creative Cloud Membership isn’t currently offered in your country or region, but if you like we can notify you blah, blah, blah, and a few more blahs”. I’m situated in the Middle East and apparently anybody from here can’t join the fun yet. Too bad for me.

    Does anybody have any news as to when we can join the “Cloud Caravan”?

    • “The only way for me, or anybody for that matter, to know for sure is to try it out and decide after.”

      No, we don’t have to try the product out to know whether it will work well or not we just have to look at history. Microsoft tried going down this route and failed miserably. There is no reason that Adobe apps would be any different then Office apps.

      If we want to know how a release of frequent updates will effect plugins we just need to look at web browsers that have tried the same approach and have ended up breaking them. However instead of breaking trivial browser plug-ins it will break important plug-ins that you depend on to get your work done on deadlines. And why will it do this? They will constantly break plug-ins so that they can add worthless features in the main program that people don’t need. Don’t make the mistake thinking you have to speculate about CC just look at history. Nobody has pulled off these tactics successfully or ever will. CC shows a staggering misunderstanding of what customers need. When CS came out ten years ago nobody complained about the new model since it was decently thought out. CS succeeded since they weren’t pushing against customer’s needs but were working with them.

      • Kip: Thank you for your comments. In the event that Adobe fails in this endeavor and goes out of business, I hope I can turn to you for help.

        Everyone: Everybody has the right to choose. And this thread is a great read in helping people making an informed decision about CC. I know that a lot people are not happy about Adobe “stuffing it in our throats”. Different people see it from different point of views. And that should be respected.

        When I use InDesign or Illustrator or Photoshop, I do not see Adobe. I see my ideas, my opinions coming to life. And the fulfillment that I get in creating them is worth more than $600 a year. The results in terms of income: way more than $600 a year!

        I am still wary about the new system. But I will not turn my back on it just because I do not trust it. Imagine where we would be now if we closed our doors to computers and technology in general. My choice will not be influenced by angst against Adobe for making the shift. It is based on the desire to continue on using the tools that has helped me get to where I am now and the tools that I believe will help me to continually improve and evolve as a designer, and by extension, a better person. Because it’s what I do, it’s who I am.

        For businesses/professionals: (I am no expert so please correct me if I am wrong) a large percentage of who will really be affected are the clients. To compensate for the added operational cost, freelancers and related businesses may be forced to add some of the cost, if not all of it, to their bill. Adding $10?$20 on a contract that will approximately take a month to complete, for example. The key would be to produce results that are at par or even beyond the client’s expectations. Now, if you can achieve that using other tools like Corel or Quark, let me be the first to congratulate you. No? Hmmm…

        64bit InDesign, Behance, Typekit, Muse!, and all the other tools just there whenever you need them. Is $20 a month worth it? :]

    • “My choice will not be influenced by angst against Adobe for making the shift. It is based on the desire to continue on using the tools that has helped me get to where I am now and the tools that I believe will help me to continually improve and evolve as a designer”

      The problem for me is that they haven’t been coming out with updates that have been all that good recently. I just made a post on that detailing what I mean:

      “64bit InDesign, Behance, Typekit, Muse!, and all the other tools just there whenever you need them. Is $20 a month worth it? :]”

      64bit software is nice but not essential. I don’t need Behance since I already have plenty of work coming through. As I understand it Typekit is a way to download fonts that will just disappear if I decide to end CC at some point? Yikes. What if I eventually want to move to some non Adobe design software does that mean I won’t be able to use those fonts?!? Isn’t Muse a program that will not let the developer have access to the code? I don’t see how that can lead to a good outcome.

  19. I’d been plugging my ears about CC, but thanks to your discussion on the podcast I decided $20 a month, at least for the first year, won’t be bad. The first four months will be covered by the refund I obtained from Adobe for my just-purchased update to Lightroom 5 (included with CC).

  20. “The software ?calls home? over the internet once every so often … This only becomes a significant problem if you?re going to live in a cave with no internet access for more than a couple months at a time.”

    Or if your company firewall blocks it.

  21. My 2 cents about the discussion.
    I’ve invested in Adobe for several years with perpetual licenses and maintenance contract (TLP).
    Bob Levine, the only real thing about all that is happening is that you can’t have your software anymore, not anymore.
    mmm, drop subscription and remain with nothing, nothing…
    Without your files: your files are unusable with an older version of the software (if you have it).
    Not a money problem, an ethical problem.
    Came on, this is a dictatorial way to treat your customer.
    I develop software from 1976.

    • @playpiano I respect your opinion but I also respect Adobe’s rights to run their business in a way that they feel will benefit most of their customer while at the same time maximizing their revenue.

      I get that you don’t like it, but there’s nothing unethical about it, IMO. It’s not like Adobe is hiding anything. The terms are right there for you to either go with or not.

  22. “they have found that it no longer works to offer new versions once every 12-24 months and hoping that people will upgrade. That model, which worked for two decades, just doesn?t anymore. The world has changed, and it has become clear that the only way for Adobe to provide products is to provide them as a service.”

    I think you are being rather disingenuous here – ‘it no longer works’ is accidentally or intentionally vague, so here is my suggestion for a more accurate version:

    “they have found that offering new versions once every 12-24 months does not lead to people upgrading and so providing a certain level of income to Adobe. That model, which worked for two decades, just doesn?t anymore – maybe because users are more or less satisfied with existing features, so upgrade less frequently. So it has become clear that the only way for Adobe to maintain or increase its income is to provide the software as a service which ceases if the annual payment finishes. This then obliges the user to ‘pay again and continually’ to at least retain their existing feature set (assuming they join now, in 2013).”

    • @Jay
      The reason I have stopped upgrading is not because I am completely happy with the way CS4 works it’s because Adobe has not been adding the features that I most need. CS5-CC have spent a lot of time focusing on ebook creation. I like ebooks but I have found that that type of work does not help pay my bills much. If Adobe improved things like how data merge works I would run to the store to buy the upgrade. The CS5-CC upgrades pale in comparison to the CS3 or CS4 upgrades.

  23. It is kind of pointless moving to a subscription based option only if they are not going to open it worldwide. I’ve been trying to buy the subscription but guess what – can’t in my country.

  24. My company has been a CS2, CS5.5 & CS6 perpetual license owner since 2005. My company paid a total of $2075 for all the features we needed (we skipped CS3 and CS4 because they did not offer features relevant to us). This software will run as long as we want it to run… with no extra cost.

    If we had begun a CC subscription in 2005, my company would have paid at least $4440 and had nothing to use beyond today if we stopped paying.

    YMMV but it seems pretty clear to my company that CC is not that great of a deal.

    I respect the need for software developers to get paid for their work but my company wants to decide which features we buy. The subscription model removes that choice. We are now asked to pay continuously even if Adobe does not add features that are relevant to our work. That’s silly.

  25. I’m still mystified. I’ve subscribed to Creative Cloud for almost a year. Now I find I have a choice between the CS6 versions and the CC versions of the same products from within Adobe’s application manager. No information is provided that explains the differences, if any. I didn’t own CS6 before subscribing to Creative Cloud, so that cannot explain why I may download either version. Is it really that hard to Adobe to make its approach less inscrutable to me, the consumer?

    • Nicolas CS6 is still available since it is the latest stable version of Adobe’s software. Adobe releases new software about a year before they should so many people choose to stick with the old version so they don’t go crazy. For an example today I just bought a copy of CS6 in large part due to the stability. If you spend any time on the Adobe forums you will quickly realize how many bugs people are dealing with in CC.

      • Kip, if you are right, a consumer certainly wouldn’t discover difference at the web page where the application manager links to More Information. For instance, for Photoshop:

        You find different features for both versions. I think it is sheer incompetence on Adobe’s part.

    • Yes, CS6 and CC have different features. CC is the newer version so it would have more features then CS6. Is that what you meant to ask?

  26. I posted the link. As you can see when you select from the pull-down menu, Adobe shows different features for each version, but doesn’t explain why one would want one version or the other. (It isn’t clear, for instance, if CC lacks the features listed for CS6 or vice-versa.) There is certainly no suggestion that the CC version is, as you say, less stable. Why would Adobe be offering CC subscribers two different versions of applications whose differences are unclear? I’m betting that Adobe would dispute the notion that the CC version of each app is less stable. The key difference is probably in the system requirements, but Adobe should make that crystal clear if it is so.

    • “There is certainly no suggestion that the CC version is, as you say, less stable.”

      Yes, well, Adobe probably doesn’t want to make a big deal about the fact that their latest product has a few too many bugs in it. Their goal after all is to sell as many copies of the software as they can. I have installed both CS3 and CS4 on the day they came out and am very aware how prematurely they release their software.

      Basically you should base your decision this way; if there is a feature that you are dying to use then go with CC but if you can do with some slightly older software you will probably end up more sane in the long run. I didn’t need any of the CS6 features right away so I waited a year after that product had been released before taking the plunge. Since you have access to both versions try CC and if you can deal with the bugs just stick with that. If not then go back to CC.

  27. I’ve owned personal computers since 1982. As far as I’m concerned all software is beta, if not alpha.

  28. Can’t say I’m happy with the thought of the CC. First of all, I absolutely rely on plugins with InDesign CS6 — and plugins are never, ever ready when software is updated, so how on earth will the plugin people keep up with CC? Secondly there’s no telling when Adobe will increase the subscription.
    I could be persuaded if one could just pick the apps one needs/uses. Simply don’t have the time or inclination to play with all the other stuff.
    So there we are, an unhappy user :(

  29. Intellectual Property Rights-Adobe CLOUD:
    One more reason to beware the “CLOUD-” (Gosh that sounds so etherial and harmless….)”
    Your ”Intellectual Property Copyright!”-(From Adobes Terms of Use)-
    (a) For Your Shared Material that’s Shared in a public forum (such as discussion boards or public galleries that may be browsed by anyone with an internet connection, etc.), you grant Adobe a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, transferable, and sublicensable license to adapt, display, distribute, modify, perform, publish, reproduce, translate, and use Your Shared Material for the purpose of operating and improving the Services and enabling your use of the Services. You may revoke the license and terminate Adobe’s rights at any time by making it no longer Shared.

    (b) For Your Shared Material that’s Shared in a public forum or shared privately with other Users of your choosing, you grant other Users a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, transferrable, and sublicensable license to display, distribute, perform, and reproduce Your Material, subject to Section 10 of these Terms. If you join or participate in a group that allows for sharing of Your Material within the group (such as a “group album” or shared workspace), then you also grant the Users within the group a license to adapt and modify Your Material that you have decided to share with such group. If you do not want to grant other Users these rights, then don’t Share Your Material with other Users.

  30. I’m more than happy to use CS6 for the rest of my life.

    I would encourage other to do the same, this move is wrong on so many levels.

  31. I like this new pay-as-u-use policy from adobe becuse it forces customers to “optimize” their work, and to stay always up to date.

    U must continue to pay if u want access to your files.
    And, as soon u open them, u automatically update them, and this is good.
    No more old CS3 files around.

    On the first hand they lease the software, on the other they earn from every update.
    Of course, compared to the past (I am talking about “real world” situations) Adobe software bills for a little-medium company would be much higher. Just make your calculations.

    I also like the internet connection requirement, because in this way they also weaken the “traditional” anti piracy systems.

    All these things togheter are good for me, since license payers are going to loose competitivity, whereas I never paid for a software, and never will.

    I use only “free software”!
    From torrent.
    All these things combined are good for

    • Py-po… I do not understand what you mean… you like the new policy, but you still pirate the software? Why do you not pay for software? If you make money from something, you should certainly pay for it!

  32. My boss bought a new mac laptop and had to install all of the cloud software onto it, and it is of course, CC. I am also a cloud subscriber but I cannot update to CC – it says I’m up to date with my CS6.

    So does he have to save every single document down in order for me to use and access it? This is NOT what I envisioned….

    Someone help please.

    • Elaine: If you have a creative cloud subscription, you can install InDesign CC. But you can have both CS6 and CC installed at the same time. CS6 might be updated to the newest version, but you can install CC separately from the adobe web site or the Creative Cloud apple

  33. The Problem that I have with this new thing is that I am paying money for this software and yet you must have a Internet Connection, that’s a problem for me as a Graphics Designer. I do have a Internet PC that’s only for the Internet, my master PC that I do all my work on dose not ever connect to the Internet simply because it keep me from ever getting any kind of viruses. My Master PC will always run at its best since it will not clog up with having been on the Internet and there are no anti virus programs that will detect all viruses, I have to many programs and documents of clients that I always need to be protected so NO internet for that PC. Now on that note what will adobe do for those of us who purchase these apps for PC’s that don’t connect to the internet???? Perhaps we all should start getting crack files.

  34. There are those for whom ADOBE CC works and there are those for whom CC is just not a financial viable option. The latter being left out in the cold despite years of supporting ADOBE. Owning is vital to their business albeit rent to own or plain owning. CC is not economically viable for the smaller business, freelancer or private owner. Especially if you do not live in the USA where it is far cheaper.

    I have done the maths. To upgrade from Premiere Pro CS5.55.5 to CS6 costs $178. To rent costs $20 per month. Over 18 months (normally takes ADOBE 18 months to upgrade) that’s $360 to rent (and you have nothing), a massive increase of 102%. That is if they don’t raise their rental.

    Rental may be a bargain if you want, need and will use the entire package, if not it’s far more expensive. Who want, needs and will use the entire package? Surely there are thousands of legit users that don’t. So why is ADOBE forcing this on loyal supporters. Why no owning, albeit rent to own.
    Renting means you’ll be paying ADOBE for the rest of your life, and when you stop you have absolutely nothing. Rental is a liability not an asset. Not good business sense unless you’re ADOBE.

  35. I’ve just posted, but decided to go back and read some of the posts on this page. As I’ve said subscription may work for some but not for others. For the small business, freelancer and private user subscription is more expensive than owning. Especially if you do not live in the USA.

    I note Bob Levine has posted a number of comments. He and I have debated the matter of rental vs owning (albeit rent to own)to the point exhaustion.

    I respect Bob’s view but cannot agree with him. He invited me to visit his blog which I did, but there is nothing to backup his claims that renting is cheaper than owning.

    I believe it will is impossible for Bob to be constructively impartial regarding renting vs owning, and I say this with greatest respect but considering the following ” Bob Levine is an Adobe Certified Expert in InDesign and InCopy. He works with clients ranging in size from small local business to large international firms offering a wide range of print and web related graphic design services. In a consulting role he specializes in assisting groups seeking to improve publishing workflow efficiency utilizing Adobe Creative Suite software including InDesign, InCopy, and Acrobat. Training in these applications is also available. Bob is an Adobe Community Professional and has been a featured speaker at InDesign User Group meetings in New York City and Central New Jersey. He’s also a contributing writer to InDesign Magazine and Based in Northern New Jersey, he has clients throughout North America.” He has no choice other than to back ADOBE, it’s his livelihood.

    • John, thanks for your thoughts, but almost all of us make our livelihood using Adobe products. In fact, almost everyone in the publishing and graphics industry uses at least one or more Adobe products. But you don’t have to if you don’t like the products or the company’s policies. No one is forcing you.

      Don’t get me wrong: I agree with you in some ways… There is no doubt that CC is a bad deal for some users. I haven’t heard anyone (even at Adobe) say that it’s the perfect solution for all users. If you don’t make money from using these tools, for example, (such as retired hobbyists or artists) then the subscription system is not a good move. But there’s no way that Adobe is going to change its mind, no matter how many people sign a petition, sorry.

      Please remember that CC is actually a very good thing for a lot of people, though.

  36. To me, the issue isn’t about the monthly cost or whether it’s worth it or not. It’s that somewhere down the road in 2-3 years, when I decide that I no longer want/cant’ pay the monthly fee (for whatever reason), I will no longer have access to any of the files that I have created. And to “subscribe when I need access” is not the answer. I feel like I’m being forced into the Adobe Cloud with no way out and no alternatives.

  37. Just as I’m considering to buy a couple of Adobe Products this gets thrown at me.

    Paying a monthly fee is fine if I can finish the project I need them for within a month, but it will prove a problem if I need to access my files again 4 months down the line. Sure, I can open them again, but I’d need to pay another month’s fees. Just because you want to be able to watch the files you make, means costs will pile up quickly.

    I understand that software developers need to earn money, but you don’t do that by using a subscription service. You do it by offering NEW things and selling them to the people who need those features.

    I feel I have to choose between two evils, especially now they’ve practically monopolized the publishing industry. You almost can’t publish a book without using at least one of Adobe’s programs. When I buy something, I want to own it and use it for as long as I need it. If they don’t offer an option that can do that, a whole lot of projects will not get made.

  38. I have an older version of Adobe CS 5.5 in addition to the current CLOUD
    subscription. Will I be able to keep my older versions and make IDMLs with the newer versions and still save them to folders on my computer? My older version worked better for InDesign for me because I learned on it and couldn’t get some things working the same in newer version.s

    • Esther: Yes, you can have both CS5.5 and CC on the same computer. But the features should not be that different between the two versions; not sure why you’d notice that much of a difference.