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Cloud cover: What Creative Cloud means to you

Jackie Dove | May 20, 2013
What's the big objection to Creative Cloud and what should you do about it?

Are you pissed off at Adobe yet? If the answer is yes, then you're not alone.

If you use at least one of the company's professional software packages derived from the late, great Creative Suite, then your life is about to change. Some 14,600 of your compatriots are so unhappy about it that they've officially put their namesoften alongside an assortment of scathing commentsto an online petition that seeks to convince Adobe to back off its plan to transform its Creative Suite from traditional licensed software to a cloud service, and go back to the old way of doing business. Knowing that will never happen is at least partially fueling that customer rage.

Adobe used its Max 2013 creativity conference to announce plans to end the sale of its popular creative softwareincluding Photoshop, InDesign, and Premiere Proin favor of a cloud-only subscription service.

By itself, the switch was not surprising. Ever since Adobe launched Creative Cloud last year, and outlined an elaborate subscription strategy that covered nearly every segment of the market, it seemed only a matter of time before everything went to the cloud.

But few observers expected Adobe to act so quickly. People dislike being forced to fix things that are not broken, and they especially rebel when they feel they're paying extra for the privilege. It's not just the money. (A subscription costs $50 per month for individuals and small shops, though there are numerous discounts for the first year.) Users also freaked out at the restrictive pay-for-play and the uncertainty of recourse when things go wrong onlinewhich they often seem to do. They fret about long-term access to their own creative work and the specter of being locked into monopolistic, cable-TV-style price hikesforever.

And that's if they can even get the software in the first place. Downloading a Creative Suite Master Collection is no picnic without a T-1 line; for users with inferior broadband connections, it might not even be possible. However, Adobe stresses that it is not necessary to download everything at once, and that per program downloads are fine.

Narrowed pro audience
One byproduct of Adobe's move will be to separate the prosumer/hobbyist crowd from the professional users whose livelihood depends on Adobe's pro apps. The change could move the suite back to its original professional roots. Not only does it offer access to the entire suite for everyone, it seeks to promote cloud-based collaborative services targeted specifically toward creative pros--such as immediate software updates, sharing, syncing, fonts, community resources, storage space, and training.


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