Following the announcement by Adobe that the Creative Suite would disappear (along with version numbers and set software upgrades) with the introduction of the subscription-only Creative Cloud, the consumers and professionals in the industry have come short of nothing less than outrage at Adobe’s solution for better software distribution by creating a software rental model.
Citing the increase in costs (especially after the first year special price break is over) coupled with a subscription model that risks the inability to access files due to a lapsed subscription, complaints flooded in to many news and information websites across the internet from outraged Adobe users.
Nowhere was the condemnation greater than on Adobe’s own Photoshop Blog page, where hundreds of Adobe users took time to take the software maker to task for their recent announcement:“This means we no longer will have access to our own body of work if we don’t pay whatever fee Adobe demands down the road. Unacceptable. You’ve lost me as a custome”r with this move. “I don’t need every single cutting-edge feature in every new release … I don’t like being forced into upgrades I don’t want, for a higher price than I would otherwise be paying to upgrade at my own pace. … I don’t understand why Adobe feels the need to limit us to subscription-only as opposed to offering options, unless they’re trying to milk more money out of those of us who don’t upgrade as often ”as they’d like. “So, basically, you’ve doubled the cost to loyal users who have been using this product for a longer period of time and would want to upgrade. This makes perfect since. Piss off enough customers with a subscription license that they’ll bail as loyal customers, but raise the prices enough to compensate for that loss of revenue stream. Sm”art move, Adobe! “…you can sugar coat this any way you want and describe it as how you are helping creatives connect with their customers in a more creative way, but you are going to lose lots of customers. During the busy months many of us wouldn’t mind the monthly fee but when the lean months come we MUST cut back on as much as possible. That’s why many of us will find some way around this by not us”ing your product. “It boggles my mind that the folks who make these decisions did not take this into consideration, I have to believe that some type of market studies were done. Given what I am seeing on a number of sites, and I am sure you are as well, Adobe is turning into a Four-Letter-Word over this licensing model. In my opinion it would make very good PR sense for Adobe to address th”is issue quickly.
The Adobe moderator, Jeffrey Tranberry, was cordial and helpful at the start of the blog post comments, but as the comments turned darker and darker, the moderator’s responses became (without the ability to ascertain tone) perceived as snide or insulting, while constantly using what many commenters referred to as “deflection tactics” to avoid addressing the true concerns of the Adobe users.
But in a key reply to one comment regarding seeing if Adobe responds with changes and more “reasonable” deals, Adobe’s Tranberry reply hinted at the potential for other options:“We’ve heard there’s a lot of interest in a photographer’s bundle or photography cloud solution and we’re actively exploring offerings we can potentially create for you. I appreciate your feedback around what you would like to see that fits your workflow needs. Hopefully we can put something together for you that would fit your needs in terms of the right products, right services for the right price f”or photographers.
Many long-time Adobe users, especially those involved in the graphic arts community, remember the Quark Xpress and Adobe InDesign page-layout software war: Quark ruled the industry for years, as Aldus’ Pagemaker software struggled to keep up and be competitive. But while essentially holding a monopoly on the market, Quark was slow to upgrade, provide features requested by users, and they kept their software at a very high price point.
Enter Adobe into the picture, where they first purchased PageMaker and then created the InDesign software application to take on Quark. Quark didn’t even blink an eye, as they firmly believed they held the throne in the page design world. But, through strategic pricing and receptive ear to providing updates with key needs for the design community, within a few years Adobe toppled Quark from its perch and never looked back.
Today, Quark struggles to even be relevant in the design world. And the commenters on the Adobe blog remembered that well:“Adobe seems hell bent to force their users into subscription licensing. As the cost of high quality software drops everywhere else and with it, better and more customer friendly piracy controls, Adobe would do well to remember how they bested Quark. They did it not, at first, with a superior product but with superior treatment of their customers. Because Quark’s customers were so alienated by Quark’s customer hostility customers were willing to switch to the, at the time, obviously inferior InDesign. Adobe is on the road to becoming the “new Quark” and it will be interesting to see what products evolve to make Adobe as marginal in the future” as Quark is now. “All I can see that you have done is to repeat Quark’s mistake and open the door to a company that will provide what people need at a good price. Those companies are already out there and Photoshop will now be under greater ”threat from them.
Indeed, there are other software solutions out there that will be serious threat to Photoshop.
Watch for more posts here on HSW’s “News & Musings” later this week with reviews and recommendations for Photoshop alternatives.