Friday, 10 May 2013

Adobe CC - Hero or Villan?

Adobe in addition to knowing a thing or two about software, certainly knows how to stir up lively debate.

No one can deny that they make some fine software, that the vast majority of photographers use.

The software ship seemed to be sailing along just fine, with the option of subscribing to the software if you wanted access to a wide range of their software.

Then a bolt from the blue.

You can no longer buy the software.

You must subscribe to it.

Adobe's rationale does make a great deal of sense.

No more software piracy, a CFO's dream of a constant monthly income stream, no more printed DVD's

Putting Adobe well and truly in the driving seat.

Not only for the company does it make sense, for top end working pro's it could be a money saving boon, always having the latest and greatest from the software giant.

On the other hand, there will be some people who like buying and owning software, without a monthly payment leaving their bank account.

If you are broke and you hit hard times, Adobe will deactivate your software.

Leaving you few options to earn your way out of a financial hole.

I do know shooters in this unhappy situation too.

Without Adobe the photographic world would be a much unhappier place, but you do have to question any manufacturer who takes away a buyers choice and imposes a new way of distributing software, no matter how appealing it may seem.

Old hands like myself may recall this is not the first time that Adobe has ruffled feathers in the photograph world.

Remember Adobe stock photos? It was greeted by swathes of the photographic community with the same enthusiasm that one would greet a rabid leper, and though it does still exist, as a result of the furore, it was somewhat kicked into the long grass.

There is always a challenge when you are the in disputed market leader, you can become a little, dare I say it, disconnected from your customers, with more than a slight whiff of schadenfreude.

Are Adobe guilty of this? I will let you decide.

There is a bigger issue here though, competition breeds success.

And when it comes to Photoshop, Adobe does not have a great deal of competition - yet.


Adobe may well have uncorked the bottle and the genie may well be out there - not wanting to go back in quite so easily.

They just may have opened the door for a clever start up to offer similar software that you can buy out right.

There may come a day when photographers use something other than Photoshop.

This may seem far fetched, but consider for a moment Microsoft Office and Excel

Every but every computer had this software installed, but little by little it is not quite so vital anymore, with its market share being eroded by affordable and compelling alternatives like Pages and Numbers.

So Photoshop you HAVE to subscribe to but it is rather interesting to note that you don't have to subscribe to Lightroom.



Photoshop has an opposition which is about as unified as the Judean people's front and the popular front of Judea were in ousting the Romans in the wonderful 'Life of Brian'.

Lightroom faces opposition which is vibrant and compelling, Capture One 7 and DXO to name but two, keeping Adobe honest and giving them a good run for their money.

I reckon Adobe will stay top of the tree, with many seeing CC as a bargain.

But equally I believe that there will be a small but vocal community of users who do not wish to be compelled to pay a monthly subscription if they want to use the software.

In the next couple of years it will be interesting to see if Adobe faces competition which makes them rethink this approach which many will like and make others feel left out in the cold.


Mark Coons said...

Thank you Drew. It's nice to read a calm and rational viewpoint for a change.

Martin Beddall said...

Adobe need to look at Kodak if they think they are too big to fail.

Drew Gardner said...

Thanks Mark....oh the temptation.

Martin, I could not agree more.

It will be interesting to see what their next move is, in the face of such a hostile reception.

ohnostudio said...

Right now Adobe Photoshop is the 800 pound gorilla and that gorilla does pretty much anything it wants to. Many will wish and hope, but Adobe wot be walking this one back.

While I've written about the "renting" aspect extensively, I really have no skin in the game here. I had no need to upgrade beyond CS2 because it does everything I need, and for Raw I'll be fully engaged with Capture One by next year.

The move has upset a lot of people for sure, but a lot of that angst has been the result of misinformation. Some even think that old software they may have holds no value such. That's the web for you.

The very small design shops that insist on keeping current with multiple programs will take a hit here, as well as small shop printers. I already got a call from my printer asking me if I had any plans to supply high version files (EPS) in the future. I'm an Illustrator user too. I told him he should know better and that I'm an old stick in the mud with that stuff ;-) Line art is line art and snazzy features don't make it better.

The Kodak comment above is brilliant. I'm sad every time I look at my old Kodak SLR/n.

Drew you have a great weekend!

Jon Yoder said...

Good insights, Drew.

One minor critique I do have is the one about no more piracy. I haven't seen Adobe mention the creative cloud being a measure to prevent piracy.

In the long run it Adobe CC may focus more on preventing piracy, but as it stands right now, I am guessing that it will be cracked as fast as the rest--as long as it stays fully downloadable.

I'm interested to see how this plays out into market share, dominance, and stock prices.

Keep up the good work!

Kurt Shoens said...

Though I would like to see a serious competitor to Photoshop, I doubt this move will encourage another company to step up. Photoshop covers a lot of ground. I personally use a selective swath of it, but I'm sure other photographers use a different subset.

Plus, the upstart would be competing on price and terms, which Adobe could decide to change at any time.

I check in on the open source Photoshop work-alike from time to time. Someone asked about a CMYK mode and was told "We are not fond of early binding." That phrase tells me that the developers are more interested in computer science and design purity than in how their users actually work.

Simon said...

Jon, it won't stop piracy at all. you will still be able to download a 30 day trial. Someone, somewhere will crack it. In fact, my first was that this was a counter- piracy issue but I don't think it is. If they'd come out and said so, every hacker and his illegitimate peanut would be out to crack the software just to prove a point.

Drew Gardner said...

Counter piracy or not, this has not been a popular move from the looks of things.

Competition to Photoshop is fragmented and rather 'niche'

It is really difficult to see user friendly, accessible competition coming through any time soon, but who remembers the days when Quark express was THE dominant design software?

You don't hear that name banded around so much anymore do you?