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Adobe Kills Boxed Version Of Creative Suite

Adobe gives up on discs in shrink-wrapped boxes to focus on delivering software as a service for its Creative Cloud customers.

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Adobe has decided not to offer the next iteration of its professional authoring applications on discs in shrink-wrapped boxes in order to focus on delivering software as a service for its Creative Cloud customers.

The company announced the shift at its Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles, Calif., on Monday.

"We launched Creative Cloud a year ago and it has been a runaway success," said David Wadhwani, Adobe SVP and general manager of Digital Media, in a statement. "By focusing our energy -- and our talented engineers -- on Creative Cloud, we're able to put innovation in our members' hands at a much faster pace."

Though Adobe will continue to sell boxed versions of Creative Suite 6 and its consumer software, like Photoshop Elements and Lightroom, there will be no Creative Suite 7.

Instead, Adobe's updated desktop creative applications will be offered under the "CC" brand, to reflect their association with the company's Creative Cloud service. The revised apps, available next month, include: Adobe Photoshop CC, InDesign CC, Illustrator CC, Dreamweaver CC and Premiere Pro CC. They will be made available as downloadable, installable software that runs on a local computing device to Creative Cloud members with an appropriate subscription.

[ Is streaming software the wave of the future? Read Apple, Microsoft Challenged By Streaming Software Plan. ]

Adobe offers annual Creative Cloud memberships for $50 per month. A discounted rate of $30 per month for the first year is available to Adobe customers who own CS3 to CS5.5 licenses. Promotional pricing is also available for some customers, as detailed on Adobe's website.

The broad industry shift toward cloud computing and mobile devices, the popularity of online app stores and Apple's decision several years ago to drastically reduce the prices of professional apps like Final Cut Pro have all helped make Adobe's practice of selling software in boxes with the size and weight of a six-pack of beer something of an anachronism.

To its credit, Adobe began laying the groundwork for a cloud transition last year when it launched Creative Cloud, a way to sell its software as a subscription service.

"We were actually surprised by how quickly customers moved to Creative Cloud," said Scott Morris, senior director of product marketing creative cloud, in a phone interview. Morris said more than half a million paying members and more than two million free members have subscribed in the past year.

One reason Adobe has moved to a cloud-based model so quickly, Morris said, was that the company's engineers found it challenging to maintain two different code bases, one for traditional Creative Suite users and one for Creative Cloud users.

"Allowing the product teams to focus was the right thing for us and for our customers," said Morris.

In an email, Al Hilwa, program director for applications development software at research firm IDC, said that Adobe has persevered through Apple's ban of its Flash technology on iOS devices and a recession that reduced spending on its high-end software to find a future on the Web and in the cloud.

"What seems pretty clear is that Adobe has made a thorough transformation of its desktop software into a set of cloud services," said Hilwa. "Adobe's clients have definitely jumped on Creative Cloud, perhaps even faster than Adobe's fastest projections. What also appears to be the case is that Creative Cloud is attracting additional customers who previously may have been peripheral team collaborators or point users of Adobe products. What is ahead for Adobe is how it will tackle the enterprise with a specific value proposition."

One way that Adobe is dealing with corporate needs is through new Creative Cloud plans for teams and businesses and for education that allow for centralized billing, administration and deployment.

"We recognize the cloud model not right for everyone," said Morris.

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User Rank: Apprentice
5/7/2013 | 2:26:06 PM
re: Adobe Kills Boxed Version Of Creative Suite
Sorry, Adobe. I was about to upgrade from CS5.5 to CS6. Looks as though I will be staying with CS5.5 for a very LONG time.

I am into Cloud, but not as the only way. I do not want to contribute monthly to your revenue stream.
User Rank: Apprentice
5/7/2013 | 3:29:20 PM
re: Adobe Kills Boxed Version Of Creative Suite
I'm in the same boat - I heard about their intentions to do this a while back, and there is more than a little objection to this transition. Many businesses and consumers using these products live in areas with no reliable high-bandwidth internet service and it sounds like Adobe will be charging these people extra for the privilege to run the software locally.

I am testing various alternatives to CS and working with my design team to transition their skills to various rival applications. Once we find a workable solution, Adobe gets the boot!
User Rank: Apprentice
5/7/2013 | 3:40:20 PM
re: Adobe Kills Boxed Version Of Creative Suite
It is surprising that this article does not make any attempt to cover the customer objections to this extortion. Just go look at any forums, and you are going to find a lot of people unhappy about the Borg-like maneuver, who have not accepted that resistance is futile.

The article dutifully reports Adobe's sunny spin on this. But this move is hardly in response to "customer demand."

In the biography "Titan", the author repeated noted how the actions of Rockefeller probably helped to drive innovation in the oil business, as well as improvements transportation, finance, public safety, and so on. Furthermore, it kept prices lower than they otherwise might've been, at least temporarily, because of Rockefellers desire to bankrupt the competition. But the problem with a monopoly like this is that it only was beneficial to Rockefeller and his shareholders. It would squeeze his suppliers, and stifle -- even eliminate (assassinate?) competition.

I'm trying to see how this Adobe monopoly is any different? Adobe has done a good job of creating innovative, leading-edge products. They have been rewarded with a substantial market share. They have now reached a critical mass where they no longer need to be responsive to customer needs... and can subsequently attempt to dictate.

It is going to be difficult for many people switch because there might not be any other game in town... Adobe has created a monopoly.

And this anti-competitive action is going to generate massive amounts of cash, which is only going to fuel and cement their position.

I sure hope the FTC is watching this.
User Rank: Apprentice
5/7/2013 | 3:42:16 PM
re: Adobe Kills Boxed Version Of Creative Suite
So now Adobe wants to update my bank balance as well as my laptop on a monthly basis?
User Rank: Apprentice
5/7/2013 | 4:17:14 PM
re: Adobe Kills Boxed Version Of Creative Suite
CS already checks back to Adobe for license & machine verification every time you start. So the constant "big brother" aspect of Adobe holding their customers in contempt has been in place for years. With boxed sets, customers often skip an upgrade cycle and so save money. The real impetus for Adobe for this move to subscription only is to squeeze more money out of their customers for effectively the same service. At my company, we have a large number of CS licenses. We've decided we will not switch to the subscription model, but instead we have put together a team to evaluate replacement products, The number one criteria for a replacement is that it NOT be subscription based.
User Rank: Apprentice
5/7/2013 | 5:34:46 PM
re: Adobe Kills Boxed Version Of Creative Suite
Again , another company tries to squeeze more money out of it's user base. But this time they do go way too far. Those of us who used their software will keep their boxed sets as long as they can. It will probably force the hand of GIMP and other wares to get up to date with the needs of the users and reallt hack at a replacement for CS.

Hopefully this will be the shot in the arm OSS needs to get truly on the bandwagon of creating an anternative to a software that is too costly to start with and for which the majority of potential users cannot justify the cost . Shame that Adobe is shooting itself in the foot , again.

User Rank: Apprentice
5/7/2013 | 6:03:46 PM
re: Adobe Kills Boxed Version Of Creative Suite
Talking about alternatives, don't forget Corel.
They have a wonderful vector editing tool: the legendary CorelDRAW!
Corel PhotoPaint is a powerful, feature-rich bitmap editor, a complete alternative to Photoshop.
Corel Painter is absolutely amazing painting software.
And many goodies come with the bundle: hundreds of free fonts, clipart, photos, Font manager, and more.
User Rank: Moderator
5/7/2013 | 10:52:02 PM
re: Adobe Kills Boxed Version Of Creative Suite
Wow, so Adobe now charges $600 per year just to use Photoshop and Illustrator.
I'm sure their customers demanded that change...
Ramon S
Ramon S,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/9/2013 | 12:04:25 PM
re: Adobe Kills Boxed Version Of Creative Suite
Paying monthly for usage is one thing, but if you use it professionally how do you do your work if you encounter an outage as just happened with CenturyLink? No Internet means no cloud even if the end-user and the provider are up and running. Also, with the big push to the cloud Internet traffic will rise tremendously which undoubtedly will cause ISPs to switch to metered services. Do you really want to think twice as to how much it costs to do something? Plus all the potential issues with data security, which may or may not be better compared to an on premise solution.
The cloud is great for unpredictable workloads that can quickly grow and then drop down, for anything that amounts to steady work there is not much benefit and maybe only cost. In any case, cloud services inherit the volatility of networks and once you start using cloud services on a regular basis you will be amazed as to how often they are not available, even if it is just for a few seconds.
User Rank: Ninja
5/10/2013 | 1:01:57 PM
re: Adobe Kills Boxed Version Of Creative Suite
Curious as to why since CS6 is still available. Seems to me you might want to get on the last non-subscription version before they stop selling it.
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