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Home > Tips January 25th, 2017

Adobe Just Stopped Selling Creative Suite 6 Entirely – Here’s Why

Almost five years ago, in the spring of 2012, Adobe launched two major products at one time: Creative Suite 6 and the Creative Cloud. The Creative Suite 6 suites were well received and cost from US$1,300 to $2,600 – while Creative Cloud, a subscription to their full range of creative applications, had a much lower cost of entry and gave customers access to the CS6 tools and services, as well as ongoing upgrades. A year later, Adobe announced that CS6 would be their last perpetual software release, and there would be no CS7.

Here's the page where you previously could buy Adobe CS6

Since then, the Creative Cloud has evolved to include the newer milestone releases CC 2013, CC 2014, CC 2015, CC 2015.5, and now CC 2017. Over this time, thousands of new features and improve­ments have been delivered exclusively to Creative Cloud members, while the original CS6 release has remained largely static. By law, with the purchasing model that CS6 had, Adobe could not legally add significant new features to the traditional release.

By June of 2014, after the first two major CC versions, Adobe described new CS6 sales as “de minimis,” with the vast majority of customers choosing Creative Cloud instead.

Adobe did continue providing maintenance (bug/security) fixes to CS6 and refreshing Camera Raw through July 2015, over 3 years after CS6 came out – but then finally discontinued support in order to evolve the platform and pursue further innovations in image processing and workflow technology.

Thus, CS6 was written before and is not supported on newer operating systems, meaning that officially Windows 8.1 and Mac OSX v. 10.9 (“Mavericks”) are the latest compatible OS versions.

Shortly thereafter, in September 2015, Adobe stopped selling Creative Suite 6 online on their website… Essentially the reason was because the newer CC rapidly grew and took over. Some CS6 editions could still be purchased from the company after that point, although only by calling an Adobe call center directly and only for older operating systems.

But with the CS6 software EOL (end-of-life) and end of support, there were no further updates, no bug fixes, and no guarantees it will run on the latest or future operating systems. So finally, earlier this month, Adobe ceased any remaining sales of CS6 for good:

As of January 9, 2017, Creative Suite is no longer available for purchase

Looking for Creative Suite 6? The latest versions of all your favorite apps like Photoshop and Illustrator are only available with a Creative Cloud membership. You’ll also get ongoing product upgrades, hundreds of step-by-step tutorials, built-in design templates, your own portfolio website, and more.

That notification comes from this page where you previously could buy CS6:

http://www.adobe.com/products/cs6.html

So really the only path forward for Adobe creative products now is CC, which are considered better tools anyway, or you can downgrade them to use CS6 instead – because Creative Cloud subscribers can choose either or both versions.

With Creative Cloud, all ongoing upgrades, compatibility updates and product additions are always included – so becoming obsolete will never happen. The monthly payments are also more budget-friendly in the new model than in the old CS model – where the software used to cost many hundreds or often thousands of dollars upfront, and never evolved.

Many of the Creative Cloud desktop applications let you export files to the Creative Suite 6 version of that same application. However, note that new features added to the desktop applications after CS6 may not be supported in the exported file, or by the CS6 application.

Finally, while Adobe no longer sells CS6 in any way, some readers may ask if is it still possible to find it secondhand on other sites like eBay or Amazon? The answer is yes, perhaps – but it doesn’t matter, because even if you could, you wouldn’t want to try buying it from those places.

Bottom line: Last year we stopped recommending CS6 as a good or viable option going forward, as it is simply not current or future-proof… And Adobe has finally closed the last door on this. But now you know the full story, and why.


Do you have any further questions about CS6 or CC?  Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!


See Also

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  1. yasser

    Hi. After Adobe had stopped selling CS products, who owns the products now?

    • Nobody else – CS6 has not stopped being owned by Adobe; it’s just that those tools are now 5 years old and outdated & replaced by the newer CC versions.

      And because CS6 is not supported to run on newer operating systems, plus is not receiving any further maintenance or security updates (being an old release), it is designated End-of-Life and Adobe could no longer responsibly sell it as “new” to customers.

  2. Jason

    I purchased CS6 in 2014 and have still continued to use CS6 without any really issues. However recently when launching the app, a “trial” period window appeared that said I was being given a 30 day trial to try the product. The purchase software button takes me to CC page to purchase the latest version. Is that legal considering I’ve already purchased the software?

  3. BillB

    I have become exasperated trying to get my adobe desktop cloud app to update successfully so my apps I paid for say I don’t have a license and to reinstall. Which it won’t.

    I need to get something done this week and may have to boot up an old PC that had CS6 on it. Is there anything special i need to do when I start CS6 up? Will it just work?

  4. @BillB
    I still use CS6 on my windows 10 machine with no problems. At least as far as Dreamweaver and Fireworks are concerned. The rest of the suite is just bloatware in my opinion. If CC had produced a suite for these two products like they have done for Photoshop, then I would have stuck with CC. It’s just totally expensive compared to the CS6 products regardless of what Adobe say. Can they not do simple arithmetic? I used to update every three years at a cost of about £400. Creative cloud costs more than that every year.
    QED

    • Well, what you get with the complete Creative Cloud (All Apps) is roughly equivalent to the old Master Collection suite – better actually – and to upgrade that every two years in the old days would cost over $1,000 each time.

      And with CC there is no upfront cost. CS6 Master Collection cost $2,599 just to get in the door with a static version. So with the relatively very low cost of entry ($50), the tools are accessible to many more people, and ongoing upgrades are automatically included. Creative Cloud’s subscription approach also allows Adobe to keep the software up-to-date more frequently and respond more effectively to rapid changes in technology. In addition, there are many more integrated services included with CC than there were with CS.

      The model is just different, and in a sense you can’t compare them apples-to-apples. But bottom line, for some customers it will be more expensive, and others less.

  5. TheTopdog

    I’m trying to figure out when extortion-ware has become the norm. You used to be able to purchase software and run it on your computer at any time for a decade even at no additional cost.

    A “subscription” works fine for people with money to pay the monthly fee, but those of us who live paycheck to paycheck, it can’t be done and our subscriptions run out and we aren’t able to access the software unless we choose between eating and using the software.

    Usually, we use our tax return to make onetime purchases of big ticket items like software.

    So this new model of “You can’t ever own the software and must pay the monthly fee or you lose access to the program,” isn’t any different than an protection racket, “Pay us half your profits for our protection… from us.”

  6. Rick J Meier

    All (cloud) Applications were created for the benefit of their creators. It is a continuous revenue stream for them, and that is all that it is about. CS6 is still a valid product for someone like me, who has an Imac that can only upgrade as far as Snow Leopard. CS6 is plenty good software, unless you can’t live without the latest, greatest upgrades. As long as my current computer lasts, I could use CS6 and be blissfully happy. When Adobe was still making CS6 available, it was charging original prices to give themselves an argument for upgrading to CC. They could make CS6 available for a fraction of the cost and still make money. I know my computer will not last forever, but financially, I have to see it to the end. Why won’t Adobe make CS6 and other software available so people like me can achieve the value we need? It may be a good business decision for them, but it has no heart.

    • Guys, this ship has sailed. Adobe is not going back and they’re not changing the model. Creative Cloud was launched six years ago last month – and the current offering still looks remarkably like it did back then at its introduction in November 2011. You have to hand it to the company for having a different vision and then following it through now with over 10 million paid subscribers, despite skeptics. So if you’re still having this debate now, then we’re convinced it’s just barking at the moon and not going to accomplish anything.

      Some people are arguing that their overall cost of Adobe’s products may go up in the transition from perpetual licensing to subscription licensing. If that’s the point you want to make, then so be it. For others, it will go down (or already has).

      Most customers don’t think $10 a month for the latest full desktop versions of both Photoshop CC + Lightroom CC (plus all related mobile apps and workflows) is too much to ask, considering that these two best-of-breed professional tools used to cost well over $1,000 upfront just to get in the door, not including upgrades. And people who previously upgraded only once every 5 years are probably not the customers Adobe targeted with the new model.

      There’s no question that some folks weren’t happy about the transition from perpetual-only to subscription-only products – but as a Pulitzer Prize winner once said, “I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” Adobe took a risk and it could have flopped or flown. They may have lost some customers, but at the same time gained many new ones because of the far-lower cost of entry than before.

      Adobe closed the last door to turning back last month when they stated there will not be a Lightroom 7 perpetual offering, and that going forward, Lightroom is available via subscription only. It’s done.

      However, note that even after a subscription has lapsed, you can still start up Lightroom CC to access your catalog and have limited use – see:

      What Happens to Lightroom After My Membership Ends?

  7. jermone

    Thank you, hit the nail on the head. I purchased a extra Mac Book and Mac book pro, set them up with CS 5.5 and CS 6, set them in storage. I have two other Mac’s that I use for my small business. When they die I have the others to fall back on. I have also found other non-cloud based software to use. Bottom line, if your software serves it’s purpose you do not need the cloud pay monthly subscription. The folks that are pro-cloud are mostly large companies and the guy who has to have the latest of everything are not looking at the big picture. I have found a big movement of many folks who will not buy into this cloud model. Now for you folks that do, well God Bless You. The rest of us will find another way. If you think that Adobe will not raise the monthly costs once they have the market controlled you’re in for a shock. If you have not looked at what it will cost you long term you might want to.

    • Holy smokes, are you joking? What was the total cost of purchasing two extra Macbooks plus additional licenses for Creative Suite? Probably thousands of dollars for depreciating assets, both of which will be obsolete if/when you take them out of storage. And what are the potential costs, compromises, and security risks of running an old macOS and programs that can never be updated?

      Your speculations about CC members are off base. By virtually every measure in the industry, the transition to Creative Cloud has been widely hailed as a major success, surprising a lot of skeptics and even exceeding Adobe’s own original expectations. Never before (not even with CS6), have so many millions of customers upgraded and been running the same single release of Adobe software, which makes the platform all the more powerful. There are thousands of improvements and new features in CC 2018 as compared to CS6… If you haven’t missed what you don’t have yet, that’s fine – but if the latest releases can help millions of people get better work done faster, then time is money.

      How much time (and money) will you lose by using outdated and less-productive tools indefinitely? In most people’s lives and/or careers, the amount of time needed to complete your work is important.

      What we have found when readers occasionally make inaccurate claims about the differences between the versions is that they come in with an existing mindset rather than having taken the time to educate themselves about what really has changed. We here in our office love CC, use it every day, and would never want to have to go back to CS6.

      Looking back to 2012, it’s clear now that Adobe didn’t do this to make anybody upset but rather made a business decision on what would be best for the future of the company and the sustainability of their franchise. The subscription model is more flexible in many ways and allows them to keep the tools current with fast-moving technology, as well as make record investments in their product line and advance the state of the art in creative software.

      Bottom line, you are quite free to stay in 2011. Sure, you can mutter darkly about how you personally don’t like the transformation but that really isn’t going to change anything. The train has left the station but of course you don’t need to be on it – it’s a personal choice whether to remain competitive as a provider of creative services or not. Either way, those CC adoption numbers are pretty impressive and pointing unambiguously to the future, and the company is clearly not looking back now.

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