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New Adobe Upgrade Policy for CS6: What Does It Mean for You?

[UPDATE (May 2013) – CS4 and CS3 users no longer receive upgrade discounts to CS6, but to the new Adobe CC release instead.]

[UPDATE (January 2012) – Adobe has listened to customers and just reversed this change!  CS3, CS4, & CS5 are all good for upgrade to CS6 now.]

Earlier this month Adobe made a major change in the Creative Suite upgrade policy that has been in place since CS3 came out in April 2007…

Have you heard about it yet? If not, you might want to read the new upgrade policy for CS6.

Also helpful: see Adobe’s planned new business model, a membership-based Creative Cloud.

Get an extra 20% off all CS5.5 upgrades

OK, all caught up? Good. So, how will these changes affect you?

First off, for anybody currently running the latest major release, Creative Suite 5 (either 5.0, 5.1, or 5.5), you’re fine. You will not be affected by this revision, and will be eligible for the discounted pricing on upgrades when CS6 comes out.

For everyone else, if you’re still running older versions – like CS2, CS3, or CS4 – when CS6 releases, you wouldn’t qualify for that upgrade price break. And customer reaction on this point has been understandibly unfavorable.

Adobe is trying to mitigate the impact of this change by offering an extra 20% off all CS5.5 upgrades worldwide until the end of the year the extended date of March 15, 2012 (see banner).

But in trying to figure out what this means for everybody, it might be helpful to first take a step back with the Creative Suite release history and expected future schedule… Here’s how the big picture looks:

CS ReleaseDate
Creative Suite 3Spring 2007
Creative Suite 4Fall 2008
Creative Suite 5Spring 2010
Creative Suite 5.5May 2011
Creative Suite 6Mid-2012 (est.)
Creative Suite 6.5Mid-2013 (est.)
Creative Suite 7Mid-2014 (est.)
Creative Suite 7.5Mid-2015 (est.)

So if Adobe continues as they anticipate, anybody who is running CS5 (or CS5.5) right now will be able to get low upgrade pricing to CS6 (or CS6.5) until that cycle completes in mid-2014. That’s over two years from now.

In other words, it’s likely that part of Adobe’s reasoning for moving from “three versions back” to a “one version back” upgrade policy is that the major releases are now spaced out to once every two years – so that someone who bought CS5.0 the moment it came out in 2010 could still qualify for discounted upgrade pricing to CS6.5 nearly four years later in 2014.

But for “version skippers” and other folks still running prior releases, what are your options?

Here are what the choices look to be:

  1. Upgrade to CS5.5 now so you’re current, taking advantage of the additional 20% discount – and then revisit the question again before CS7 comes out in 2014.
  2. Wait now, and then pay full price for a new copy of CS6, CS7, or a subsequent release.
  3. Keep using the older software that you own now.
  4. Convert to the “Creative Cloud” model, with access included to more applications and services so long as you’re paying the per-month subscription fee.

So, which will it be, what will you do?

And regarding Adobe’s business focus here, with the cloud model – what do you think, will it work? Is it the right move, at the right time? Or do you feel otherwise?

Take our instant poll:

Adobe’s Changes in the Model




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Tell us more below – here’s your chance to express your thoughts and feedback… We will be sharing the results with Adobe directly.

See also:  Acrobat, Lightroom, and Elements – How Will They Be Affected?

[UPDATE (January 11th, 2012) – After feedback, Adobe has now deferred this policy change.]

See Also

Get the New Creative Cloud 2021 Direct Download Links

What do you think of the new policies for Creative Suite 6?  Share your thoughts below or at Adobe’s official feedback form
 
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83 thoughts on “New Adobe Upgrade Policy for CS6: What Does It Mean for You?”

  1. Will Adobe keep their Post Announcement upgrade policy intact?

    Basically, if you buy an upgrade of the current product within a week or two after Adobe’s Official Announcement of the new (CS6) product (which happens quite a bit sooner than actual availability/shipment of the new product), you will get an upgrade to the new product when it comes out.

    Ony caveat is that the complimentary upgrade isn’t automatic, you must submit your request to Adobe immediately. And of course, there is a Short Specific Purchase Time Frame that they will honor this upgrade..

    Reply
    • Good question Kris. Nobody can say for sure what Adobe’s policies will be in the future, but we believe they will keep the post-announce upgrade policy. Here’s why:

      Adobe has a longstanding 30-day money-back guarantee and return policy… So any Adobe product (whether boxed or downloaded), can be returned for a full refund within that timeframe – even if you purchased it from an authorized third-party retailer or reseller (if the reseller will no longer accept it back).

      Why do we mention that? Because effectively it allows you to create your own grace period for free upgrades – and that grace period always runs 30 days. For example, if you were to purchase CS5.5 on (say) May 1, 2012 and then CS6 is launched three weeks later, you could simply return your purchased CS5.5 within the window, and order CS6 instead. The same would go for any other Adobe product.

  2. @ Rick Poole

    I may have found the wrong board here, because a lot of comments are focused on Photoshop. I went to school and learned the entire CS4 package and had been focused on Dreamweaver projects, and I was already fairly advanced with PS and AI and integration of everything, thus when I read comments about professionals, that sort of hits the nail on the head, i.e., Adobe seems to be focusing attention on higher end users that are supported by corporate structures.

    The little guys and the students and the newbies are being pushed out of the game and this smacks of all the bad things we are seeing on Wall Street and the division between classes, with the 99% and the 1% upper crust rich that don’t have to ponder about money problems. In a way, I’m grateful to Adobe for helping me choose a path away from supporting businesses that are too big to fail! Screw them!

    Reply
  3. @ Rinne
    This is exactly how I feel. I did the same thing as you (I have cs4) and was just going to wait until cs6 came out to upgrade. Now I’ll either have to upgrade to cs5 or 5.5 just to upgrade again within a few months to cs6 or purchase cs6 outright. Someone mentioned about a policy that allows you a complimentary upgrade if you purchase a version a few weeks before the new version comes out but it wasn’t conclusive – even then you would still have to make a fairly good guess when the new version would be out. This is pretty frustrating. I want to be able to use the latest software in my line of work but unfortunately I don’t have money spilling out of my pockets.

    Reply
    • Hey there Vectorsaur, a couple items in response to your post — we do have a pretty good idea on when CS6 will be launched, and yes, in the past Adobe has offered a grace period for free upgrades to the new version for those that buy the previous version after the announcement.

      Adobe hasn’t said anything else definitive on either front for CS6, so these are all best guesses right now. But even if there isn’t an official CS5 ==> CS6 grace period specified by the company, you can essentially make your own – see the response to Kris above for how.

      Hope this helps!

  4. @ Morris Taub
    Morris, I completely agree with you on the “suprise of ‘buy it now or lose out on upgrades’ decision” sentiment. As said, it isn’t that you need to buy it now but you’ll get a discounted price if you do it by Dec 31 – even at that, I still don’t have an extra $650 lying around, especially during a time when I’m supposed to be buying gifts for others!

    Reply
  5. I am a home user / hobbyist. Any income I’ve received from use of Adobe products has never come close to what I have paid for the products. I can’t afford to purchase every version. I’m currently on Web Premium CS4, and only use a few of the tools in the suite. I was planning to upgrade to CS6 when it came out, but if I have to pay full price, I won’t be able to do that. The monthly subscription would be too expensive, and so would the upgrades if I had to purchase every version. I would probably continue using CS4 for as long as I could, then look for a non-Adobe alternative.

    Reply
  6. As a freelance designer I use ID a fair bit, only occasionally Ai these days and PS a bit more than Ai. Now and again I have a go with Dreamweaver and some weeks/months I will hardly do any work in any of these programs, other times more intense. I currently have one of the Suites and one day intend to play with the other things, like edit my home movies in Premiere and try out the other bits and bobs that come with the Adobe way of life. In fact I’m trying Premiere now but time runs out quickly and having things like 30 day trials, monthly or yearly subscriptions just don’t and won’t work for me. The trial will run out before I have time to use it properly and it’s far too expensive via subs to justify either way, especially when I don’t use the programs for long periods of time (who does use them all all of the time?!).

    Over the years I have just been able to afford the odd upgrade, maybe skipping a version here or there but usually it’s a big investment for me and hard to justify other than it’s nice to be using the new features and keeping up with things. However, I guess I will have to now think even more carefully about what I buy as I just can’t afford things as they are, especially with UK pricing which in itself is a joke.

    I would welcome a subscription model but only if it were fair and based on use. Say per number of hours or processor cycles used rather than per month. Also per program rather than as a suite. I’d like to try out and learn how to use all the other Adobe programs and experiment with them even though I’m not actually doing anything productive or money-earning from them, maybe just learning how to use them. Why should I be paying a long term subscription for something I probably never get around to using in any given period as often is the case? There are other things to do in life you know.

    The UK monthly subscription cost for the Master Suite was some 50% greater (over £200pm) than the yearly subs cost when I checked earlier, that’s a complete joke for what I do and earn a meagre living from. I want something I can sign up to and forget about, not feeling like I’m wasting money by not using it for periods. It would be like joining a club and rarely going to it, or buying a season ticket for the buses or trains but never going anywhere. What’s the point?

    Some users will use the programs day in and day out and will get incredible value for money, especially when they’re on a good paying job. For me that is rare and has been since 1982 when I started doing what I do all the time, designing and creating stuff. I buy lots of other software and none is this expensive to run and keep up with. I want a pricing model that works for me and only for when I’m using the programs, it can’t be that hard to get the programs to keep track of their actions and have a pricing model based on number of things done, processor cycles or something tangible that can be measured. Something fair and based on actual usage, then those that manage to get loads of work can get charged more than those that hardly do anything but at the same time enjoy and learn how to get better at using the programs, no matter how slow or fast they work.

    Come on Adobe. We are creatives, please be creative with how you view and charge us. Don’t treat us as a captive market that you can milk forever, we don’t all work in commercial agencies earning a ton of money, and if it should ever happen that I start earning loads and using the programs a lot more, then fair enough, charge me more based on a tiered discount structure that gets slightly cheaper the more a particular program is used, and I’m talking pennies per hour or for so many processor cycles, not huge sums per day, month or year.

    Get real Adobe. Be creative, be fair, make it fun, let amateurs and starters get involved, let us all have a go at everything beyond the 30 day trials that we don’t have time to explore because we actually have lives to lead as well. A fairer structure would basically mean: “Don’t use it and you don’t get charged”, you would have the world installing all the software and having fun, also the overall cost to users could come down and your revenues, user-base and popularity go up. Unfortunately these days the name Adobe is not quite as nice as it used to be as you appear to be getting greedy and monopolistic in nature. Time for a change, don’t forget the little guys as without them learning via Adobe there may not be many bigger guys later.

    Time to be creative, Sweetie.

    Reply
  7. I am one little guy with CS4 who won’t be shelling out over $600 to upgrade to CS5.5 by Dec. 31st, only to have to so it again in 2012. Happy New Year to us regular slobs. Thanks Adobe, you’re catering to the 1%!!

    Reply
  8. Adobe ought to pay attention to what happened to Netflix after they made their user base mad. Same thing may well happen here.

    Reply
  9. Dear Adobe, now that you have this ‘regular cycle’ on products, it’s becoming harder and harder to keep up. I have five full CS3 suites, but when the economy took a downturn, not only did I have to lay employees off (negating the need to upgrade all 5 suites at the time), it was cost prohibitive to do so when CS5 came out. I along with most agencies have been cash strapped over the past 3 years with the poor economy, and had to skip CS4 when that came out. With CS5, we didn’t want to fall behind. But with the rising upgrade costs, we could only upgrade two of our five suites. We even had to finance that along with the equipment upgrades since it was an Intel-only release…. then a year later you come out with 5.5… while not a full upgrade price, still too much for a .5 release when we’re all still hurting. To make matters worse, trying to deal with clients giving you CS5.5 files that aren’t compatible without some hoop-jumping is just plain silly.

    Now hearing your new plan, and that my 3 other suites are essentially useless if I am able to hire new employees, is just a stick in the eye. I’m sorry, while I know you need to make a profit and pay for these updates/upgrades, you are going to start driving people away or away from any further updates. It certainly doesn’t help customer loyalty. It’s more likely customer hostage-taking. It will be like 2000 all over again, with people just sticking with Quark 4.1 forever and feeling trapped. This is no longer the great company that John Warnock founded and ran. I am very deeply disappointed and am disappointed I ever helped evangelize Adobe over Quark or Macromedia.

    Reply
  10. Well … That’s it for me. I’ve been a loyal Flash developer since 2000 (version 4), but have watched in dismay as Adobe devoured Macromedia’s once stellar product, and slowly ran it into the ground through over-pricing tactics and badly managed tech policies (re: Apple — and I am no Apple geek.. just watching what they did – or rather, didn’t do). Once a premiere class act, Adobe has become a group I am sad to say I now feel ashamed of. I will certainly not upgrade under their current requirements, neither at home nor at work, not for their ‘fabulous new features’ that for years have brought * zero * added value to my work. They have finally chased this dedicated coder to seek out and endorse alternate products. Thank you Macromedia — it was a fun ride. Adobe … thanks for nothing. ( I believe the Netflix comment made by ‘Anonymous’ is spot-on )

    Reply
  11. I’ve yet to read anything substantive regarding exactly how CS3 and CS4 users will be made “happy”; e.g., if a current CS5.5 Design Premium user upgrades to CS6 Design Premium for $500 (just a stab in the dark) will the CS4 Design Premium user have to pay $800 and the CS3 Design Premium user $1100?

    It’s difficult to make an informed decision when Adobe has yet to inform us on pricing details. Purchasing the upgrade from 4 to 5.5 on May 1st with the intention of exploiting the 30-day return / exchange for 6 could be the “happiest” scenario; however, risky.

    Reply
    • Hi Kelly, Adobe normally offers lower upgrade pricing for owners of more recent versions compared to older ones – this is their Tiered Upgrade Pricing Plan

      Why do they do it this way?

      “Creative Suite customers who upgrade regularly have long requested better pricing compared to those who upgrade infrequently. Adobe introduced tiered upgrade pricing to reward these customers.”

      As for taking advantage of Adobe’s Return and Refund Policy to exchange a recent purchase if a new release comes out afterwards – that should work fine so long as it’s close to when CS6 eventually ships.

      We believe it’s unlikely that CS6 will be significantly more expensive than CS5, if at all – over the past few releases, Adobe has kept pricing pretty much the same.

      Hope this helps!

  12. As a single user working and paying for my own software, a 2-yr window for upgrade pricing is reasonable and won’t drive me to alternate vendors just yet. This is an expensive venture – Adobe keep your cheerleaders in your rear-view mirror and make sure the crowd doesn’t thin!
    @ TomboFlash

    Reply
  13. No website, disabled veteran. Why doesn’t Adobe sell Lightroom and Adobe CS6 on Military Bases? The way they sell to teachers & students.

    Reply
  14. Has anyone received the email for the free upgrade yet?

    If you bought web premium 5.5 what is the free upgrade to, as web premium only package was discontinued in cs6?

    Reply
  15. Thanks for the clarification.

    For those who have upgraded in the past. When you do upgrade (e.g. CS5.5 – 6) can you use the old CS5.5 alongside the new upgraded CS6 on the same machine or does the act of upgrading deactivate the older suites components. I ask because Adobe Contribute is not in the merged CS6 suite.

    Reply
  16. Bad Move, Adobe. Cloud computing is only for “City Folks” with huge bandwidth connections & the price…seriously? I have already switched to Serif software for web & print design (good stuff!! & great customer service hint hint).

    Only have production premium now & will NOT buy into RENTING my software, I don’t like the idea of being held “hostage” monthly to the whims of a greedy company. I wonder how high that monthly rental will go once they have you hooked? Thank goodness I am old & will probably use my upgrade of 6 until I die. I pity my daughter in this business, it USED to be that you could afford to be a freelancer…no longer! Maybe that’s the plan.

    Reply
  17. I upgraded from CS3 to CS5.5 Design Premium in mid-March and I’m very disappointed to find that there is no real discount to VERY recent upgrades. It seems like Adobe should have some additional compensation for anyone upgrading within 6 months (or at least 2 months) of their CS6 release.

    Reply
    • Hello Glen, sorry it didn’t work out the way you hoped. The company is offering free upgrades to CS6 for CS5.5 purchases, but it began on March 26th. And one thing we’ve learned after being an Adobe Partner for 5+ years is that it’s never possible to manage dates on offers or releases so that everyone is perfectly happy… No matter what period the company chooses, by definition there will always be someone just before or just after. So pleasing everyone all the time is unfortunately not possible – but if you’d like to share your feedback with Adobe directly, here’s their Customer Contact page.

      The compensation concept you suggest could be difficult to implement given all the different ways and places a customer can buy Adobe software, but even if it were able to be done, you’d still be back to the same issue just mentioned for those outside of the announced window.

      Anyway, you did receive the software you ordered and paid for, so hope it does good things for you! Going forward feel free to stay tuned here (see the “Subscribe” box at the upper right), as we always try to give early word and estimates on upcoming major releases, and have been posting on CS6 timeframes since last summer.

  18. Business as usual… becoming more business. Clear it’s pure marketing by naming it “Creative Cloud”, but it’s the “Cloud” is hopping on the bandwagon and already passe [yawn]. WHY can’t these folks line up with creatives and be truly innovative? You pay for monthly membership, yes, it initially sounds like a great deal, just like in the ‘old’ days, paying for e-mail. You may not choices, but, then it hooks you because you can’t stop if you want continuity. Finally, you just have to cut the cord and go with what is free/open source creative because you get sick of it paying for upgrades or monthly membership. {Gasp}

    Reply
  19. @ wick

    Dude. Own a business, even a small business, pay 35% tax state & Federal, then tell me about the 1%. So based on your genius comments, you would refuse to work on “The Avengers,” “Spider-Man,” “Batman” etc… because they are part of the 1%. You refuse to edit or do anything creative using Adobe products for Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon who make $20 million a picture. Come to think of it, why are you supporting Adobe? They are the 1%… Maybe you should edit some “occupy” videos, I hear they pay well when they are not destroying windows…

    Reply
  20. I bought my Mac and CS5 Standard though an education discount at the university where I was teaching. The sold me the CS5.1. Now – only 6 months later and now according to Adobe’s site it looks like my upgrade will be $550! Are you kidding!

    Reply
    • Hi GK, if you bought the Adobe suite six months ago then you would have received CS5.5 Design Standard because that was the current release at the time…

      Yes, Illustrator and Photoshop were at CS5.1 versions, but it’s still consid­ered a Creative Suite 5.5 product on the whole.

      In which case, your cost to upgrade the entire suite (all applications) to CS6 would be only half that amount – US$275 rather than $549.

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