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Adobe Creative Cloud Adoption Grows to 33 Million Paid Members

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Creative Cloud User Base Surpasses 33 Million Paid Subscribers


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72 thoughts on “Adobe Creative Cloud Adoption Grows to 33 Million Paid Members”

  1. I don’t see it growing that much. Most of the people trying it out at the cheap temporary price will not pay the higher prices later.

    • Hello again Willie, you may feel differently but you’re wrong on the numbers – the facts are pretty clear… By far, most existing CC customers are renewing when their subscription comes up. Since the Creative Cloud launch in May 2012, each quarter has added more new subscribers than the one preceding. That includes cancellations (“churn” in industry parlance) as well as the expiration of many of the first-year special pricing offers.

      In fact, the company said on last night’s conference call:

      “What’s more, we experienced strong retention among individual customers renewing at full price as their introductory promotions expired. And so we’re pleased so far with what we are seeing in terms of renewal rates.

      Just to clarify, the subs exit number that we talk about is net of attrition. Attrition is running lower than we had originally modeled, which I think is a good sign. And what we also find is that we introduce new offerings, whether it’s team, enter­prise, the new photography plan, that customers are migrating amongst these offerings.

      And so we’re pleased so far with what we are seeing in terms of renewal rates, while overall monthly average revenue per user, or ARPU, has remained consistent with prior quarters due to success of the team product and strong retention among individual customers renewing at full price as their introductory pricing expired.”

      For more, see:

      CC Renewals Beating Expectations and Exceed 80%, Adobe Reveals

  2. That’s something, there is no slowdown at all. Pretty impressive actually and doing better than what some people might want to believe, it seems.

  3. Not wanting to be a downer but I’m worried that people are moving to CC not because they want to but because they feel that they are forced to.

    The biggest issue is when the cloud decides to rain (and it already happened with the recent service outage).

    Yeah ok you can tell people to run the apps in offline mode/trial mode but then you can only do that once as far as I’m aware.

    Yes CC does work out cheaper in the long run but there also hidden costs, and downtime is one of them.

    That’s my 0.02 cents for the day

    Sorry if you didn’t like my comment, I tried to be nice about it :)

    • Hey Daniel, good to see you again and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      People do still have a choice actually… Adobe continues to sell CS6 direct – so for anyone who prefers the old model with static software, they can still get it today.

      In fact we’ve written not one but two posts (here and here) on comparing the two options that you have (CC vs. CS6), and making the best choice for you.

      As an observer, what’s really impressive is that the growth of Creative Cloud has continued unabated and even accelerated regardless… Nobody is forcing anybody, yet customers are clearly choosing to adopt CC over any alterna­tives. It doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

      Finally, the 24-hour cloud outage in May was regrettable but there was only a small minority of people who couldn’t use the Adobe CC tools installed on their computer desktops during that time… It’s a common myth to believe that you need to be constantly connected to the Internet or any cloud service in order to run Photoshop etc.

      But obviously keeping failsafe cloud services is still a relatively new endeavor for the company and they’re going to grow and improve on it… Here’s what the CEO had to say during that conference call last week:

      Derrick Wood – Susquehanna International:
      You guys had the outage on Creative Cloud last month; we have seen this with many cloud companies obviously in the past, but just curious what the reaction has been? And it certainly doesn’t seem like you have seen any impact in terms of your growth, but do you think there has been any impact at all?

      Shantanu Narayen – President and Chief Executive Officer:
      Well, with all cloud-based services as you mentioned, Derrick, the new reality is that we have to be even more vigilant about making sure that we have 100% uptime. The outage that occurred in Q2 should really never have happened. There was a sequence of things. And we have learned from it as well as introduced additional safeguards and redundancies as a preventive measure. I think our outreach to our customers has helped address any issues and you are right we did not see any real impact from that outage.

  4. The Creative Cloud is the worst thing that ever happened to Adobe’s loyal customers. Adobe however has no problem however walking over all of our corpses, including those of us who lost thousands of dollars in software we paid for.

  5. @ProDesignTools

    Yes REALLY! I purchased the CS6 master collection which was $2,600.00 and change full pop January of last year because there was no discount or upgrade path from having just CS5 PhotoShop and InDesign. At the time I was happy as can be with my purchase, over the next few months I heard something about the Creative Cloud but really take notice of it until around Thanksgiving when I wanted to buy Lightroom and I noticed an upgrade to the Creative Cloud [Click here] button on my Adobe account.

    I then discover after a little research to my horror I can’t upgrade the Master Collection at all! For new users having every Adobe product for $50.00 a month probably sounds like a good deal. Not for me, I had just spent $2,600 on it less then 9 months earlier. So for $600 a year everyone can purchase the same exact version of software that I [the big sucker] had paid $2,600 for.

    What does fricken “we don’t care” Adobe offer me as a consolation for my loss? They offer me a paltry 3 months of Creative Cloud which I had zero need for because i already owned all the software OR compensate me with a free $79.00 copy of Lightroom! Even if Adobe had offered me (which they didn’t) a free year which comes to $600 I would still have still be screwed for paying $2,000 dollars more than everyone else!

    My pride in ownership I paid for GONE! My resale value of my software GONE! Thousands of dollars I spent (new users did not have to) GONE! Mind you I’m just an individual, companies who spent tens of thousands or more around the same time I did were screwed even worse than I was. Lastly I have no interest in renting my software like it’s cable TV; hey join up today for a nominal fee, wait until they have their base and then raise the rental rates on everyone, then you’ll hear more crying.

    • Well sorry to say, but your story doesn’t add up. The Creative Cloud was first announced almost 3 years ago now, and has been available and sold by Adobe for over 2 years… So when you made the decision to purchase CS6 Master Collection last year for $2,600, you could have just as easily decided to get the same product (CS6 and much more, with ongoing upgrades included) via the Creative Cloud instead – and paid just $50 a month, just like all the people who you say are getting a good deal now.

      In fact, we first published this guide in 2012:

      Compare Your Options: Creative Cloud (CC) vs. Creative Suite (CS6)

      But then there’s more… At the bottom of your comment, you state that you wouldn’t want to “rent” your software anyway. Huh? So why are you complaining? You decided to purchase what you wanted, Adobe delivered exactly what you purchased, and you say you were as happy as can be – while stating conflicting things about the CC alternative, something that a “big sucker” like you actually wouldn’t want despite your assertions that the millions of customers signing up for it are getting a much better deal than you!

      Meanwhile, there are still some people buying CS6 direct from Adobe for the same price you paid, even today.

      So all together, it seems you just want an excuse to vent – but here is not the place… If you have any constructive feedback for Adobe you can contact them directly here.

  6. You’re making assumptions that I pay attention to all of Adobe’s advertisements, I don’t, I didn’t notice the Creative Cloud until I was no longer able to purchase it. My primary work is in systems security not graphic arts, so my story does add up when you consider that. When I purchased CS6 January 2013 (as I said January of last year), upgrades were still possible, I discovered Adobe forced people into the cloud in May of 2013, and I didn’t notice until Thanksgiving weekend in November of 2013.

    That means I paid $2600 for a product that was costing everyone else $600 a year for the same version I had, that alone is an unscrupulous business practice, I got screwed out of $2,000 plain and simple. Adobe recognized this very point as they attempted to compensate me for my inconvenience albeit lamely. I’m not sure why you are perplexed at my complaint of not wanting to rent my software. We’re being forced into a rental model or go to a competitor. Why would my complaint be hard to understand?

    As far as the cloud’s success, Adobe has forced people to rent their software, as to their happiness about that, plenty are not. I did contact Adobe as I said they offered me some sorry consolation prizes. If you want to swoon over the Creative Cloud that’s your prerogative, just realize not everyone is thrilled with Adobe’s move or the execution of it.

    • Well, all of that information about Creative Cloud was very evident on Adobe’s website, in their online store, and in all of their communications at the time… So if you say you didn’t know or didn’t look into it, then it would seem you didn’t make a very informed purchase for spending that kind of money.

      But again, you claim it was unfair you got “screwed” out of $2,000 for the product you chose that you’ll get years of use out of, while nevertheless stating that you have no interest in the alternative… Meaning, it doesn’t really matter in the end anyway.

      So if you don’t want CC, then quite simply it’s of no importance as to when you did or didn’t find out about it… There is nothing further to say.

  7. I dislike CC intently, its like one of those god awful gym memberships where you either have to go because you realise you are paying for something and so you have to use it or you pay and don’t use it hardly at all, month in month out you pay until finally you strap on a pair and cancel.

    The cost model for the stand alone software were clearly inflated over the last few years so that when CC appeared everyone thought Yay! free stuff and savings!!! I just can’t get on board with ‘renting’ my software, it may be old school but I like what I like and I want my stuff on my computer and I don’t want some naff subscription bleeding money from my account every month.

    It could have been so cool CC for those that wanted it and off they go to sign up and for the rest purchase your own software at the genuine prices not the inflated made up ones, everyone is happy.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Terry – but in three years since the Creative Cloud first came out, you’re the first person we’ve ever heard say those things – so you don’t have much company… The cost model for the standalone/perpetual software licenses has been quite stable over the years.

      So you’re way off base about Adobe having “inflated prices” for Creative Suite before CC appeared… We’ve followed Adobe pricing very closely for almost 9 years, and some products went up slightly (CS Master Collection from $2,499 to $2,599) while others went down (Lightroom from $299 to $149) – but most were just stable (Photoshop CS for $699, Illustrator CS for $599, InDesign CS for $699, etc). And those continue to be the exact same prices available today, direct from Adobe!

      And with CC, they are dropping their prices internationally (in other currencies) as well.

  8. @ProDesignTools You say “but in three years since the Creative Cloud first came out, you’re the first person we’ve ever heard say those things – so you don’t have much company.” No, you have it before on a number of posts above including mine, and I have seen many such posts in the Adobe forums. Clearly you are fan boy of Adobe, that’s all good, but don’t everyone else to run up and embrace Adobe like you do. 3 Years is about my breakeven point for what I lost when Adobe decided to yank the perpetual licensing on CS6 MC while everyone else instantly got a price break I did not (also I do not want to rent my software).

    The only people pushing the cloud are companies because it saves them money, pure and simple. Right now Adobe’s pricing remains low because they are still trying to get more subscribers, but at some point when they have the base they want that price will go up. I’m not anti-cloud; as a cybersecurity professional I am however dismayed at how many people embrace it with the same sophistication as a love struck Justin Bieber fan. Unfortunately for all Adobe’s great product functionality, that also happens make Adobe top the list as the worst security hole of the century, Acrobat, PDF files, Flash, Shockwave, and Air all are at the top of the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) list every week.

    All Adobe had to do to keep its old customer base happy was do Microsoft did, offer perpetual licensing as well as its cloud solution. Look at how Steam does its gaming software, it’s cloud based, you still buy the software, and if you need to rebuild your machine you can pull down all your fully purchased software again without charge. The problem that still angers so many of Adobe’s old school base is not everyone wants to rent their fricken software and be forced to renew annually or monthly or whatever. Not everyone wants to store their information in the cloud for a multitude of good reasons. Adobe could easily fix this with minor changes to its offerings.

    • There are some serious misconceptions here. First off, CC is not truly “cloud-based” in that you do not have to store any files or data online if you don’t want to. Use of the online storage is completely optional. The Creative Cloud storage facility is based on Amazon AWS and there have been no security issues with it. So the software you mentioned has nothing to do with the Cloud in particular.

      What’s more, all the major CC tools are desktop applications – not web apps – they run locally on your computer and not over the network. Recently Adobe has added some integrated online functionality to these tools, but again it is optional. You can easily disconnect from the Internet for months and run the programs offline, as you have in the past.

      On the pricing. Adobe still sells CS6 Master Collection for the same price, $2,599. The breakeven point with the complete CC membership is closer to 5 years, not 3. But of course through all that time you are getting all the ongoing product upgrades and additional tools & services included at no extra cost, whereas CS6 remains static software and will eventually be unsupported and obsolete.

      Further, on the notion that Adobe is raising subscription prices – that too is a myth. As adoption has grown, prices have gone down, not up! Suggest you read the following for more details on all these aspects:

      The 10 Most Common Myths About Adobe’s Creative Cloud (CC)

      Finally, Terry made a comparison to gym memberships, which is the first we’ve ever heard because it is inaccurate. The big issue with a gym membership is that you have to get up and go there, and people end up skipping it because of the hassle of making the trip and fitting it in. Creative Cloud is more like your cellphone or Internet service in that it’s always immediately with you wherever you are, and all it takes is turning your computer or device on to use it.

      You can also easily choose to purchase CC on a month-to-month basis instead and cancel at any time, with no annual commitment. That said, even with such easily-accessible tools & services, you don’t get them if you don’t intend to use them!

  9. ProDesign I said “3 Years is about my breakeven point”; Adobe recognizing they hosed me insufficiently comped me with a $109.00 Copy of Lightroom, but yes I still a little time before I’m at the breakeven point. CC is truly cloud based; having the choice to store files or not has bearing on that fact. Your Adobe account information is stored on the cloud and Adobe did get hacked in 2013 and all of our account passwords were reset as a result. You say “Creative Cloud is more like your cellphone or Internet service” which is how I understand it too, again I and many people have no interest in paying for software as a service.

    I’m fully aware Adobe uses AWS as does the company I work at, we use it for development and testing only though. Despite all the security accolades and features AWS boasts I’m afraid you are wrong about AWS not having security issues. AWS was left vulnerable like 80% of the internet was to the OpenSSL vulnerability; a driver flaw which allowed an attacker to see (what should have been encrypted) communications in clear text. What good is two-factor authentication if your password is viewable in clear text? AWS like many on the Internet was recently also vulnerable to another huge vulnerability called POODLE which affected Oracle systems.

    This is problem with the cloud; it’s on the Internet and AWS despite having a long list of good really expensive security features; it is vulnerable to security flaws all the time. JPM Chase the largest bank in North America who spends over $250,000,000 a year on security alone found out big does not = secure; they still got hacked. Understand AWS and other CSP’s use unified bandwidth and shared physical systems. Adobe shares bandwidth and is hosted on the same physical systems as other clients. Adobe could be secure but it’s sharing the same connection and systems with less secure sites.

    Attacking one customer is potentially an attack on all customers. Companies are still responsible for their own security, Amazon does not control that. Last year hackers successfully used AWS EC2 (Amazon’s hosted customers got hacked) as a launch point for DDoS bots (Mayday variants), so bad was the DDoS traffic flow many of Amazon’s customers had to have their sites moved to an unaffected AWS system. Sony last year also used AWS when they got hacked, AWS denies it, but it appears Sony used AWS a launch pad for a counter attack against the hack group “Guardians of Peace” from AWS data centers based in Tokyo and Singapore. AWS has had security issues directly and indirectly by proxy of its customers. Adobe …well they have a really long list of security problems.

    • But again, there have been no (none, zero) problems to date with Creative Cloud itself or with Adobe’s online cloud storage. If you’re worried or concerned to that level, well then you should do nothing on the Internet – and that includes your bank, your credit cards, your cable and phone bills, your mortgage and other loans, your utility bills, your tax filings and payments, and on and on. They’re all there online now.

      And if you define “keeping account information stored online” as being “cloud-based,” then all of those things are cloud-based… Heck, even CS6 is cloud-based, for that matter! (if that’s truly your definition, because using CS6 requires an online login)

      Bottom line, agreed that there is no way to prove anything is 100% secure and 100% hack-proof – but that goes for everybody and everything in the current world with an online presence, not just Adobe. So unless you’re going to go crawl under a rock somewhere and not join the modern age, well it’s just part of life now.

  10. I’m still trying to find a legit way to get this software. Apparently, since I live in Curacao, I’m not allowed to get my hands on any damn creative cloud software. I have tried with my credit card and I am greeted with “Card not issued in the US” error. I tried with paypal, and it says my country is not right or something idiotic like that.

    It’s software. Why the hell can I not buy it because I’m in xyz country? It’s going to download the same.

    Am I literally forced to pirate this software, despite willing to and having the money to purchase it? This is some BS.

    Has anyone who lives in a country that adobe apparently has no idea they exist been able to buy a subscription?

    • Hi DF, sorry for your frustration. It appears that Adobe is not yet offering Creative Cloud for Individuals in the country where you live… The list of where CC can be purchased is now 94 countries and always growing larger.

      However, if you happen to have a billing address and form of payment (including PayPal) that is based in any one of those other countries where Adobe offers their products online, then you should still be able to purchase CC direct – even if your home address is elsewhere…

      [Note that your Adobe ID needs to be associated with the same country as your credit card or billing address, so if it isn’t then you may have to create a new Adobe ID.]

      But even if that doesn’t work, then you should still be able to buy Creative Cloud for Teams from a reseller in your country.

      Finally, while not everyone has full access yet, Adobe tells us they continue to work to expand the availability on an ongoing basis – so look for still more countries to be added going forward (and don’t forget that Creative Suite was never sold everywhere either).

      But whatever you do, avoid any illegitimate version at all costs.

  11. First off let me start by saying that “ProDesign” is an excellent Pro-Adobe ‘spin’ commentator that is worthy of campaign manager credentials.

    Now to the meat…

    Referencing an article from CNET titled Polarized Opinions about Adobe Creative Cloud it mentions that Adobe’s active base is 12.8 million. The article mentioned a CC subscription rate of approximately 3 million.

    So, what I’m curious about is how many of the 3 million, or as you suggest 5 million, are new Adobe customers that are subscribing to the photography plan of $9.99/mo? From that standpoint I see it as being attractive offer to the photog that didn’t have Adobe Photoshop and can now have access to it and a low entry price. You will gain ground in that market segment along with Suite and Master Suite users that will eventually acquiesce and eventually downgrade from Suite to just Photography plan at $9.99/mo.

    So what about Adobe’s 12.8 million active base? How many previous Master Suite customers (or other Adobe Suite variation) have converted over to the FULL Creative Cloud at $49.99/mo? How many of the 5 million CC customers are previous Adobe Suite customers and are now Full Creative Cloud @ $49.99/mo customers? What percentage of the 5 million are just Photography plan $9.99/mo customers? How many downgraded to $9.99 when their $29.99 went to $49.99?

    I had been a Master Suite customer. If I do anything with Adobe, I may do the $9.99 photography plan until a competitor catches up to Photoshop. As an individual/hobbyist photographer, $49.99/mo is way out of my league.

    Since Adobe most likely is set in their ways and the subscription model isn’t going away, they may want to look at offering an individual subscription at $29/mo that is permanent and not an introductory offer. You may get a good portion of the holdouts to convert at that price. Say you get 1 million holdouts to sign up (not counting the new sign ups at that price), that benefits both the user and Adobe’s bottom line. $29.99 is a bigger number than $9.99, right?

    Just a thought…

    • Hello Louie, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Let’s stick to the facts:

      Looking up the CNET article you mentioned, it’s dated – almost a year old. The CC subscriber base has accelerated and grown considerably since then, and at record rates. You can see this in the chart given above, at the top of this article.

      As far as the breakout of subscribers purchasing the Complete Creative Cloud vs. single apps such as Illustrator or the Photoshop Photography plan, Adobe recently stated that the percentage of customers of taking the entire CC package is actually higher than it was with the old CS offering.

      In other words, in terms of product mix, more people are choosing the whole thing now than purchased suites in the old days. So, there’s no story there.

      Likewise, Adobe has been clear that the renewal rate for all CC plans after the first year of membership (including after any introductory pricing has expired) has been consistently better than 80%. For more details, see:

      CC Renewals Beating Expectations and Exceed 80%, Adobe Reveals

      The CNET piece reaffirms this: “And a notable 89 percent said that after their first year, they renewed or planned to renew their subscription.”

      So again, there’s no story there either.

      Finally, on the idea of reducing the pricing. Adobe has continued to lower their regular subscription pricing over the years; the regular rates have never gone up. They’ve also offered promotions including the deal for existing CS owners to upgrade at $29.99/mo. (recently finished), as well as the ongoing education discounts of up to 70% off.

      We haven’t heard about anything else coming down the pike, but we’re not holding our breaths either because as noted above, demand is clearly quite strong and growing at current price levels.

  12. So pre CC had over 12 million. CC now has less than half the original user base over three years later and millions spent in pushing it onto the industry to adopt and get excited about it. I realize a self-published article like this will not be honestly critical but that just doesn’t add up to a glowing review from the design community.

    Renting software hasn’t improved the core features and ease of the product. Not for Adobe Illustrator it hasn’t. I’m on the beta team and there are decade old bugs and poor functionality that Adobe engineers have known about longer than CC has been around and still don’t bother to fix them. Why? Because they have this idea of adding more feature bloat will woo the hold outs over to CC.

    Instead your engineers are retooling 20 year old functionality (that is creative muscle memory for millions) that is not broken and you wonder why the adoption rate is slow.

    This June will make it four years and you’ll still be no where close to the original user base. If this was an iOS adoption rate it would be a failure. But someone you’re spinning it as a gold star of achievement.

    If Adobe wanted to win over a massive amount of users they’d once for fix the known bugs, make the apps rock solid stable. And if you adding a feature that logged app crashes to our CC account than discounted us $1 for each time an app crashed our of the monthly pound of flesh you take that would be the ultimate form of user base fairness.

    But I must say, maybe I could adopt a subscription model for my design services. No one really owns the art, they are just renting it. I doubt my client base would like that idea, so it’s no surprise that over half of yours doesn’t like CC. Actually many agencies I design for are still not using the latest.

    Hell I’m on the beta team and Adobe is too cheap to comp me and others a CC subscription. So essentially Adobe develops app on spec and expects pro designers to give feedback without compensation but demands everyone to pay monthly to use the software.

    Maybe in four more years you’ll almost be back to your old user base levels?

    • No offense, but your comment is outlandish and way off base. By virtually any measure, Creative Cloud has been a remarkable success – even exceeding Adobe’s own expectations.

      Never before has the company had 30 million customers all using the exact same release of their creative products – not even with any version of Creative Suite (ever). And all CC customers receive ongoing upgrades moving forward, so this version unity will continue – and is extremely powerful.

      By contrast, those 12 million legacy CS customers had been built up over 10 years, and were fragmented across many different versions.

      At the current rate of growth and acceleration (833K customers in the last quarter alone, and this size has been increasing almost every quarter), CC membership would be forecast to eclipse the previous 12M user base entirely in just two more years from now. That is even more powerful – with again, everyone running the latest release.

      In terms of market acceptance and customer adoption, CC has been similarly successful. There have now been three annual releases of CC since CS6, and all were sold side-by-side against CS6 on Adobe’s website. Customers over­whelmingly (by large margins) chose CC over CS6.

      As for new features and tool improvements, there have been thousands. We use CC 2015 every day here and would never want to have to go back or live without all the great capabilities that have been added since CS6 in many of the major applications.

      Finally, because of the low cost of entry, CC has been able to introduce significant numbers of new customers to Adobe, as well as reduce piracy. Adobe CFO Mark Garrett recently said this at the 2015 Global Technology Conference:

      The cloud for Creative Cloud and Document Cloud helps quite a bit against piracy. My analogy is kids who used to download music from say Napster stopped doing it when Apple and iTunes came out and they could buy it in a legitimate and affordable way. So now people who don’t want software downloaded off the web that may have viruses in it, that might be buggy, that isn’t up to date and isn’t current, that doesn’t leverage the ability to sync and store and share or use mobile – we’re seeing that really switch over and people being legit and subscribing to the service. And it’s a much lower price point now, because you’re subscribing as opposed to of laying out thousands of dollars upfront.

      All in all, looking honestly at the actual facts and figures, CC has been a huge success – much bigger than some wanted to believe – and is poised to grow still larger as Adobe continues to expand the countries it is offered and available in.

    • PS – Trying to compare Apple to Adobe is ridiculous. Adobe sells software while Apple sells hardware. CS/CC are paid products, whereas iOS is free to have and free to upgrade. It’s (literally) apples… and oranges. The true measure of market success for Creative Cloud is revenues.

      For their two flagship product lines, the Master Collection suite and Photoshop Extended, Adobe traded receiving $2600 and $700 upfront with CS for $50/month and $10/month with CC. Those are huge downtrades in unit price. Yet Adobe is reporting record total sales now, because of the breadth of adoption. Their stock price recently hit an all-time high as well, reflecting this.

  13. @ProDesignTools you said to previous posts “Lets stay with facts.” You seem to exclude this fact about CC vulnerability that was clearly reported in the mainstream media.

    So CC isn’t immune to vulnerability. Anyone who keeps their working files on CC only is a moron.

    But you are an Adobe evangelist, so it’s no surprise you can see no negative at all in the CC discussion. You’ve already been drinking Adobe Koolaid so why would you be honestly critical. You can’t.

    • Interesting that you didn’t try to justify anything that you claimed earlier, just tried to throw out something else… Yes, the Adobe cloud had one single outage almost two years ago, but it was nothing security-related. While that was unfortunate at the time, it generally only affected online services, and not the ability to run the core desktop tools like Photoshop CC.

      But in case you hadn’t noticed, everything in the technology world has possible vulnerabilities – and yet we use them still, all the time. Major websites such as Google Drive, Amazon, Dropbox, and Facebook have all had significant outages in the past year, but not Creative Cloud (not before nor since spring 2014).

      Bottom line, it is impossible for any software or hardware to be 100% perfect – so we absolutely agree that anyone using any online storage system of any kind (including Creative Cloud, Dropbox, Box, Google Docs, etc.) should keep an offline copy of their files available on their local hard disk. That is just good practice and common sense, and what the vast majority of people already do.

      But it doesn’t change any of the overall CC customer adoption or market-based facts.

  14. “No one says you have to get CC if you don’t want to… “

    RIGHT…… it sounds you haven’t been locked out of your CS6 apps by Creative Cloud demanding you sign in to use your non-Creative Cloud apps. This happens all too frequently when creative cloud is installed but not being used. I have it installed to easily get the updates but rarely sign into it, except when locked out of my CS6 apps. They are slowly forcing people away from the CS6 apps by constantly requiring you to be signed in to CC if you choose to have the CC app installed.

    • Mark, you may not be aware, but CS6 requires you to sign in to use it as well – read this post back from when CS6 was released in 2012.

      What’s more, Adobe CC got rid of serial numbers altogether and now ties your licenses to your Adobe ID account login instead. This is a much more flexible way to activate your software than the old way – see:

      How Many Systems Can You Use Adobe Products (CC, CS6) On?

      This approach also allows you to more easily move the CC products between two computers.

      So the issue you’re grumbling about is just that you need to sign in every once in a while? We wouldn’t really consider that a big problem, as periodic re-login (usually for security or reauthentication purposes) is pretty much standard and required everywhere these days.

  15. FWIW, over the past 15+ years would be pushed to newer versions of CS by our customers. Adobe would cleverly (fiendishly?) prevent older versions from opening files created in new versions. We’d upgrade every year or two.

    It’s now been 3+ years, and we are still not seeing significant pressure from our customers. We sometimes receive CC files, and we just politely ask the customers to save it down to CS6. Most seem pretty accustomed to this request, and are not annoyed (which is a far cry from the past, when they would really complain about having to save down.)

    This suggests to me that there is still a sizable base that has not moved to this subscription-for-life model. The animosity towards Adobe for this scheme remains palpable.

    • Mike, it’s not clever or fiendish, nor has it ever been – it’s technical, and evolutionary. The file formats progress as the application featuresets do… See:

      Are Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) Files Backwards Compatible w/ CS6?

      About half of the CS installed base has already upgraded to CC so far, over the past four years. As indicated in the data and article above, at the current continually-accelerating rate of adoption, the CC user community should exceed the largest size that Creative Suite ever attained (that’s all CS versions collectively over a decade) within a couple more years.

  16. Let’s face it. If the Cloud was such a resounding success, then this comment thread would not still exist over two and a half years after it was released. We’d all be happy designers, cosy in our Adobe world, creating lovely stuff and feeling all loved up.

    I myself used to buy the Production Premium Creative Suite, and upgraded every other version. Cloud makes no sense for me from a ‘saving money’ angle, I will end up paying more. At the moment I still use 5.5 – I don’t *want* the other applications Cloud offers me, they are superfluous – After Effects, Premiere, Photoshop and Illustrator – that’s all I need. Yes I could justify the cost of going Cloud-based if I wanted to, despite the ridiculous exchange rate from the US dollar price to the UK pound price (seriously – we pay $67 per month compared to the US $50 – and don’t give me that rubbish about ‘localisation costs’ – we speak the same language). Here are three main reasons I won’t move to the Cloud.

    1) I will end up paying more for the same product that I used to.
    2) Subscription does *not* require the monopolistic company to innovate to keep customers. Fear of non-conformity does that.
    3) Why would I want to give my money to a company that comes across as arrogant – and that is exactly what this is – corporate arrogance.

    There is nothing in this Cloud for me that is positive. They can spin all they want – umpteen extra applications as part of the price, sharing files so much easier, innovations straight to your door, etc.

    Well, I don’t *want* the extra applications – they will sit unused. In the last few years since Creative Cloud happened I have not *once* been asked to share files via Adobe’s cloud services, and I work freelance with some big agencies for big names. And who the hell wants innovation and updates when a project you’re working on might break due to some new bug finding its way in? At least with an installed application that you control, you know most limitations and bugs, and the relevant workarounds.

    Nope – to me the benefits are fluff to hide the main reason CC exists – it’s a nice revenue model if you can make it work. I just hope another outfit realises that there an awful lot of users, like me, still sitting on that fence, waiting to see if we can jump before we’re pushed.

    • Hey Duncan, you’re not the first to misunderstand about international pricing, and you won’t be the last. It’s a very common oversight to not take the local taxes into account – but when you compare apples-to-apples (including the taxes), the product prices are much closer.

      – US: Before taxes $49.99, then add sales taxes of 5-9% depending on the state… US prices are always quoted before taxes.

      – Europe/UK: Before taxes €49.99/£38.11, add VAT up of 19-27% depending on the country… European prices are always quoted after taxes.

      So the net to Adobe is not so different as it appears at first glance, because of the different conventions in how prices are quoted.

      The remaining price differences between various geographies in different parts of the world are explained here.

      As for the rest of what you wrote, well, 30 million customers (and growing fast) disagree. The model changed. The pricing changed. For many it will be less expensive than before, and for others it will be more expensive. That’s bound to happen with such a big model change. But Adobe continues to lower their subscription pricing over time, so that is good.

      The pricing is so low in fact for the $9.99 Photoshop + Lightroom plan, that it’s pretty much a no-brainer for a lot of users (compared to the old model where that software cost over $1,100 upfront).

      You also seem to be under another misconception about Creative Cloud updates. YOU control the pace of updates, not Adobe. The upgrades are included in your plan and released to you as soon as they are available, but you decide when you want to install them on your computers, whenever is desired or convenient for you. You can choose today, or you can choose next year. So nothing is lost there; only gained.

      We’ve also heard time and again about folks taking advantage of all the applications included in the Complete Creative Cloud to learn something they wouldn’t have otherwise, and expand their knowledge base, their professional skills and expertise, and improve their CV/resumé.

      Bottom line, you are quite free to stay in 2011. By all means mutter darkly about how you personally don’t like the transformation but that really isn’t going to change anything. The train is leaving 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, the CC uptake figures and continued adoption acceleration are pointing unambiguously to the future, and the company is clearly not looking back. So why shoot the messenger?

  17. Ah yes, the tax thing does indeed bring the UK cost down. That is a good point.

    Not interested in the Photoshop + Lightroom plan. However, one thing I did hope for would be that Adobe would offer the option to pick and mix their applications. Really, I don’t care how many web design applications are thrown at me, I really don’t want them – I am simply not interested – it’s not part of my remit, and with the world of 3D growing as fast as it is, it never will be.

    Regarding the *when* to upgrade; when a client comes back a year after a project has completed, is there any guarantee that the latest update will still work with that project? It’s not unheard of, in fact with my current 3D software I keep at least the last three major releases installed, for just such an instance. Plugins go out of date, features are removed, updated, upgraded, down-graded, from version to version. But I can still keep that client happy by opening the old projects, re-hashing if I need to to get it into the new version, or work with the old version if that breaks anything. Can I do that with Creative Cloud installs? I know I can keep old pre-CC versions installed, but what about old CC versions?

    Oh please don’t get me wrong – I’m not staying in 2011 – I only keep using 2011 Adobe software. In fact it’s the only software I *haven’t* upgraded for a while, precisely because of the change they foisted upon us as customers. I’m not sitting here wringing my hands in frustration, I sleep well at night. In fact it’s quite fun seeing what’s going to happen. Sometimes a move like this is great, it really stirs up the pool, muddies the water. I’m waiting for the mud to settle in the area of software Adobe currently provides me with, to see if the massive pike that is Adobe has unwittingly allowed some smaller minnow to grow just big enough to be interesting, and to seem to care enough about new business by way of customer rather than shareholder :)

    ” it’s a personal choice whether to remain competitive as a provider of creative services or not”

    Adobe does not need to be a part of that choice, Adobe and my brain/hands are not mutually exclusive :)

    Thank you for your reply.

    • Duncan:

      … But I can still keep that client happy by opening the old projects, re-hashing if I need to to get it into the new version, or work with the old version if that breaks anything. Can I do that with Creative Cloud installs? I know I can keep old pre-CC versions installed, but what about old CC versions?

      Yes, definitely. You can have/keep multiple major releases of the CC or CS software running on your computer at the same time – and in fact you can even access or restore any prior version of the tools at any time. For more details, see:

      Creative Cloud Version Control: How to Access Any CC Release

      As for moving forward, you mentioned you used the Adobe video tools. There have been enormous strides there over the past five years that for most professionals, it doesn’t make sense to use five-year-old software, when the latest products do so much more – and better/faster. Time is money, after all.

  18. ProDesignTools:

    Bottom line, you are quite free to stay in 2011. By all means mutter darkly about how you personally don’t like the transformation but that really isn’t going to change anything. The train is leaving 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, the CC uptake figures and continued adoption acceleration are pointing unambiguously to the future, and the company is clearly not looking back. So why shoot the messenger?

    Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!

    Unless, of course, you investigate GIMP and Inkscape! :-)

    Some of those 8 million are no doubt new subscribers. I wouldn’t assume that they are all converts. But to your point there is no doubt many have moved, and those of us hoping that Adobe will reconsider are living in a fantasy world. Given Adobe’s dominance we’ll no doubt be forced at some point to succumb to the dark side. But that doesn’t mean we have to like it! :-)

    While it might feel like some are “shooting the messenger”, I think the reality is that many of us are still sore about the “take it or leave it” approach from Adobe. So many became dependent on Adobe, and they literally became a monopoly, thereby allowing them to do almost anything they want with few consequences (given the dearth of serious competitors). Don’t kid yourself that they altruistically did this to benefit customers; this was clearly in their best interest. If they were really interested in doing this to gain a competitive advantage, or “help” customers, then they would’ve offered it as an option.

    They didn’t NEED to make this a subscription-for-life model. Other powerhouses have offered similar options in a far less offensive way. Microsoft does this with Office 365; if you think it will benefit you to subscribe… then do so. Otherwise you are free to buy the license.

    So, when us rebels find some pro-CC blog, we tend to post as a way to vent. Seriously… not trying to shoot the messenger! Cheers!

  19. It’s funny. I am looking for work and way more job ads want employees who know CS6 over the number that want knowledge of CC. Adobe is probably counting me as a CC member because I downloaded a trial version of Muse CC. Even if I don’t buy… scratch that… RENT Muse, I will still be considered a CC member because I have an account with them. Adobe is trying to force me to upgrade all of my CS6 programs to CC when I try to update my CS6 software, ever since I downloaded the Muse trial. Shady stuff like that tells me that it will continue to happen, even if I don’t rent Muse. Not to mention that a one-program CC user counts as a member. If I rent Muse for one month to do a project and then cancel after the project is done, they won’t remove me from their CC database. I will still be counted. it’s just Adobe trying to manipulate their stock and trick investors.

    • Well, the alternative used to be having to pay many hundreds or even thousands of dollars upfront for the software, just to get in the door… In studies, Adobe found that the new model was far more affordable for many people, and the usage of their products has expanded greatly, as you can see from the numbers above.

      See here for more on the old model vs. the new model:

      Creative Cloud (CC) vs. Creative Suite (CS6): The Pros & Cons

      There are some users who may wish it, but it seems clear that Adobe is not going back to the old model. Rather, the old Creative Suite software is unsupported and will continue to grow obsolete and not run properly on modern operating systems.

      The model changed. The pricing changed. For many it will be less expensive than before, and for others it may be more expensive. That’s bound to happen with such a big model change. How it works out depends on tool needs, usage patterns, upgrade frequency, and other factors. But Adobe continues to lower their subscription pricing over time, so that is good.

      The pricing is so low in fact for the $9.99 Photoshop + Lightroom plan, that it’s pretty much a no-brainer for a lot of users (compared to the old model where that software cost over $1,100 upfront).

      It’s clear that Creative Cloud is attracting and providing many new users with Adobe’s leading tools who could never have afforded it before.

      The bottom line is that Creative Cloud has been growing fast with accelerating adoption, and has been an even greater success than the company anticipated… So, you probably shouldn’t expect the story to change from here on out.

  20. @ProDesignTools
    Adobe continues to sell CS6 direct? That didn’t last very long did it? Now they don’t even update CS6, as of 6 months ago. Two of my CS6 programs are glitching and nothing will be done. In fact, it still happens to the CC version of one of the programs, from what I have read. Aobe doesn’t care about the customer one bit.

    • CS6 general availability lasted over three years, which is much longer than they ever sold any previous creative release.

      Adobe ceased selling CS6 on their website last year. The reason is because it’s nearly 4 years old now (from spring 2012) and increasingly unsupported; they stopped releasing updates for it last summer as the newer CC rapidly grew and took over. With the CS6 software EOL and end of support, there are no updates, no bug fixes, and no guarantees it will run on future operating systems. Trying to retrofit an old and dated release onto newer platforms is something most software companies do not do. So at this point we’ve stopped recommending it as a good or viable option going forward.

    • No one said that nobody complained. We just said that with the ongoing success of CC, it seems rather pointless to do so.

      That decision was made long ago by Adobe (November 2011 to be exact), and they’re not looking back. But if you want to stay stuck in the past about it, then that’s your prerogative. We prefer to move on, advance with the technology, and keep our skill sets and résumés current.

      Good luck to you.

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