Technology

Adobe Ditches Shrink-Wrap, Takes Photoshop to the Cloud

By / May 7, 2013 (Adobe)

In a move that could prove a shot across the bow for productivity software, Adobe has announced it would stake its fortunes on its Creative Cloud platform, leaving its decade-old Creative Suite behind.

If your association does its design in-house, you may want to keep an eye on what’s up Adobe’s sleeve.

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.

On Monday, the company, best known for its widely used design apps, announced it was giving up its shrink-wrapped suites and taking its platform into a cloud-only app. While Adobe had already launched its Creative Cloud platform, now it’s going all-in—a move that helps a lingering piracy problem Adobe has struggled to deal with over the years.

“We launched Creative Cloud a year ago, and it has been a runaway success,” Adobe’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Digital Media David Wadhwani said in a statement on the change. “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.”

Some cost considerations for tech staffs who are wondering if upgrading is right for them:

The advantages: For IT departments, the platform could prove effective at keeping users up to date without having to worry about incompatibilities. In prior versions of InDesign, for example, the software did not work the same between versions, leading to incompatibilities between older and newer versions of the same app. And due to the high cost of the platform, working with outside sources sometimes means that not everyone is using the same version of the software—an issue mitigated by  adoption of an always-up-to-date cloud service. On top of this, Creative Cloud has Dropbox-style storage capabilities, as well as a number of apps available as part of the package that aren’t available with the traditional shrink-wrapped package—including TypeKit, a web typography service, and Behance, a portfolio service for creative users.

The disadvantages: For many associations, the price may be a significant limiting factor. Enterprises upgrading from Adobe CS3 or later, for example, will end up paying $480 for the first year (or $39.99 per month) for each seat. But after that, the price jumps to $840 per year (or $69.99 per month) for a single seat. And people buying a personal copy of the software will be on the hook for $49.99 in monthly charges, or $600 a year. (In comparison, the current shrink-wrapped packages for the latest version of Adobe’s Creative Suite vary widely in price—from $1,299 for a package focused on print design to $2,599 for the kitchen-sink-style Master Collection—though those  upgrading from prior versions would pay less.) With Adobe’s products being so important to the production of magazines and websites, for instance, your association could be locking itself into significant long-term costs by upgrading several users to the service.

Adobe isn’t the only company doing this. Microsoft recently launched a cloud version of its Office app, though Adobe is the largest so far to drop the box entirely.

With the rise of social media, software as a service (SaaS) platforms have increasingly become important business tools, with apps such as HootSuite and Salesforce proving successful with businesses. But as legacy apps move in a similar direction, is your association likely to follow? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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