Adobe’s New Vision: Away with The Box and Into the Cloud

[Cross-Posted from Beneath the Brand.]

As a sometime graphic designer, I’ve been a loyal user of Adobe products for many years. I’ve followed the company through their branding and packaging changes, from their unveiling of the Creative Suite in 2003 to the acquisition of Macromedia Flash in 2005, to the launching of the Creative Cloud subscription model last year. Now, it seems Adobe has decided to change yet again: they are tossing out the traditional retail box, and are switching to exclusively selling Creative Cloud subscriptions.

The decision to change to a completely subscription-based pricing model is a bold one, to be sure. Many customers enjoyed the Creative Suite and won’t be happy with completely digital software and subscription-based pricing. Adobe has let these customers know that Creative Suite 6 is still available for purchase, albeit without future updates, but they also emphasize that there will never be a Creative Suite 7. Adobe maintains that they have listened to their customers over the years, and that this change is the result of careful consideration of their customers’ demands.

There are a number of changes coming with the Creative Cloud. For starters, Adobe is eliminating material packaging altogether. This not only saves on production and shipping costs, but it also aligns the brand with “greener” technology. Additionally, it makes it more accessible — once you have a subscription, you can then download the programs onto any supported devices, which is an absolute necessity given the prominence of tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices in today’s world.

Further, Adobe is rebranding the former Creative Suite applications (or “CS”) as “CC” products. This includes Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, Dreamweaver CC, Premiere Pro CC, and InDesign CC. The programs are intended to be upgradable utilizing cloud technology: Once a customer has a subscription, they have access to updates as often as they are released, as long as the customer’s subscription is still active. This means that problems such as bugs or OS compatibility issues can be addressed as they come up, and updates will be released much more frequently. And of course, because this is all done through Creative Cloud, you won’t have to pay extra for hotfixes or upgrades.

The pricing models vary depending on your history with the company. For subscribers like myself, if you’ve purchased a CS 3 or later product, you can get the first year at $29.99 per month. Others who own earlier versions of the product can snag the complete version for $49.99 a month. Or you have the option to purchase a single-product license for $19.99 per month. For teams and companies who require special packages, Adobe has other options.

But what does all this mean for the brand? Well, for Adobe, this means regular revenue. Rather than the sporadic income they would receive with CS releases every year or two years, they now receive a monthly influx of revenue. This means they can spend more time addressing existing issues, developing better add-ons for the applications, and fighting the ongoing battle of software piracy.

And for Adobe users, this means they can have access to expensive software at a reasonable monthly rate. They’ll get better customer service and a better product in the long run due to regular maintenance. Another bonus? The more Adobe products you use, the better the deal becomes.

Obviously, I am a fan of this model. It’s green, it’s sleek and convenient, and for me, it’s a great investment. What do you think of Adobe’s changes?

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