Adobe dumps Creative Suite:
‘Cloud’ subscription only for next version



blog When Adobe chief executive Shantanu Narayen went to such great lengths to insist that the future of his company’s products would be based on its Creative Cloud subscription-based offering, during a controversial visit to Sydney in February, I don’t think most of us really understood just how seriously Adobe was taking its subscription offering. Now we know. Overnight in the US, Adobe revealed it would exclusively focus on its subscription offerings in future. That’s right: If you want to buy Photoshop or other applications in Creative Suite in future, you won’t be able to — you’ll only be able to lease them. From an Adobe press release overnight:

Adobe also announced that the company will focus creative software development efforts on its Creative Cloud offering moving forward. While Adobe Creative Suite® 6 products will continue to be supported and available for purchase, the company has no plans for future releases of Creative Suite or other CS products. Focusing development on Creative Cloud will not only accelerate the rate at which Adobe can innovate but also broaden the type of innovation the company can offer the creative community.

“We launched Creative Cloud a year ago and it has been a runaway success,” said David Wadhwani, senior vice president and general manager, Digital Media, Adobe. “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.”

From comments I’ve seen online, quite a few of those who use Creative Suite on a daily basis for work have already welcomed the move, as it will unify Adobe’s two disparate offerings and focus the company going forward. If you’re already using Adobe’s products daily and deriving significant benefit from them, the thinking goes, why would you have a problem paying for an annual subscription? However, personally, I can’t help but see this move as representing an overall negative for consumers.

Subscription models are all very well for software as a service-based product such as, which are delivered from the cloud. However Creative Cloud is not cloud-delivered — it’s a traditional PC application with a large, multi-gigabyte desktop footprint. Very few such applications have ever been paid for on a subscription basis — the thinking goes that once you’ve paid for such an application, you shouldn’t have to pay for it again. Well, not any more, according to Adobe. With its new Creative Cloud vision, you’re either paying to access its software on a regular basis, or you can forget about using it at all. Great.

Oh, well. At least Adobe won’t have to face any more questions about its Australian pricing for Creative Suite; and after all, its Creative Cloud pricing has already been harmonised for Australia.

Image credit: Alan Levine, Creative Commons


  1. I see an equalisation of the Creative Space as those who believe that the traditional model of software purchase move to other properties, irrespective of their abilities in comparison.

    If I was in competition I would be promoting the fact that you can “buy my software” to all and sundry :)

    This as a watershed moment like HP telling the market that they would be getting out of the PC a few years ago; didn’t bode well for that CEO, and whilst it might go better at Adobe this could be a hit on the installed base of the legitimate market for Adobe products.
    Whilst the share market might like this as it could increase monthly revenue as it ties in users with a monthly or annual basis, it comes down to what the users will tolerate long term. My consideration is that the SMB market that would have gone from MS Office tools to Adobe when they have identified the benefits to their business collateral, won’t go Adobe anymore.

  2. How big is CS through this method? Just thinking how long it will take to download on my current ADSL.

    • The CSx torrents tend to be around the 6gb mark and would be an overnight download for most ADSL2+ users (8-12hrs)

      I can’t imagine Adobe offering the software any other way (direct download would be too bandwidth intensive) as it will require an account to not just activate, but to continue using. Because of this reason, I imagine there will be an official Adobe “downloader” which will be similar to the Blizzard one; a proprietary BitTorrent client.

      • Considering the cost of a license I really don’t think Adobe will have a problem with bandwidth.

        Further, if they do they can use a BitTorrent Bundle and use license auth to get the key to the bundle.

  3. I am actually excited by this move. Not because I believe Creative Cloud is a good idea; quite the opposite. It has been only a matter of time before a major software developer made this move – Microsoft have been agitating towards it for years. Adobe is finally willing to risk the bank on subscription models, giving consumers an opportunity to have their day by voting with their wallets.

    If the majority of consumer sales plummet and graphics professionals and businesses hold off on creative cloud subscriptions for a year while they wait for the dust to settle, the experiment will be abandoned, Adobe will go back to producing standalone desktop products as well as their cloud offerings, a very strong message will be sent to the industry as a whole about subscription models, and (perhaps most importantly) developers of alternative creative and design products will get a look in, stimulating competition, creativity and distributing business investment in this field a little more broadly.

    Make no mistake, for those alternative design product developers, the gun just went off in the survival dash – your engineers and development teams need to put in the long hours now to make your products a compelling and viable alternative. Because within a year those customers who are going to go to Creative Cloud will do so and be locked into the Adobe ecosystem like never before, or they will find something else to do the job that isn’t you. Innovate or die.

  4. And designers start to dump Adobe – I certainly will.

    I look forward to the inevitable kickstarter projects to follow.

  5. ” I don’t think most of us really understood just how seriously Adobe was taking its subscription offering.”


    Then may I suggest you sit down, take a few deep breaths, and think?

    Cause it was kinda obvious from where I’m sitting.

  6. The good news, for Lightroom users at least, is that that Lightroom (for the moment) will still be available via box/separate digital purchase for at least the next version:

    I’m willing to bet the AU price still won’t be harmonised but at least you don’t have to sign yourself over to the “cloud” for this particular application which is just as well as Lightroom is still not available in the single application cloud subscription, only comes in the more expensive full suite subscription.

  7. .”. during a controversial visit to Sydney in February, I don’t think most of us really understood just how seriously Adobe was taking its subscription offering.”

    No no, most of us understood exactly what was being said.

    Boxed-product is dead, long live online-only subscription. That that was, quite literally the only response to all questions, makes it hard to argue anyone couldn’t have seen this coming.

    Surprised, to be honest, it’s taken this long for the announcement to surface.

  8. How to kill your own monopoly in one easy step.

    Although you never know, sometimes these things can surprise.

  9. And so another nail in the coffin for ownership in the digital age.

    Its all one big rental trap.

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