An Update on Creative Cloud

I recently wrote a blog post about Creative Cloud – both the good and the bad as I've seen it. I tried to channel a lot of your concerns, as they are also mine. I'm told that the blog post reached the top executive level of Adobe, and that it helped them to understand our concerns and to address them. Apparently, it's hard to understand anything when people are screaming bloody murder at the top of their lungs. Glad I could at least help make us heard AND understood.

OK… This past Thursday night, at After Effects New York, Steve Forde and Todd Kopriva (two prominent members of the After Effects team) gave a presentation on After Effects Creative Cloud – the next version of AE. They fielded a lot of difficult questions, many of them from me. While some of their answers didn't satisfy me, most of what they had to say was very encouraging.

IMPORTANT: If you are one of those people who want to own your software, and keep it forever, none of what I put here is going to satisfy you. Adobe is moving forward with Creative Cloud – software as a service, not a product. If there is simply nothing that Adobe could offer you that will satisfy you enough to make the move to subscription acceptable, then register your complain HERE. Past that, this update is not for you.

Here goes…

How a Subscription Model Lets Adobe Give Us More

Adobe is a publicly traded company, and being a company in that category means that there are legal restrictions on them. These restrictions keep them from being able to say certain things, and certainly for them to do certain things. In fact, this move to subscription model is aimed at reducing many of the restrictions – so, if they keep to their word, certain things will change.

One thing that was really surprising was learning the following: Under American corporate law, as a publicly traded company, Adobe is forbidden from giving away free upgrades. By law, a publicly traded corporation has one single responsibility: to look after their shareholders. Giving away anything for free could legally represent a serious conflict of that directive. So we're clear – this is not Adobe's choice – this is American corporate law. The basis for this can be found in THIS ARTICLEI won't lie – it's hard to read. Without help I had trouble understanding what it all meant. And it gets worse HERE.

I have to admit, I was dubious about this at first. But after talking to people that understand this stuff, it's clear that big companies with stockholders have some heavy restrictions on what they can do after a sale.

To further support that, Daniel Wilk (one of the original members of the After Effects team), messaged me on twitter to say that, when he was managing After Effects, anytime they wanted to make an update (even with work/features that had ALREADY been completed) they had to sit down with a financial officer to figure out if the work constituted new material. I may not have the terminology exactly right, but you get the idea: Any time the team comes up with something new or adds a feature, there is a good chance that corporate law would block them from giving it away for free.

The result of this has been that once Adobe releases a product, they have to wait until the next version of the software – a year or more – to add new, significant features. This is true even if the work has already been completed, and said features are ready to go eight or nine months before that next major release.

Creative Cloud, a subscription model, with a perpetual payment setup, gets around this rule. Under Subscription, Adobe can give away as many updates and upgrades as they want. And because of this the After Effects team is now freed up to have 2 to 3 updates a year for after effects. Will they keep to this? I believe they intend to. But only time will tell. Product teams don't run companies – Executives do. So, if you don't trust them, hold out a year and see if they're good for it. But I know the people on the product teams, and I trust that they, personally, plan to keep to these promises. I'm willing to invest in that.

Look – I am not a corporate lawyer, or even educated on corporate law. I don't fully understand how subscription gets us out of these restrictions. My best guess is that when customers are constantly paying, it is legally considered as if they are constantly buying – which, I guess, means Adobe would not be giving stuff away – just giving us stuff because we are paying for it. But really, I'm out of my depth here, and I'm not afraid to admit that.

Al Mooney, the product manager for Premiere Pro tried to have a discussion at Red User but (like a lot of discussions on forums) it got ugly quickly. But it's an interesting read in which he describes: “very limiting and strict revenue recognition laws which prevent the addition of new features to perpetual license customers at zero cost.” (Thanks to Mike Harrington for sending me the link.)

That said, if you want to challenge any of what I'm reporting (which is mostly me telling you what was said to me), please do me a favor and do it with real legal/corporate research – don't just cite examples that seem the same but that have no basis. The legal world is full of nuance. Different kinds of companies have different kind of restrictions. Educate yourself before arguing it's all bullshit. To quote one of my college professors: “The courage of your convictions is not proof for anything, other than that you are convinced you are right. Show evidence to support those convictions.” (It might have been more like: “You might be right Rabinowitz, but shut up or prove it. I have a class to teach.”)

The Right Updates & Upgrades

Another interesting thing pointed out was that, in some ways, under the current model, the product teams have been forced to make product improvements that are not always in the best interest of the product's long-term health. Each new version of an app must come out with a whole bunch of eye candy to satisfy the needs of marketing. In other words, when you are balancing getting new users with satisfying existing ones you have to make the newest version seem, for lack of a better word, cooler. Utility doesn't sell nearly as well as flash (unless you mean Adobe Flash, and that's a whole other thing).

Arguably the video products, especially After Effects, are almost entirely about marketing for Adobe. They look great, produce some fantastic eye candy, get used in feature films, and tell a great story. But, in actuality, they make comparatively no money for Adobe, unlike Photoshop or Acrobat. So in short, they are essentially marketing tools for Adobe – not profit building tools.

The worst part of this situation is that lots of important features that are better for the long-term health of the product, like speed and utility, get put by the wayside because of the yearly cycle of product release and its  requirement for sometimes nearly-useless marketing eye candy.

The argument the AE team made here was this: If they don't have to worry about the corporate need to shout about new, beautiful features, they can focus on improvements that make long-time users happy and that make the product better. At the very least, it was clear to me that they are excited to be freed from certain responsibilities and restrictions so that they can make the products better for us.

What if I can't connect to the Internet?

One of the biggest concerns around Creative Cloud has been that the software needs to connect to the internet to verify that it's been paid for. That means that if your computer has not been able to connect to the internet for a really long time, After Effects (or whatever app you are using) will stop working. For clarity, the software is installed on your machine, but it must connect to the web, every so often, to verify your license.

Previously, you had 99 days to be completely offline before you'd get locked out. However, Adobe has extended the amount of time between which you must connect to their servers to confirm your active license of Creative Cloud. Adobe CC “phone home” will now have a 180 day grace period if you have the annual plan. Basically, you can be completely disconnected from the internet for about half a year before you will be locked out of opening your Adobe applications.

The exception to this is if you're on a month-to-month subscription –  it must check every 30 days – otherwise it would be financial suicide to give you the option of staying disconnected for half a year without having to pay.

My understanding is that you also have a generous grace period to continue using the software after you stop paying for Creative Cloud. I don't know how long it is, mostly because finding this info on Adobe's site is infuriatingly difficult. In fact, I may be making that up entirely. It was a thursday night at 8PM. Not my by best time of the week for assimilating details.

After I Opt-Out, I want to Open Previous Work!

Another area where Adobe is trying to accommodate us is in the area of being able to open our previous work, even if we are no longer paying for creative cloud. Nothing is set in stone, as they were just polling the audience, but they are clearly thinking about it. They asked us if it would be acceptable if, even after subscription lapses, we would be able to open and render out old work – and to even have the ability to make changes without saving them. Again this was not a commitment – just the AE team trying to feel out the audience on what will satisfy us – but they seemed genuinely interested in finding a way to make us happy, while still moving forward with Creative Cloud.

Honestly, that kind of solution would satisfy me. Yes – it could cost you money to make changes that you can keep, but shouldn't we be charging our clients for changes, months after the project has been completed? Can we build the cost of Creative Cloud into that formula?

Local Installers

One of my concerns is that, if I have 3 machines on which I need to install software, I would have to download gigabytes of data over and over again for each machine, instead of having a local DMG or EXE. But, while they couldn't give the specifics at the time, they were pretty sure there was a way to download it once and deploy it locally. More to follow as I learn more.

I Don't Want to Eat “All You Can Eat”

Okay – here's what I didn't like, and I will continue to complain about:

Under the current plan, we if we want to continue our work in video, we have to fully buy in – We have to pay monthly for all products instead of just the ones we use. I strongly believe that there should be suites at a lower cost than the whole Creative Cloud bag of tricks.

I asked Steve Ford why I should pay for products that I don't use. His response was, in my opinion, very one sided on the issue: Adobe has seen that, as they have given access to more of the tools under creative cloud, more people are using them. And as such they're building a ecosystem that will greatly enhance user experience no matter what discipline they have to touch in their work.

I get this. By making it all one product, the product teams will work together to build products that work together, much better than ever before.

But even if you take this at face value as the best of intentions, it feels wrong to me. It feels like a corporate decision, not a product decision.  This is an example of a company telling me what it is they think I need, instead of giving me what I know I need. I am willing to support Adobe's financial security through subscription model – if it means that the products I use will get better. But I am simply not interested in paying for products that I do not use and never intend to.

At issue here is not that this plan will make products better – but rather that it will make products better in a way that doesn't effect my work in the slightest bit. I want subscription if it means After Effects gets better. I don't want to pay for Creative Cloud to help improve interactions between After Effects and Edge Animate. (I'm open to the idea that this is shortsighted, Adobe, but please sell it to me. Right now you aren't doing it).

There was a time I did web, print, and video work for clients. And if you're one of those people who has clients across the board, the creative cloud, as it stands, is a fantastic deal. Or if you're the kind of person who is looking for new solutions outside the tools they already use – again, the cloud as one giant product is fantastic.

But these days, I work strictly with video, and I know that so many of you do as well. If it's an Adobe video tool, I'm OK paying for it, even if it's only for occasional use. I do that already with Adobe Production Premium. But I will never be touching Dreamweaver, or InDesign, or Muse, or Edge, or PhoneGap Build. If that changes, and I find myself needing those tools, then I would gladly pay for them. But until then – no thanks. Let other people working with all the tools pay for better connections between the host apps.

This will probably be my sore  point through this process.

International Pricing Discrepancies

One thing not discussed at the meeting: international pricing. I honestly forgot to ask, proving that I'm a really selfish guy and only think about myself. Also everyone else wanted to see After Effects Creative Cloud (the next version of AE) and for the few complainers, like myself, to stop talking about the business side of Creative Cloud.

Technical Support

Also not talked about – how technical/customer support will work. Same reason as above.

Keep It Constructive

One last note – I'm open to most comments, even (and especially) ones that disagree with me – but anything venomous is going to get deleted. I'm writing this stuff so we can have a discussion that Adobe will hear and to which they will respond – Not so that you can yell at others, hurl insults and get out your frustrations. Keep it rational and constructive and it will go up. You might even make a difference in this process. Adobe is listening.

68 thoughts on “An Update on Creative Cloud”

  1. I am extremely excited for this, but I must say that I have a fear that the price will grow like gas. My only hope is this is an honest way for Adobe to make money to make what we utilize every day a stronger, better integrated, and bad ass tool without crippling us with costs.

  2. I agree with Arvin’s HBO analogy, and I also see the corporate law side of things. So why doesn’t Adobe just sell perpetual licenses for legacy products? That would seem to solve all problems.

    I think the scary thing for artists is the thought that if Adobe goes out of business, or pulls a Final Cut Pro X thing and ruins their products in an attempt to mass market them, or decides on a ridiculous price increase down the road, we don’t want to be cut off from our work. Selling legacy versions (e.g. After Effects CC 2013, or whatever) seems like it would solve everyone’s problems.

    I’m a (BIG) fan of the cloud, but it does make me feel a little scary going forward. An option to “buy the Game of Thrones DVDs” as it were (even for last year’s products), would make me feel a whole lot better about the whole thing.

  3. great analysis. One thing about what you wrote. You said that ae does not make money for adobe. So, in fact, other than the marketing angle , it would appear that other adobe products may have been helping to subsidize ae? By putting all the products in one bucket, the ae folks could argue for more resources to speed up deployment since all the products are now sharing a common revenue stream. If that’s true, and only time will tell, you’ll still be paying more, but you should be getting more. Having said that, I do agree with you that having a production studio cc would really help a lot of people if adobe can make that work.

  4. Agree wholeheartedly about the “All you can Eat’. It’s just plain wrong and they should know better. It is so not about consumer choice and it’s like Adobe are just not listening to their customers.

    With the continued updates, I have been on Creative Cloud for a year or so already, it’s not a new thing for me, but have I seen an update? No. As a Creative Cloud member this should have happened and would have no doubt brought a lot of people across who buying the boxed software would have had to wait given what they are saying about having to hold back updates. I think that its been convenient to drag this American law thing out at this time. I will be watching the update cycle with great interest to be honest, because this is one of the foundations of the reasoning behind Creative Cloud, and the big differentiator between boxed and cloud. But as I said before I have been on Creative Cloud and this has not happened. Maybe it’s a transition thing and they couldn’t offer it, but if I was in the marketing department of CC I’d have been pushing for it as the major differentiator to the traditional boxed software. This could have brought many people over to the cloud way of thinking. That’s why so much of what Adobe are saying about this at the moment I take with a healthy pinch of salt.

    The fact is that Adobe needed to hold back software updates in the old financial model anyway. Otherwise people would not have upgraded. This was one of the reasons I missed out on some point upgrades. I looked at the list of what had changed and made a decision to hold off for the next one. Never with AE because it’s my bread and butter, but I did miss a Photoshop upgrade and a whole production Suite I think. It’s similar with my iPhone, which I am on the “s” cycle. So this was an informed consumer decision based on what I could afford at the time and how I felt the software would benefit me. This process is now completely eliminated and we are at the mercy of Adobe who have little or no reason now to upgrade the software. It’s not a philanthropic exercise as the current managers of After Effects seem to think and who’s to say that because the teams no longer need to work on major product updates that teams will not be downsized. I am looking at worst case scenario of course, but you would have to be naive to think that this whole move is about maximising revenue, and keeping the shareholders happy. Next thing to go … people.

    The trouble is because Adobe have a monopoly on much of what makes the design world function, then it’s very very difficult to down tools and chose different ones. And they know that so well.

  5. I like Chad’s idea a lot, even calling it a Legacy product. Hell, Adobe doesn’t even have to really advertise that product, but let it be available for people who want to buy the latest last release of Adobe Creative Suite but without access to new upcoming features.

  6. Thank you Aharon as always for your sane and fair approach to this. I am all for the Creative Cloud and look forward to the new development it will bring. It seems like the right direction in order for Adobe to stay viable in the future.
    I still have one last gripe though with the pricing options, which you mentioned, and I hope many more people will keep pressing the issue.
    There are only two options:
    1) Subscribe to 1 piece of software for $19.99/mo
    2) Subscribe to all the software for $49.99/mo
    It seems very surprising that there is no in-between, and it’s honestly a loss of revenue for Adobe, not a gain.
    Single software licenses have always been more than the package deals so I have no problem with that pricing, but comparing $49.99/mo to what I pay now is quite shocking.
    Take this example:
    For $49.99/mo you’re essentially buying the old Master Collection which was $2,599 full price and $525 for upgrade. With an 18 month update cycle you were essentially paying $144.38/mo the first 18 months and then $29.16/mo after that. It’s about $20 more after the initial, but is much, much better getting into it right away. I could deal with that price point if I needed access to all or most of the software.
    I have never bought Master Collection though, I never needed it and could not afford it. Like Aharon I use only Production Premium products which looks like this:
    The original Production Premium was $1899 full price and $375 for subsequent upgrades. That’s $105.50/mo for the first 18 months and $20.83/mo after that. While it’s an improvement for first time customers, for the rest of the current users it’s almost 60% increase in price! Because of the way I work, I simply cannot afford this. I could afford a small price increase for the benefits and keeping the software relevant, but Adobe needs to understand that I can’t swallow 60% jump in price and that there must be some other options that they could offer. Until they do they are losing out on my money since I simply can’t give them that much.

  7. My problems are a few beyond what has been put forth here. First, If in retirement I cannot afford my hobby (yes CS is my hobby, I do not make a living playing with these tools) I will be cut off from 35 years of work on that day. Over those next twenty years I could choose when and if I upgrade, as it stands right now Adobe is letting me know that I will have to pay them $12,000 for the rental of my hobby tools and then continue paying into retirement.

    Second, I have a sizable investment in plugins for Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere. If I stop paying for CC my plugins are rendered worthless. Who is going to pay $900 for Trapcode Suite to not have software to use it with? Right now I have Magic Bullet, Trapcode, and PluralEyes and I’m thinking I’ve made an incredibly stupid investment.

    Third, my investment is not in product alone. I have learned these tools over the past nearly 20 years, I too have an investment, in myself. I have looked at the alternatives of Elements, Paint Shop, Gimp, Krita, etc., there are NO viable alternatives and I believe Adobe knows that and is leveraging their muscle against the casual/hobby user.

    I’d like to say I will go elsewhere, but this is my version of television, texting, hobbies. I love playing with Adobe software, I don’t like feeling like I’m indentured for the rest of my life because I have a passion for digital tools.

  8. Great Post. The regulation situation is really unfortunate. I talked with an AE dev a couple years back and he gave me that reason as to why several bugs had stayed in for 2 to 3 versions. it was frustrating all around. It seem that video & post production is the one industry that has really gotten the short end of the stick on this one, though. my main issue is Stability with 3rd party hardware/software

    Something always gets broken during an update. How many AJA and BlackMagic codec issues can you guys remember? What about things like Pixel Bender suddenly being dropped? I’m still running CS5.5 at times for the Syntheyes lens workflow plugin. I’m also thinking about OS updates that roll out yearly as well. I love support, but I need a stable workstation. We’re the only side of Adobe customer base that use hardware like external monitoring, dedicated raid storage and basically anything that goes into a PCIe expansion slot. it’s a lot of things to juggle to make sure it all works, and that’s before adding multiple updates per year that can’t be tested on a machine with out wiping out the previous version.

    I was told by an Adobe Rep that they do plan to release a Suite style CC but probably not for another year. They claimed it would be too confusing to release the suites and the CC at the same time, but I’m not buying that excuse. It’s clearly a reaction to the community’s comments and is a recent thing. it’s clear that with the gatherings that you attended, the massive survey they set out the other day and the discussions I’ve seen, Adobe really seems to be listening and taking a LOT of notes.

    I’m going to ride it out, my workstation is working and my files are happy. I’m just going to wait for it to settle down before jumping in.

  9. At first I was agreeing with the “All you can eat”, but then I realized, that the only people who should be complaining about this deal are Photoshop users… because they end up subsidizing everyone else.

    If indeed AE is just a marketing tool for Adobe, then it’s better for the whole Video division if the resources are pooled, and shared. Because otherwise such a great tool as Audition would get relatively little budget for development…

    So if you are disliking the “All you can eat” for the reason that you feel the resources are misplaced, you might reconsider. If the “pay as you use” model was introduced, video apps might be much worse off than they are now.

  10. I’m with Bart; you can’t write a post pointing out that the video products don’t make much money, then suggest it’d be cheeper if you buy them separately.

  11. Thanks for your update Aharon, much appreciated.

    I agree that we need to be very careful not to blame the excellent teams that work on After Effect et al for these poor business decision as I have always found the After Effects and Premiere teams to be extremely friendly and helpful and they have my full support. It is the business decision that causes me serious concern.

    While I agree with Chad that a legacy product offer would be nice, I could see it ending up being a default solution for many who would simply wait for the legacy version to be released and buy that rather than using the cloud services. I have no idea what Adobe would think of that as a business model but it would allow them to be free with new offerings for cloud members while still giving the security of having a product you can keep using for those who don’t like the cloud model. And, because it would be a legacy version there wouldn’t be any expectation of upgrade so not breaking any corporate law.

    However, I suspect that this would break the CC model for Adobe even though we may want it as it would end up having a great many customers refusing to join the Cloud model (I know I would).

    Will is absolutely right about the increased cost of ownership for those of us who keep up to date with the latest releases which feels like a slap in the face, and I am absolutely with John about the problem of plugins for Adobe products. I too have invested quite heavily in plugins over the years and I very much doubt that I will continue now as I really don’t like the idea that I can pay for a plugin and in a years’ time still have the plugin but need to pay once again to use it with After Effects – it just seems like economic madness! Why would I want to invest in plugins (unless for a very specific job) when I may not have access to the software?

    I also agree that once the Cloud is up and running we are handing control over to Adobe and more unforeseen business whims that are solely in the interest of investors that – to put it simply – hit our wallets hard and fast in a way that we have no choice but to go along with if we want continued access to the products.

    Big production houses are going to love Creative Cloud and I can see why (although I suspect even they would like the option to just have a few products at a lower cost rather than all of them!) but it is the smaller production houses and freelancers who are going to struggle with this business choice and, I suspect, for a great many of them they will be looking for other viable solutions that give continued access to the production products for as long as they are needed. Because, while Adobe undoubtedly have some of the best products in the world at the moment for video production etc. the majority of our work doesn’t actually require all these features and so we will learn to get the job done with other products that may have some restrictions in comparison to the Adobe products but at the same time can be used whenever we like for as long as we like for a single fee. Yes it’s a trade-off, but it’s one that can be quantified unlike the present situation with Adobe Creative Cloud which is open ended and (as we have all seen) subject to change …

  12. Some are complaining about cost and comparing it to the 18-month upgrade cycle. But cost versus what you get isn’t being mentioned. It is entirely possible that all the upgrade after 18-months is equivalent to two versions of CS under the CC (or 36 months). No one really knows how big the updates will be, but we could all hope they are that big and roll out that fast. If they don’t, then the pricing structure is a bit harsh.

    Also, I don’t understand this issue of plug-ins. If you have a plugin, you don’t have to pay for it again to use it unless that company that provides the plug in charges for an upgrade (which has nothing to do with Adobe). In fact, by keeping it CC and not new versions, I feel like there won’t have to be as many adjustments to plugins to keep them working with the current versions like before.

  13. I think we are looking for another option at a bit of a lower price that allows us to get what we need and not everything.

    Let’s use Aharon’s buffet analogy. Right now you can either pay $50 for the full buffet, or $20 just for some eggs. However, if you want eggs, bacon, and some toast, you have to pay the same amount as the guy that is stuffing his face on the other 12 items on the buffet. They could charge less for those 3 items than the buffet even if you are paying more per item.

    Adobe could charge $10 less a month for a package of 4-5 programs and would probably please a whole lot more people. Plus, it might make others want to jump on board.

    In my organization there is 5 or 6 of us on CC. While I use 5 or 6 of the programs, there are others that use less and different programs. If we could save $10 a month just to use what we need, that saves us quite of cash, but yet, we are still paying a premium for those programs.

  14. Hey Aharon-

    Is there any plans in the works to get a Red Giant Cloud system as well that would work like CC? Meaning you sign in using your log-in information and then youre able to install all the products that are registered under your log in. I think this would be amazing and allow for people to quickly install and update their plug-ins, especially when with CC plug-ins may need to be updated more frequently.

  15. I’ve seen quite a bit of feedback recently all over the web, and to date, most of it is negative towards CC.

    I’m all about new and efficient ways to improve workflow, deliver/expose a product to consumers, but simply put: Creative Cloud is another bill we’ll all have to pay for the privilege of using applications that ‘we’ made popular ‘for’ Adobe. An application is software, not a service…

  16. “Skip – as far as I know, upgrading Is not mandatory. You don’t have to upgrade to the next version as it’s released.”

    Ok, fair enough. But if I don’t upgrade will I still be able to read and exchange files written by newer versions? If not, why would I continue to pay for an obsolete workflow?

    I don’t expect you to have the answer but judging by Adobe’s history of forcing upgrades to ensure industry compatibility it would be my concern.

    I don’t expect them to be able to support every system indefinitely and when I pay a one-time fee I understand that. I get what I paid for and I’ll make it work for as long as I can. But when I have to constantly pay for something that is obsolete just so I can access my own work? That’s blackmail.

  17. CC makes a lot of sense for large corporations. My employer will be moving to the enterprise version, which will help them to better manage updates and expenditures. I’m hoping this will translate to more frequent updates for me as an end user.

    I also own my own personal copy of CS6 Production Premium. I occasionally work from home and also use it for my own personal projects. There is no way that I can justify $50 a month for that type of use, no client to pass the costs onto. $20 a month for the first year is a bitter pill to swallow, but I’m prepared to pay that, as it more or less equates to what I would have spent on CS7 anyway.

    I feel that the casual and hobbiest segment are falling between the cracks. We are not a profitably portion of the community, so perhaps Adobe doesn’t care. I just feel that they should offer a more affordable non-commercial license, with the option of temporarily upgrading to a commercial license if paying work suddenly falls in your lap. If this was offered for $20 a month instead of $50, I would find that much more reasonable.

  18. David – I brought up my concerns about the enthusiast getting a chance, given that so many of their pro customers started that way. What Steve pointed out was that at $50 a month, they were actually lowering the barrier of entry – which is true – but I totally agree with you. Long term, it’s a lot of money for someone not getting paid to do this.

    Still, this is professional software, and the price should reflect that, or the software will disappear. But if Adobe wants to bring them into the fold and keep them, there needs to be a way to keep enthusiasts engaged. My guess is that it’s not a high priority, but it may become one on a year or 2 when it’s harder to find new customers.

  19. Aharon good for you for raising pertinent questions at your AENY meet up. Man I miss those things. I was at the Atlanta Cutters meet up – nobody really got into the CC controversy there.
    I think of your last post on this topic when I see Avid’s new web ads. Media Composer 7 “Own it” for $999. LOL
    Carry on.

  20. Good point Aharon. I dread going back to Avid. So clunky, so many hoops and proper protocol to jump through for what is very easily done in PrPro or FCP. Realistically though for anyone feeling – put off – Avid looks to be the most viable option in the NLE space. Market saturation, industry acceptance, stable platform broad selection of FX plug ins and all that. The software wars are in full swing. Adobe’s ace in the hole is After Effects. I demoed HitFilm – not sold. Nice particle generator but how anyone could do MoGraph with that title tool is beyond me. Apple Motion could provide some competition. I used it exclusively when I was cutting on FCP. But there’s nothing like AE let’s face it. And the suite integration is such a luxury. That Avid ad tells me the battle is on. Corel has one that is even more bold. I think it calls out the Cloud or CS by name. These companies smell some blood in the water and it’s going to be no quarter, LOL. It’s kind of exciting in a weird way. Shake outs and big change sometimes bring on bold innovation. We’ll see.

    P.S. just Red Boxed “Warm Bodies” and watched it with the kids. Good stuff. Check it out.

  21. There is clearly more than a semantic difference between a product update (i.e. bug fix) and an upgrade to a new version of software. I don’t recall Adobe ever giving away upgrades to new software versions, my purchase records show I’ve paid for them all.

    An update is closer to a recall for an automobile manufacturer, they don’t charge the purchaser for fixing a flaw in the car they sold. It seems that SOX is just another bit of spin from Adobe, their excuse for changing the nature of the game. I don’t buy it. How does the App Store function if SOX is the rule of the day.

  22. Ridley – While I understand that you aren’t happy about the situation, there’s almost nothing that you’ve written there that is actually based in the realities of the law. Even someone like me, who literally understands almost nothing of the legalities involved in corporate law, can see that there is a huge difference between the app store and what is going on with Adobe. Apple functions as a reseller in more than 90% of the transactions that happen in the App Store, and most of the people creating those apps would not fall under the SOX laws as they are not publicly traded companies. Adobe is selling its own technology, and is publicly traded.

    As far as updates versus upgrades is concerned, we aren’t talking about bug fixes or little tiny features. We’re talking about major changes to the software that cannot happen under the SOX laws. Those are upgrades that you paid for in each new version, and that’s what we’re talking about.

    Hey, I get it, you’re pissed off. I’m pissed about certain things too. But Back up that anger with facts and research. Otherwise you’re just demonstrating that you have no understanding of the situation and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  23. Aharon – I do appreciate doing your level-headed best to see both sides of the issue, you’re listening, providing a forum and a voice for those coming to grips with this Brave New World where according to Roland (props to you RK) we’re now entering a new serfdom.

    You’re quite correct, I’m not happy. After supporting Adobe for more than 20 years, this feels like a kick in the teeth. I have the utmost respect for the development team and great support people like Todd, but Adobe has lost my trust. I’m not so much angry as feeling betrayed.

    I note that Adobe sells Lightroom and several other products in the App Store, are these all going to the CC rental as well. There seems to be a double-standard at work here, each side of which favours Adobe.

  24. Oops, would you correct my poor grammar on the last post?

    First sentence should read:
    Aharon – I do appreciate you’re doing your level-headed best to see both sides of the issue, you’re listening, providing a forum and a voice for those coming to grips with this Brave New World where according to Roland (props to you RK) we’re now entering a new serfdom.

  25. Hello Aharon,
    Thanks for taking the time for your post. You have presented the Adobe side quite well, but when a company has to talk about corporate law, value to shareholders and the likes, it usually means they are doing something that the customers won’t like, and this is clearly the case to many of us.

    It is ridiculous that the only way to meet the shareholder’s needs is through the “Cloud” model. If that truly were the case all other U.S. companies would have to do the same, and they are not. Your comment that Avid “can’t sell me their products on its merits”…is incorrect, as one of the merits is that you can own it, which is very important to me and by the sounds of it, many others.

    Adobes approach to CC/CS7 is very one sided. I have been a long time user of their suites and always look forward to the upgrades (which I think have been underpriced), but I don’t really need most of the products to be the latest.

    The only product I really want to be the latest, flashiest and fastest is my NLE and there are enough options out there for my level. I have already “outgrown” CS6, as it can’t even handle my GoPro Hero 3 files. I am hoping that Adobes arrogance in thinking they can force all of us to their one sided plan will finally spur more competition in the market.

    Also, FYI, I am not as concerned about the price increase, but the fact that I will not have right to use the software when I stop subscribing. This is the main deal breaker for me.

    One other thing that really got my attention is how you mentioned that Adobe will be able to monitor what I am doing on my personal computer. This is really scary. What else are they watching that they haven’t revealed.

    I have really enjoyed and respected your work, but I think anyone trying to sell CC as a great upgrade is drinking the Adobe Cool Aid.

  26. Dale – the very fact that people on both sides of this issue think I’m representing the other side is proof enough that I’ve done my job in representing both sides fairly.

    I think that I have pretty strong opinions about what I don’t like about creative cloud and how it is not perfect. In fact, I’m pretty furious right now about Adobe removing suites. It makes no sense to me. But I’ve balanced it all out by getting as many facts as I can so that whatever opinion I have is rendered based on reality, not on emotion. If you consider that drinking the Kool-Aid, and that has caused you to lose respect for me, I’ve never actually had it.

    Finally, just a point out that while Adobe is monitoring the use of their software, they aren’t monitoring you personally. They don’t know that it’s coming from your computer – they are monitoring usage statistics. I’m not saying you have to like it, but I’m saying it’s been done for the last two years by many software companies – Not to mention your cable provider, Netflix, your cell phone provider,, and many others. Although in some of those cases they actually know exactly what you, personally, are doing.

  27. They need a MAJOR overhaul on customer and technical support. I signed up for Creative Cloud in March.

    I tried reaching support two days ago by phone, around mid-day, and was pleasantly told that it would be a 55 minute wait. Yes, 55 minutes.

    Offering “phone support” means delivering actual phone support times, which aren’t 55 minutes unless it’s a government agency.

    Obviously I didn’t wait. I opted for online chat support, which gave me the same 55 minute wait. Must have been the same single support staffer apparently. And the support I did receive was horrific. No understanding of the issue I was trying to solve despite 4 clear explanations.

    Adobe needs to implement a support ticket system or add about 2,000 support staff to actually have phone and “instant chat” support. And make sure the staffers are familiar with Creative Cloud. The person I chatted with had no idea what I was talking about.

  28. “Under the current plan, we if we want to continue our work in video, we have to fully buy in – We have to pay monthly for all products instead of just the ones we use.”

    Well, as an analogy there are also probably quite a few channels in your cable plan that you don’t really ever watch but you are still paying for every month…

    Yes, you can choose from different packages with your TV service and Adobe may eventually roll something like that out (esp. for photographers), but in the meantime with CC you can choose either a “single channel/app” or “all channels/apps.”

    The company has said that one of the big benefits of the “all you can eat” model is the likelihood of discovering tools you might never have used otherwise, such as in this recent story.

  29. Hello Aharon.

    Thanks for the opportunity to have such a conversation with the community. As a long time high-end software user, one thing that I am not ok with the Adobe cloud model is simple. Way back when, on high-end compositing software, we used to pay premium for the software and we also had to pay for maintenance if we would like to keep our software up to date. If we ran out on the maintenance we could continue to work with the software. The only thing was that we were not using the latest and the greatest. This practice was and still is, for our market the best, in my personal opinion. All the excuses about corporate law not allowing certain things to happen, sorry, I don’t buy that. For instance, I own Digital Fusion and Nuke, both have yearly maintenance, I have not renewed my Fusion for the past 2 years, but guess what, I am still using the software, not the latest, but it’s working. I wish someone at Adobe, could come out and tell us, clearly what is the deal, to me there is so much confusion on their new model, just try to make sense of how they write on their site. Talking about confusion, that to me takes the cake.
    In any case, this is a precedent that we, professionals, freelancers need to watch carefully, this can set a precedent that can make our life very hard to manage. Imagine if all the software you use adopts this model, we will spend a lot of time and resource managing something that we didn’t in the past.
    I wish this conversation can continue further, without any emotional under tone, like what you are doing here. We should look at this new model very carefully since this can turn into the next model throughout the industry. When you buy a car, you pay for the price and then you pay for the maintenance as you go, but the main point is you still have the key of the good you paid for, the cloud model that Adobe is trying to push would not accommodate us to hold any key, and that is what I think people are complaining about.


    Manuel Gonzalez
    A very old AE/digital compositor.

  30. On a happier note, I am really glad that Adobe have read the previous blog and are seriously looking at the concerns of their community.

    So I would like to say thank you for giving us a platform to share are concerns and feelings (no matter how eloquent they might have been) and letting us know that it had been noticed by Adobe themselves. I feel less like a mad man ranting in the corner.

  31. Yeah seriously. Thanks for effectively volunteering to be our voice. Whatever happens I at least feel heard and that can make all of the difference.

    Couple of quick questions though. I don’t get how Apple can release updates to IOS for free that are filled with new features. They’re publicly traded yet if you have iOS 6 you get iOS 7 completely for free. Confusing.

    So now if you could write posts about the other two things I’m most frustrated about in the tech world I would appreciate it. Maybe it will bring about change or at the least understanding. First Microsoft’s Xbox One restrictions and invasive features. Next is Apple’s visual design choice for iOS 7. I know it was my example above and I don’t want to be repetitive and do nothing but complain but . . . I mean look at it. Something must be done.

  32. You know at first the accounting thing made since and then I thought, Apple pushes significant updates with FCPX all the time, whats the difference? So I found this response ( and a few others at creative cow that made sense.

    Sarbanes-Oxley doesn’t prevent you from actually giving away upgrades, but it causes you to report that revenue differently. MOst of the time when you sell something, it gets reported as revenue right then. However, in the instance of publicly traded companies, if they give a significant upgrade, then part of those revenues are deferred to when that upgrade happens. Thus, you can meet 1st quarter expectations, but if you give a free upgrade it causes you to drop below those expectations. In the instance of a company like Adobe, they would be killed in the stock market. However, a company like Apple makes enough off other things like the iPhone that they’d be able to defer revenues without issues.

  33. I would definitely upgrade to Cc but for the price difference it costs me in Ireland. I understand adding twenty percent vat but the 100% mark up is insulting, especially since they already enjoy our ridiculously low corporate tax rate

  34. The ‘they can’t give stuff away free’ argument makes zero sense. Freeware, ever hear of it? Topaz releases updates to their software quite regularly, sometimes substantial changes. So does Video Copilot. To suggest that Adobe cannot add a sharpen tool to a particular software’s capabilities without breaking the law is ludicrous. We do not the obvious explained to us. The situation is that if you like CC, good, if you want to own it you are sh*t out of luck. I am holding my Adobe Suite at CS6 until I can find another software company willing to take my money for their product. Most companies like it when people try to purchase their product, they are funny that way.

  35. I tried The Cloud as a freeby and despite promises made at the time, fuck all was done and now every time I move something on the screen of my computer I have cloud interupting things . Get it off please or i will have cause to report interference of transmission. Roy Holmes.

  36. If the laws in one country prevent you from suppling the service your customers expect, then move!

    Simple fact is Adobe, like Apple and Microsoft, are becoming more consumer focused as the professional market can no longer support their ambitions. Having experienced their lack of respect for their core user base when they took over Macromedia. I am now looking for a provider who is willing to support professional users.

    I just don’e trust them to act in my best interests anymore. I can see a day in the not far distant future when they will drop, or simplify, many of their key products in order to satisfy ‘consumer demand’. As according to the laws quoted in this post their only duty is to look after their shareholders, in this case city investors and fund mangers.

    I want to spend my money with a company who works with and for me, their customer. I need to work with products as long as they are commercially viable to me, even though they may have been ‘discontinued’ years ago.

    Unfortunately adobe can get away with these blatant restrictive practices as they have acquired key patents and licences that will prevent other companies from developing similar products. Where are the anti trust laws and free-enterprise system when you need them the most? It is about allowing one single company to hold creative businesses to ransom. “pay us what we demand, or go out of business.”

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