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Software Pirates Beware! Adobe CS Takes to the Sky with the "Creative Cloud"

Adobe has officially announced its most radical software update yet, where the Creative “Suite” (known most broadly for its Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, and Flash components) has now become the Creative “Cloud” – a new and updated version of the Suite, available exclusively online.  That’s right, there are no longer installation CDs or packaging of any kind. With the CC, Adobe has transitioned over entirely to a pay-per-month subscription-based process, including most of the old Creative Suite favorites (InDesign and Premiere Pro, along with the aforementioned Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Illustrator) alongside 20 gigabytes of cloud storage space.  Not only can you store your files in the cloud and access them everywhere, but you can also sync to multiple devices, publish your work on the Behance network (an online portfolio platform for creative professionals across multiple industries), and take advantage of the extensive sharing features built into the system.

Why the sudden push to online-based product purchasing?  Tech blogger Gizmodo speculates that they are better able to combat piracy of their product by taking to the cloud.  Its true, the previous suites had a particularly low piracy barrier, with activation codes being easily traceable on the discs themselves.  Still, one would think that a CC purchase would be akin to sharing a Netflix account – one product being easily used by multiple people at the same time, with the simple ability to share a password.  Adobe’s got that covered, limiting registration to 2 machines per product subscription.  While this wont stop all piracy, if Adobe can manage to cut out even a fraction of their previous base of pirates by turning them to customers, it is a smart move for them.

On the surface, it seems like a win-win: it seems cheaper; it is more widely compatible with smartphones and computers alike; it certainly is accessible from more places with cloud storage.

However, one key problem of the switch to a subscription-based program, according to Adam Dachis of Lifehacker, is the simple fact that you own nothing.  Even when it costs less up-front, when you discontinue your service, you are left with nothing.  Additionally, you can’t pay as you go if you want the full suite, despite what the month payment breakdown seems to imply.  Sign up for the cloud, and you are committed to a full year of payments (à la cellphone contract).  True, you can avoid this commitment by renting individual apps for $20/mo, but payments can sure stack up fast if you need more than one.

Still, Adobe maintains that the cloud is the most effective way for their product to be used.  The cloud pushes faster iteration than boxed software, which means more updates in a more convenient fashion.  They make more money, short term, converting to a subscription-based program.  Finally, Adobe is probably moving to the cloud, frankly, before its competitors do.  Harkening back to when Google released its cloud-based Google Docs while Office was stuck on your computer, the Microsoft cloud-based release seemed late (at best).  Adobe wants to be proactive rather than reactive with this forward-thinking decision.  But will consumers take the bait?

Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).