There are darker sides to Adobe Creative Cloud that are missed in much of the debate about the new subscription plan. We’ll take a look at five reasons why Adobe CC isn’t good for the consumer. You can also participate anonymously in a survey to see what user’s choices for Adobe CC are trending towards.
Imagine taking your Tesla Model S in for new tires and your mechanic tells you that he’ll only change your tires if you sign up for a monthly plan that will double the cost of the tires, allow them to put on off road mudding tires and install a rear end tow package. “But I don’t want to go off roading or tow anything with my Model S,” you say. “It will give you flexibility,” the mechanic says. Besides, that’s all we do now.” This is the new sales model for Adobe.
Before we head to the dark side, let’s start with a quick review of what has been discussed in many Adobe CC articles and reviews. Adobe will start charging its customers a monthly fee to use its software. In turn, Adobe will give you access to all its software with automatic updates and limited access to online storage. Some businesses like to have the very latest version of every software installed so they can use the latest tools, to impress clients, or because they hope to have a software bug fixed or feature added that’s been needed for the last five years but never seems to be fixed by the software manufacturer. Other users don’t care about the cost and like having access to all of Adobe’s software. Still others find it easier to pay a $50 monthly fee up front rather than $1,200 or more to upgrade.
The idea of subscription based software isn’t new. What is new is forcing customers to choose between either subscribing to one piece of software or all your software products, whether or not you need them. That’s quite a demand considering Adobe’s large application library. It would save you money if you used all their products, which almost no one does. So for the most part, it’s an increase in cost for services you don’t use. Essentially it’s great for Adobe because it gives them higher profits, a steadier income and it will make it more difficult for people to pirate their software. The consumer on the other hand, only receives modest benefits and even more drawbacks.
1: Everyone is Doing It
Those talking about the switch will often say- that’s just the way software is moving. However, think about the implications of wide spread subscription based software. Imagine if all software was subscription based- every OS, every app, on every device you own? Cost to both businesses and individuals would be staggering and likely not sustainable for most.
2. Big Brother Wants You Plugged In
You have to be connected to the web in order to use Adobe CC applications. Adobe says you only have to connect every seven days, but we all know how things go. Your computer, your network and your internet connection are all stable 99% of the time… except that one day when you are working on a deadline… or you happen to be in a remote location or internet dead zone.
3. The Forecast is Partially Cloudy
Cloud Computing is still slow. Although most of us enjoy a fairly speedy internet connection in the US, an internet connection is still slower than the connection in your computer. If you don’t believe me, log onto Adobe Story right now (they have a free version) and you’ll start to see not only delayed key strokes, but your whole computer start to bog down, and the problem just gets worse as the size of your project increases.
4. But I Don’t Want to Update Now
Automatic updates can be problematic. Many companies, small and large, limit their software updates to once every few years, because annual, or even biannual updates can be problematic and therefore costly. Inevitably, one piece of software doesn’t work with another because not every company updates their software at the same time. There will be blood.
5. Bugs Don’t Hurt… Except Bees, Mosquitoes and Black Widows
Finally, subscription based applications stifle innovation. Adobe would no longer need to entice users to buy an upgrade version with new features and bug fixes. You simply have it or you don’t. And that really is the crux of the situation. Adobe has a monopoly for it’s price range, especially when it comes to compositing. The nearest product in quality to After Effects is likely Eyeon Fusion with a price tag around $2,400, plus $500 annual license. That’s about the cost for Adobe’s new products, with rumors saying Adobe’s subscription price will soon rise.
It’s a bit of a dismal future to think of Adobe having less motivation to improve. Adobe’s products are in various states of usability. While programs like Adobe Photoshop and Soundbooth seem to operate smoothly, others have issues.
For example, Adobe Premiere, from its inception to present, becomes slow and unstable when editing large projects such as feature length films or even half hour television shows. Adobe After Effects is actually quite limited when it comes to actual effects by today’s standards, relying heavily on plugins from companies like Red Giant. The lack of true 3-D rendering is also significant. Adobe Story is loaded with bugs and tools that work sporadically. It could be powerful, but tries to force one to use OnLocation, which has it’s own software issues and is impractical for many who don’t want to carry an extra computer around sets or in the field to capture and log footage live. In addition, several of the applications are redundant. It might make more sense to combine Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.
In a way, we are living in a new wild West. Back in the 1800’s when the railroads and settlers were stretching West, businesses rose and fell as they took advantage of the new changes. Now, even though the internet is a few decades old, we are still learning how to use the web as it changes. It is getting faster and we can do more. Online backup and interconnectivity are extremely useful tools and will only grow. As it does, business will try to make as much money from that as possible. Adobe is asking it’s customers now, how far can we push this line? Rest assured, they’ll push it through as far as they can to make money.
If, on the other hand, you don’t like the idea of Adobe CC, you can join over 36,000 people by signing Derek Schoffstall’s petition against mandatory “creative cloud” on Change.org. He recently passed his goal of 35,000 signers and raised it to 50,000.
What do you think? Do you like Adobe’s Creative Cloud? Don’t like? What alternatives do you use? Leave a comment below or take this short anonymous survey about Adobe’s mandatory subscription. We’ll look at the results in next month’s news letter.
Written By: Nikia Furman, Filmmaker
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