Adobe announcement Adobe Accelerates Shift to the Cloud includes a death sentence on standalone channel applications of Creative Suite. CS 6 is the end of the line. This strategy is good for Adobe but it is not good for users.
Good for Adobe
Moving to a direct sales model and linking its products and services into an Adobe controlled cloud is a great move for Adobe as a company. This is good for Adobe for a number of reasons:
- It can cut out the cost of packaging and distribution. Not only the cost of manufacturing but also the transportation and margins lost to distribution and retail are now all Adobes. It also eliminates a great deal of grey marketing.
- It can know with greater certainty who is using its applications. The more gatekeeping they do, the harder it is to pirate their software. You know Adobe applications are pirated a lot because they are expensive.
- It can change prices any time they like, and if you don’t like it, you are screwed. Pricing for the channel is a challenge. You can’t turn on a dime and there not be consequences. Adobe knows just how much pain you will take.
- It can tie you into various services and bundle services you don’t particularly need. You don’t get to choose. And on top of that, these services become redefined as features. A feature I have to pay more for, even if I do not want them, isn’t a feature – especially if its a service.
- They want to control your files and use that information. Look, Cloud technology is cheap. Everyone is offering it, because it gives them control over your files. What your files are, their size, even their content, also provides Adobe with information about you that you shouldn’t have to share. But you will anyway. They can track with certainty exactly how you are using their products.
Bad for You
For every good bullet for Adobe, there’s a bad bullet for you.
- You will have fewer competitive price options for getting Adobe products. Welcome to the new monopoly model. Adobe has never been very competitive when it comes to pricing anyway, and prices have steadily increased, version to version. Sure, you can calculate a savings by buying bundles – but that’s really only relevant if you have equal need for everything in the bundle.
- You can get cut off from the applications you need to open/use your content. Site service terms are not the same as a software EULA. If you violate any terms of service, you can get cut off from the service. How will you open your PSD files if you no longer have access to Photoshop?
- Not only your applications, but your files too are no longer completely yours. No doubt there is a way to get your files off of Creative Cloud. Adobe executives are too smart to do that. But this is a cheap way for them to make it extremely unpleasant for you to decide to jump to some alternative solution.
When applications become a service, you have fewer rights and less control. There is less marketing competition. The same thing applies to inserting a store within an operating system. What appears to be a new business model is actually an old, monopolistic model that used to dominate the console game industry.
I can’t blame Adobe for doing this. If people are not willing to look beyond the short term, why shouldn’t a company do it?