Adobe shifts from Creative Suite to Creative Cloud

At the keynote to open its Max conference in Los Angeles today, Adobe announced that it is discontinuing development of its Creative Suite software in favor of working on Creative Cloud products exclusively. The company is readying a new release of “CC” branded apps for release on June 17th.

In making the decision to stop developing Creative Suite apps, Adobe said it wanted to focus efforts specifically on Creative Cloud apps. So while users will still be able to buy Creative Suite 6 and be supported, Adobe won’t do any further development except for bug fixes and compatibility upgrades.

“Hundreds” of new features are rolling out with the new release, in each of the major apps. Adobe showed off new versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and other tools coming next month.

Creative Cloud launched in April 2012, at the same time Adobe released Creative Suite 6. Creative Cloud offers users all of the same software included with Creative Suite 6, but Adobe charges a $50 monthly subscription fee for access. Users upgrading from CS3-CS5 are eligible for a discount to $30 per month; CS6 users who want to switch will pay $20 per month. Adobe also allows users to buy access to just one app if they need to.

Adobe showed off new iOS apps in development including a version of its Kuler color palette app running on the iPhone, and a Creative Cloud app that enables users to share files and folders and look at content stored in the cloud. Cloud integration is key from here on out, and Adobe emphasized collaboration at every turn, including deep integration with Behance, the professional portfolio sharing service Adobe acquired in 2012.

Adobe also gave a peek at some hardware projects it has underway, including a Bluetooth stylus working on an iPad that’s able to import content and settings from Creative Cloud, and a ruler that helps iPad users draw straight lines, arcs and angles, like a drafting tool. The company has also collaborated with Condé Nast’s Wired magazine on an ambitious project to rework the way that magazines layout their pages, making the entire process virtual using sophisticated touch-screen walls and tables. All of the hardware efforts are works in progress; Adobe offered no timetable or price estimate for any of the new technology.

  • Ron Miller

    Some people may like it, but as a casual user of Adobe products, I think this sucks. I upgrade Photoshop every 4 years or so for $200 (i.e. about $4 per month). I don’t want to pay a monthly fee to use their software.

    My guess is that Adobe doesn’t really care about me anyway. Photoshop is expensive software used by a lot of businesses, and they may not care about the casual user. For businesses, the cloud model makes a lot of sense.

    However, when my copy of Photoshop CS5 runs out of gas, I will be looking elsewhere for a product to take care of my photo editing needs.

    • albertkinng

      I am a freelance designer. I stop paying the Adobe tax when I bought my last Creative Suite bundle CS3. I start looking for options. Today I still have my clients and work everyday but understand I don’t do 3d renderings or Photo Enhancements for a living. Here are my tools:

    • albertkinng

      I know out there are people who thinks without Adobe tools nothing can work. They become user/fans of their products as I was. The reality is you are paying way too much for a software. And now they want you to keep paying for ever.

  • I’d love to correlate how many people complaining about the unholy cost of $240/year for a single application, or, $588/year for pretty much everything Adobe makes complained when an upgrade cost them more than a bag of funyons.

    because I’ll bet those sets are a friggin’ circle.

    • kibbles

      it’s going to cost a lot of people much more than $20/mo. for small businesses like myself that use these sorts of tools only occasionally, it’s a crappy deal. to temporary use PS for just a month here and there is $75/mo. need it a few times a year and youre at the cost of having a previous version of PS at your disposable for years and years.

      • MrPhotoEd

        And what if you don’t care for the version of Photoshop in a future version of CC. You will be stuck having to pay monthly for a product you don’t care for. A lot of people have held off buying a version of Photoshop to wait for the next version hoping it would be better. In my case it was waiting for Photoshop CS 5 to come around and sticking with CS 3 not caring for using Photoshop CS 4.

        • so you were buying stuff once every what, 5 years or so?

          • justcause

            Yep and now it will be 0 times every 5 years, multiply that times all the occasional users (guessing hundreds of thousands) and you have loss after loss.

          • and they’ll be replaced by the people who can’t afford $700 or so up front, but can afford $20 a month. Five, ten years ago, this idea would have failed. Now? People are used to paying monthly for things, or if they don’t, it’s not a completely foreign idea.

          • justcause

            if a person can’t afford $700 on a credit card, they can’t afford $20 month… but hey, you seem pretty invested in this decision so good luck with it

          • LOL. yes, because $700 at credit card interest rates for photoshop is going to have payment so much lower than $20 bucks a month.


          • justcause

            like I stated, really invested

          • dustinwilson

            While I’m not miffed personally at the subscription service I think the month-to-month pricing structures are quite a bit too high for infrequent users at $30 per application or $75 for the entire suite. For infrequent users the yearly subscription model isn’t really an option.

            In all fairness — and in a way corroborating your argument — paying out the ass for the entire suite is a poor business decision if the applications are being used infrequently no matter how many years you expect to keep the software. Adobe applications are professional applications for professionals. If you’re not a professional you shouldn’t buy them.

          • kibbles

            why would anyone pay $20/mo (best case scenario) indefinitely when theyre only an occasional user? the non-sequential monthly rate is $75 for a month, i read.

          • MrPhotoEd

            With the direction their updates have been going (no connection to CC), I doubt I will be updating past 5 and I can’t see the company I am working for shelling out money for this. Until recently most of the people outside of my department were still using CS2 if that. There is too much in Photoshop that does not have any bearing on the work that I do.

  • bjwanlund

    They’ve shot themselves in the foot. I was considering getting Lightroom, Premiere, and After Effects, but now I’ll just save up and get FCP X, Aperture, and the former FCP Studio apps. Sorry Adobe, you had your chance.

  • Mark

    Looks like I will be moving to Sketch for my design work. Hopefully it will soon replace photoshop as an industry standard.

  • leo faust

    Costs aside, what about those remote users who don’t want / can’t be reliant on a WAN connection to use their software?? As an IT pro, the CS6 rollout and deployment tools provided by Adobe were a joke, the Photoshop bug that caused licensing to revert incurred huge amounts of student frustration and labor costs and now we’re to trust them again with everything shifting to the cloud? Color me dubious. This is what happens when you have no competition.

    • quietstorms

      All you have to do is connect your machine once a month to the internet.

      • And on an annual contract, not even once a month—once every 99 days.

    • Um…the rollout tools weren’t the cause of that bug, that was an actual photoshop bug, and one that a lot of people never saw. The rest of the suite wasn’t affected by it. What is more frustrating is Illustrators continued need for Java 6 processes running, and in CS 6, it is the only thing that needs that.

      Note that Application Bugs, while annoying as hell, are not the fault of the deployment tools, and given the ease of updating the installers with AAMEE, the biggest pain in the ass on it was the time it took to uninstall, then reinstall with Photoshop 13.0.4. Although if you wanted, you could nuke the entire CS install pretty quickly the manual way, but if you have multiple versions of CS, not the easiest thing to do well.

      As far as the licensing checks, you don’t need a connection just to use the applications. From

      Do I need ongoing Internet access to use my Creative Cloud desktop applications?No. Your Creative Cloud desktop applications (such as Photoshop and Illustrator) are installed directly on your computer, so you won’t need an ongoing Internet connection to use them on a daily basis.You will need to be online when you install and license your software. If you have an annual membership, you’ll be asked to connect to the web to validate your software licenses every 30 days. However, you’ll be able to use products for 180 days even if you’re offline.

      If you’re a part of a business or a school or government, and you’re using the various licensing versions for those, well here, try reading the actual information instead of panicking. For businesses:

      For education:

      For government:

      For non-profits:

      Adobe has a lot of information out there, and if you have access to an Adobe rep, you might try actually talking to them, and basing your decisions on actual facts and numbers. If you decide to move off of Photoshop et al, then at least you’ll be doing it based on real data, not internet panic.

  • this is great news for the makers of acorn and pixelmator. i’m already using the latter and will probably end up using it more and more once my photoshop licence gets too old and stinky to deal.

    • albertkinng


    • Mother Hydra

      Acorn is seriously good, I’m trying to completely transition away from everything Adobe CS-related. Any alternate to Acrobat Distiller?

  • I do not mind the cost or the occasional need to be online.

    What bothers me a bit is that Adobe is not providing sufficient tools to manage deployments (e.g. stop users from installing an update before we have tested and approved it, or in the middle of a project). Sure, I can block this in the Firewall or the Proxy, but this is a junk approach. Until now I had to actively buy a new version.

    What bothers me even more is that Adobe has already proven many times that they only perform significant work on a product, if there is some pressure. Offering an “all you can eat” bundle will make it nearly impossible for any competitors to price their products “right”. How do I get an approval to buy Quark? “We pay for InDesign already.” Want FCP or Avid? “We already pay for Premiere and it runs on a cheap Windows box.”

    Adobe dropped SVG support the moment they bought Flash (and re-discovered it the moment Flash was dead on mobile devices). They have not performed a single valuable improvement to Dreamweaver or Fireworks since they bought them, and some other procured applications have even seen less love. They did not improve Flash players for the Mac or Windows ever until the criticism got sky high. And let’s not get started on their help products, FrameMaker, etc. Some costly “updates” were mere bug fix releases, or had the depth of a point update.

    They did very little, even when these products had to fight for market share on their own. Within a bundle the power of the users is even less. As long as you depend on at least two of their products (a likely scenario for many), you can’t vote with your wallet anymore.

    • What bothers me a bit is that Adobe is not providing sufficient tools to manage deployments (e.g. stop users from installing an update before we have tested and approved it, or in the middle of a project). Sure, I can block this in the Firewall or the Proxy, but this is a junk approach. Until now I had to actively buy a new version.

      Actually, they do, several tools in fact, like the software update server you can get for free. Point your users at that, and then until you update THAT, they don’t have any ability whatsoever to update their copies of anything. They can click update all day long, nothing will happen.

      That particular tool’s been around for over a year now.

      • Thanks for that information. Seems their German support does not know such a tool even exists (it was actually them telling us we have to deal with it on our own). It is called “software update server”?

        • Ah…here, the “master page” for this stuff:

          the Software Update service is actually called the Adobe Update Server Setup Tool. it’s a bit primitive in the setup and configuration, but given the bandwidth you DON’T consume with it, and that you get some control over updates with it, I can live with a little primitive.

          • Thanks again! Sounds exactly like what we need. As long as it works, it can be primitive. It’s not end user software, so I do not really mind.

          • anytime. If you need more help…oh just look me up on the interwebs, I’m easy to get hold of. Incorporating it into AAMEE can be a bit tricky at first, but the documentation is pretty solid.

  • quietstorms

    In the short term this will be a money making machine for Adobe while they kick enthusiasts and infrequent CS users to the curb.

    In the future, this sets the stage for the next-generation to learn that life exists without Adobe much like many are now learning in mobile that you don’t need Office. I’m going to guess that there will be a far more active development on the user side for brushes and plugins for apps like GIMP, Acorn and Pixelmator.

  • This is not a great event for most of the creatives I’ve ever worked with, who’ve been using Adobe products for decades, but only upgraded when a specific job or client required them to. And none of these folks ever needed the whole suite, whatever that constituted at the time.

    And now what was a set of products you could buy a la carte as needed has become a treadmill you can’t ever get off. Great.

    I really wish there were more real alternatives to software like InDesign, other than, say, the former shitheaded industry leader that Adobe deposed a decade ago.

    • nonsense. If you only need say, premiere pro for say, a single job, or indesign, you can use that for for a single month, and then not pay for it again. I haven’t seen pricing on that, but I understand it to be slightly higher than the month to month with a year commitment. In any event, much, much cheaper than what it cost to buy it outright when you only needed to use it a couple times a year.

      You should maybe try reading the actual information before you make what are in fact, completely incorrect assumptions.

      • Space Gorilla

        That’s an interesting model, I can easily build that into a project quote, if I need a couple extra apps from Adobe for some job just for two or three months. There seems to be a lot of anti-Adobe sentiment (perhaps just a vocal minority), but I use their software every day and it makes me money. It boggles my mind that people piss and moan about having to pay for things.

        • kibbles

          ignorance on your part.

          people like me are happy to pay for software — and own it, for as long as i find it useful. people like me do not wish to rent said software.

          • Space Gorilla

            If you can’t afford the tools, don’t use them.

      • kibbles

        “You should maybe try reading the actual information before you make what are in fact, completely incorrect assumptions.”

        …funny, you dont even know the single-month price! $75 for a single use doesnt sound like a great plan to me, an infrequent user of Adobe tools several times a year. (small business, not consulting). id much rather buy a version and have it at my disposal for 2-4 years.

        • But who is this mythical user paying $75 month after month?

          If you need the whole suite, you’re certainly using it enough to be paying for the whole suite on contract.

          If you don’t need the whole suite, you probably only need one or maybe two apps, which are a whopping $30 on PAYG. Most casual users are not going to end up in a situation where they need to pay $75 for the whole suite—but if they do, they’re still saving a huge amount of money by using PAYG. And those same casual users have access to none of the suite under the traditional perpetual licensing model.

  • DanielSw

    I don’t think Adobe has shot itself in the foot at all. I think they’ve seen a generally great response to CC and have accordingly decided to jettison their old business model for CS.

    Boo hoo for the “poor young creatives” who “can’t afford” Adobe’s subscription. Adobe doesn’t care about “casual” or “infrequent” users? Damn skippy. Who does?

    I started out as a freelancer with NOTHING, too. I didn’t even have any training. There weren’t any courses. Nothing but the software manuals. And Illustrator cost me $500 in 1987, probably before most of you punks were even born.

    I’ve been paying licensing fees to Adobe for two and a half decades. CS upgrades were usually $600. So this subscription which gives me access to ALL Adobe apps including Lightroom and Muse and fast updates is a MUCH better deal than anything in the past.

    I think far more people agree with me in liking CC, which is why Adobe is making this change.

    So whine away, but you’ll soon be left in the dust.

    BTW, we’ve already been CC subscribers for over a year, and our monthly is now $50 instead of the upgrade price of $30 for the first year. It’s worth it for all the new features and the convenience.

    • How many Adobe apps do you actually use regularly?

      • in my company? All of them.

        • I was asking DanielSW. You’re a sysadmin, correct?

          • I careth not whom you were asking.

            Also, I’d like to regale you with a quote of yours from that helps prove my theory that the people complaining about this were also the people complaining that CS 6, which is now the promised land, was not worth upgrading to for any number of reasons:

            Too soon and too expensive, especially in an economy that’s eviscerating many designers and production artists.

            So let me get this straight: your objection to CS 6 was that the upfront cost was too high in a bad economy. Now that Adobe has dropped that upfront cost rather dramatically, it’s still a horrible deal.

            Let’s make this easy. How much are you willing to pay, per application, for Adobe’s stuff. None of this “fair price” crapola. Number with a dollar/pounds sterling/euro/yen/whatever symbol. Because from what I can tell:

            1) you only want paid updates on your schedule, which appears to be once every half-decade

            2) They must cost about what you can fish out of the couch.

            so enough circling around. What exactly would you be willing to pay for ANY adobe application.

          • Well, bully for you!

            Let me get a clarification, if I may. As a sysadmin, you generally don’t make your living by creating things with these apps. You manage networks and deploy these apps for their actual everyday users, correct? Your relationship with Adobe is somewhat different than those of us who’ve been their customers on a more personal level.

            My earlier criticism wasn’t about “upfront” cost, but once again, thanks for putting words in my mouth and basing your argument on something I hadn’t said.

            I was commenting about the continuing cost of keeping up with each and every incremental release from a company that had chosen to make those releases more frequent, less differentiated, and therefore less valuable.

            And as people like me had been doing for decades—ever since Illustrator 3 in my case—designers, artists, and production people could choose whether they’d opt in or wait a cycle or two to upgrade. At least until a paying job or specific client required that upgrade. Which is what I (and many, if not most) of my colleagues did.

            Granted, we were happier when Adobe was the upstart, trying to unseat Quark and pricing InDesign aggressively to build a user base.

            But now, not only is that choice going away, once I start creating new documents in newer CC apps’ file formats, I can’t ever get off that subscription treadmill if I want to continue to have access to that new work.

          • Ah, so as a sysadmin, I’m not supporting people who USE ADOBE SOFTWARE TO DO THE THINGS THAT ACTUALLY MAKE MONEY. Right.

            I wasn’t aware you knew everything about every company. Awesome.

            And just in case basic economics escaped you…people like you, who update at random are not good customers. You’re not a reliable income stream. and yes, your quote was in fact, complaining about the up front cost. It was too much and too soon. That’s complaining about the cost. “too much”.

            what other possible options are there for that? “too much” features? “Too much” CDs in the box?

            No. “too much” applied to the money. So again: how much is not “too much”? How often is not “too soon”.

            you want new features, you want things like 64-bit support so you can better use the reasources in your machine, but somehow, you want that to be funded how? by random purchases twice a decade? How does that even work?

          • You’re supporting them. You’re just not one of them. Your relationship with Adobe is different. I wasn’t aware you knew everything about being a designer or production person. But you are indeed awesome.

            Again, my “too much and too soon” was about the cost of an upgrade.

            I don’t know (or claim to know) everything about every company. Just the ones I’ve worked at. And of all those, neither publishing houses nor ad agencies nor in-house graphics departments ever updated their graphics software for every release cycle while I was with them. Not a one. The “latest and greatest” always had to wait until there was an compelling need to make a change and incur that continuing cost after the up front cost.

            So that’s possibly more than a few other entities who weren’t “good” customers.

            As I’ve been trying to explain, I don’t necessarily want new features—right now. I can wait for them until a specific gig suggests otherwise.

            But if you’re painting me as an aggregate of everyone you disagree with on this issue—for whatever reason—please feel free to find some other faults.

    • Hell, it’s now EASIER for students and people without the dosh up front to use it. It’s twenty bucks a month for a single application, and not much higher for all the applications. And you can do a month to month for infrequent use. Some people will not be happy until everything is free or $.99

      • jesus

        As a student, I get it for $20/mo. I’m not complaining about that…I get what was a $2600 suite for $240/yr. It’ll take 10 years before I’ll have paid for a single commercial CS master suite license.

        However, as students, we used to get the master suite for $550, and that would last us as long as we wanted it to. That’s what’s going to suck for most people. As soon as you graduate, if you don’t pay your bill, you’ll lose all access. I’m not going to sweat it. I also use Aperture, Pixelmator, Espresso, FCPX, Motion 5, Logic Pro, and Hype far more thasn any Adobe app. I don’t need them anymore. People say they have no competition, but really, there are a LOT of fantastic alternatives out there for crazy affordable prices. When my current $20/mo contract is up, I doubt I’ll renew. Even better, I have no feelings about it what-so-ever. Looking forward.

  • Kurt Fattic

    This is too expensive for those of us in Education. The fees come out of student’s tuition which is already too high. Unfortunately this will make it much more difficult for higher education institutions to offer anything higher than CS6 (and that is if they even have upgraded to that yet).

  • dustinwilson

    One of the major problems I’ve had personally with the Creative Suite’s pricing structure is that you end up paying for a bunch of applications you’ll never use. I have Creative Suite 6 Design Premium right now that my employer bought yet I use only Photoshop and Illustrator out of it. When I was self-employed I would purchase these myself. I don’t need any of the other apps in it. Creative Cloud has some of the same problems.

    I don’t mind the push to a subscription service in the least. There are a lot of benefits to it aside from the fact it’s cheaper than purchasing the suite, but the pricing structure is out of whack just like Creative Suite has always been. It’s $50 a month for everything, but then it’s $20 a month per application. So, considering I only use two of their applications I’d be paying $40 a month with additional restrictions when everything is available for $50 per month.

    It’s still cheaper than purchasing the suite, so I’m not complaining. I just wish the pricing structures were a bit more flexible.

    Also, anyone living in the U.S. and Adobe apps are absolutely necessary for you to do business they can be written off as a business expense in taxes. You’ll get most of the money back. Even if you’re employed and you’re spending the money yourself on Creative Cloud it can be written off (although less of a percentage than if it was a necessary business expense).

  • kiff

    This is a real pain. I was planning on upgrading to the next version for the new after effects features (I’m on 5.5). The upgrade for production premium would have been somewhere in the region of £300. Now I’ll have to pay that much for one single year, and at the end of that year, I’ll be left with nothing. (well, I’ll still have 5.5, but nothing more)

    I am a regular user, but this really doesn’t suit me at all. I think it will suit companies that have the need for adding and taking away licences, but your average freelancer is getting a bum deal here in my opinion.

  • Fred Jones

    What is the compensation for the people who have perpetuals licenses? If they can terminate it then it isn’t perpetual, it’s a fraud. Time to get the class action going. See you in court.

  • Kriztyan

    Nothing advantageous for the user, this move only exclusively benefits Adobe. I guess it’s time to take a second look at QuarkXpress once again.