Andre Cantelmo Photography
In recent weeks, a steady and intense discussion has been ongoing among the professional photographers in the online network I belong to. Adobe Corp., the firm that created and markets many software programs used by creative artist in producing digital products has changed the way they will make most of their software available to their customers. Previously, professionals like myself would purchase software on a disc and install it on our computer. The upgrade cycle ran in 18 to 24 months increments. That is to say that a new improved version would be available for purchase at that time. Depending on what new tools and improvements were in the new software we'd either make the purchase or choose to skip this upgrade and wait for the next one. Their software is the number one sought after tool because, simply put it is the best tool. This quality comes at a hefty price and is not a casual purchase.
There is a new business model now in effect. While there are still a few programs available for purchase, most of their stable of products are now on a monthly lease plan ranging from $19.00 to $50.00 us dollars depending on the tools you require to perform your craft. The software is downloaded and installed on your computer, (internet connection required), and it checks in and validates itself once a month with Adobe. This new method of distribution is called the "Creative Cloud". Also available is Cloud storage for your files if desired.
Emotions have been high in the ongoing online debate I've been witness to. Two camps have emerged in the discussion. There are those that are on board, are eager to have all the latest updates always installed, and don't mind the monthly cost. On the other side of the fence are those that have been loyal customers for many years, and enjoyed using the best creative software. In many cases they did not purchase every upgrade. only major ones. They like the idea of having the installation discs on hand for re-installs. They also feel taken advantage of by this new sales method. The monthly cost for Photoshop only is $19.00, and you can make the case that some of us spend more on coffee in a month. That would be missing the point though, it is nineteen per month forever. There are questions floating about concerning file format compatibility and other technical issues. I suspect that these concerns can be dealt with.
The larger companies in the creative world will benefit from this distribution plan. The latest up to date program will always be available on their workstations. They avoid installation issues, and smooth out their software cost. The single owner professional serves as creative talent, software manager, and tech help. They will absorb the monthly cost into their prices. They will be the ones explaining to their clients why photographs cost so much. Many of these single owner professionals will look to other companies for alternative software.
Adobe Corp. benefits by smoothing out the upgrade cycle and the cash flow. No more peaks and valleys associated with new releases need be dealt with. There will still be tech help available but not to the extent needed when boxed software is sold. I suspect that the major reason behind this "Creative Cloud" distribution plan is that most of their products are very mature with most of the bugs worked out. I also suspect that they've run out of the "sexy new tool" reasons to upgrade.
As of now, I am running up to date Adobe software. I am taking a wait and see approach. My questions? What happens when some future version of Windows no longer will run my version of Photoshop? Will it be a monthly lease via Adobe? Will companies like Corel fill the gap with a product that is up to snuff? I don't know as of now. I am working at staying neutral and open right now. I just can't seem to shake the feeling of being taken advantage of by Adobe because of lack of choice. They've given me no options. A lot like some of the other non photographic companies I do business with. We'll talk some more about this somewhere down the road.