If you were in any doubt that subscription software was the distribution method of the future, then think again. This morning at their annual MAX event, Adobe made a massive announcement that will have long lasting effects on the software industry.
Their industry leading Creative Suite of applications including Dreamweaver, Photoshop Premiere and many more, will now be only available via Creative Cloud. If you’re not familiar with it, Adobe Creative Cloud is a subscription that allows you access all the products in the suite for a monthly fee. Version numbers are set to become irrelevant with the software and updates you get through Creative Cloud will always be the latest.
One great example of this is Lightroom 5 which is currently in beta, those users on Creative Cloud will get it for free as part of their subscription when the full release ships. I guess the term shipping for software implies a manufacturing plant stamping out millions of DVD’s that get transported around the world on boats. That is now a thing of the past. ‘Bits released’ is probably a more accurate description from now on.
As a long time Adobe Creative Suite user, I’ve switched over to Adobe Creative Cloud just over a year ago. For the first year the price was $30pm as I had purchased a full version of CS3 back in the day and upgrades to CS5. With a year now under my belt, I have to say Creative Suite is amazing and so clearly the way of the future. I do wish however the number of computers was raised from 2 to 3. This would allow for the apps to be installed on your PC, laptop and work machine.
Subscriptions can be purchased month to month which does provide flexibility for scaling up and down designers and developers during larger projects. When the project ends and the temporary staff go away, so can the cost of the software.
Make no mistake about it, while there are strong benefits to the users in this new era for Adobe, one of the key drivers is piracy. With each subscription being tied to an Adobe account and limited to 2 active installations, this means the pirates are out of luck. The simple and cheap duplication of Adobe DVD’s is now worthless as the software checks home periodically to ensure it’s still an active subscription.
One big implication of this changing software distribution model we need to discuss is the size. We talk a lot about connection speeds, particularly with a looming election and the NBN being one of the major policy differences between the parties.
Adobe Creative Cloud applications can amount to hundreds of GB and if you were to install it on your 2 machines, your up for some lengthy download times. The other consideration is data caps, on most average internet plans today, you could easily blow your data cap just by installing Creative Cloud.
Expect to see this story used by our politicians to bolster their arguments in relation to the necessity for even faster internet speeds via the NBN. Imagine a 100Mbps or even 1Gbps connection. This would mean you could have an employee or friend walk into your home business to help on a creative project, purchase a subscription, have the software installed and get them being productive in just a few minutes. That flexibility means the technology is never the limiting factor in getting the job done.