Adobe abandons Creative Suite for the cloud, we look at the pros and cons

A decade and six versions since first launching Creative Suite, Adobe has abandoned its flagship retail software in favour of its Creative Cloud pay-as-you go model.

Creative Cloud is Adobe's subscription model for software (including such staples as Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, InDesign and Lightroom) which has been available to customers since last year. It's not a full cloud service, the software is installed locally on the user's computer – instead it's more of a digital rights management (DRM) system, which requires the user to log online at least once a month to confirm they have a valid subscription to continue using the software.

From June, Adobe is giving digital creatives two options: sign up to Creative Cloud or stick with what ever version they have now, but it will no longer be updated.

Adobe says it will support CS6 with bug updates, but has been cagey about how far this will extend. Also it's unclear whether CS6 users will receive regular updates for new technology standards, for instance new RAW profiles for Lightroom as manufacturers release new cameras. Idealog has contacted Adobe for more details – we're unlikely to hear from the horse's mouth until tomorrow.

Reaction on the blogotweetosphere is most kindly put as apprehensive and understandably people and businesses are worried about change to such core part of their businesses. We've put together a few of the pros and cons of Adobe's new strategy, feel free to voice your own in the comments section below.

Pros:

  • Creative Cloud isn't a hosted in the cloud – the software is installed locally on your device and doesn't require an always-on internet connection to use.
  • The cloud component includes online storage, access to Behance designer portfolios, font discovery and syncing of files across computers.
  • Adobe says it will have more regular updates to its software instead of packaging them up for full version releases every 18 or so months.
  • The pricing is easier to swallow for many, with a monthly fee instead of an upfront cost of $2000-$3500.
  • The software can be installed in more than one location as long as only one instance is used at a time.
  • It's easier to setup new users in your company with access to Adobe software an in the same token remove their access through the cloud.

Cons:

  • You no longer own the software you're paying for, instead you're merely renting the privilege of continual use.
  • If your subscription lapses you have about a month to resubscribe or risk losing access to your work. With the previous CS software you could always open up your files even if you couldn't afford the latest version.
  • You need to have an internet connection at least once a month.
  • While the monthly cost seems trivial in comparison to the large upfront cost of buying CS, many small businesses prefer to pick and choose upgrade years instead of paying a monthly expense.
  • Outages in Adobe's servers might affect your ability to confirm you have a valid subscription, affecting your ability to work.

Pricing:

Creative Cloud for individuals – AU$50 (~NZ$60) per month plus GST

Creative Cloud for individuals [upgrading from CS3 or later] – AU$30 (~NZ$36) per month plus GST

Creative Cloud for teams – AU$70 (~NZ$84) per seat per month plus GST

What do you think of Adobe switching up its software offering? Are you down with the cloud or do you want to see retail boxes for many years to come?