19 May 2013
Wringing Blood from the Cloud
Cloud services of various types are getting more and more common but not all that popular as the news that Adobe will offer its software only in the creative cloud option from now on.
A few years ago, cinema 4d began offering a subscription service allowing customers to pay a fee per year or month to keep constantly up to date as updates came up,without having to buy each update as a new purchase. No one was talking about this as any sort of cloud service but its pretty much what Adobe and soon Microsoft (for Office Suite) are offering with some differences. The Adobe plan does give you access to all their software and updates but you must pay your monthly fee or the software is disabled. The C4D set up stops your updates but the program still functions. Apparently the Microsoft plan will be similar to the C4D one.
The creative cloud is, in my assessment, a terrible way to treat your customers and those customers are already looking for replacement software. You are paying quite a bit, more than most do buying upgrades when they need them but only renting the programs on a monthly basis losing the ability to keep working if you stop the subscription. Many pro printers don't update their software often and Indesign, for example, is not very backwards compatible so your constantly updated software makes it impossible to actually get work out. Adobe doesn't seem to know the old 80s model,where companies bought software and most designers/artists who used them worked for companies is almost gone, replaced by a system where companies hire contractors (like me) who don't want, need or can afford to be paying them ungodly amounts of cash to rent the software they need every day. This cloud plan will bleed us dry and make keeping our heads above water harder, not easier. And if there is a server issue at Adobe, and there have already been quite a few, you suddenly can't work.... at all.
Using the cloud to share data among a team, or even software within a company can be a very useful thing but companies should not be forcing their customers to fulfill their accountants wet dreams of steady cash flow. Nothing, especially software, is really irreplaceable or indispensable. This could be a short term money grab that leads to all those other smaller competing developers to take away Adobes dominance and actual choice. I imagine if Apple decided to come up with a full featured photoshop alternative on both platforms at a decent price even Photoshop... the unstoppable flagship of Adobe would quickly fade from view.
So while Adobe may think it has us all trapped in the cloud bleeding us dry, in the end you can't really squeeze blood out of a cloud.