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If You Want Adobe’s Products It’s Creative Cloud Or Nothing From Now On

By Kishore Sawh on January 27th 2017

When we think of fiscal growth in photography it’s hard to think any company is increasing revenue hand over fist like Adobe. The revenue stream, at least from the outside, seems like the stuff of movies. We reported a little while ago that Adobe’s 2016 earnings report showed revenue was an elephant-sized Billion over the previous year, up from 4.8 to 5.85 billion. Sit with that for a moment, and grasp the number if you can, because when I think of it I picture a celebratory scene from Wolf Of Wall Street. What’s certainly incredible to consider here is that much of that is from licensing digital products with little manufacturing costs – on the streets, that’s what you call, ‘gravy’.

[LEARN: 4 LR CC Features You Should Be Using]

Of course, this has been the trend since Adobe began its cloud subscription plan, and frankly, it was a move a long time coming, even if protested by many. However, those who protested still had the option of buying Adobe Creative Suite as a ‘hard copy’, as outdated as it had been for lack of watering, but that’s now gone. As of early this month, Adobe’s wiped the option in favor of another: Adobe Creative Cloud or zilch. Well, that’s not entirely true as Lightroom is still available, for now, and apparently, you can still call Adobe for the CS6 Suite, though clearly they’d prefer you don’t, as evident from the strangely discouraging copy on their site.

Regardless of how you feel about Adobe CC, there’s no argument to the fact that it works for Adobe, and opens it up to vastly more consumers. The rather burdensome sum required to purchase CS6 outright was prohibitive for many, leading to many doing without and rampant piracy. CC neatly tidied up both loose ends and clearly, it’s not going anywhere.

[REWIND: Dear Adobe, Please Fix Lightroom]

If I could share an opinion here, though, it would be one of frustration, because it brings again to the forefront that Adobe is flush with cash, and that sort of voids most of the arguments I’ve heard as to why they don’t make their products better. As Pye recently vented in his open letter to Adobe, Lightroom is a resource hog that moves at glacial speed. It’s just not as well engineered and coded as some other options out there, and frankly, if Adobe is printing cash like they invented it, what good reason have they to not rip LR apart and rebuild it from the ground up? None. The ‘adoring’ user-base is still there, and they deserve better.


Sources: PetaPixel, Adobe

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Ian Johns

    I’m still clinging onto InDesign CS6. I like how the photography package is priced right for my budget (even though I’m not a fan of how awful both LR and PS run), but it’s prohibitive to purchase ID separately for something I occasionally use. If it was priced even at $10/mo., I’d do it. But it’s upwards of $20-30 if I recall and that just isn’t my jam.

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  2. Lee Hawkins

    Can’t agree more. There’s one reason and one reason only that Adobe cashes in and rests on its laurels: lack of serious competition. They’ve bought all the serious competitors, and no one else can match their funding levels to create serious competition for them either.

    Monopolies are the way the 21st Century was made to work. A 5-6 billion dollar company may not be a huge deal in the grand economy, but when it’s the gatekeeper to so many little things our society depends upon, it’s a lot bigger deal than its dollar figure. A stranglehold like this really literally slows people down and prevents products with new and improved features from gaining traction without the gatekeeper getting paid every single time.

    If anyone ever came up with a way to take over the most critical features of Lightroom (which to me are the Library and Develop Modules) and implement them at least somewhat as simply, then Adobe will nosedive fast.

    They can’t hold off competition forever. Someone WILL make an assault on their business and they will lose a lot of customers. It’s why today people use a number of different browsers rather than pretty much only Internet Exploder. As you said, software doesn’t have actual manufacturing costs—which means that if you can design and build something to disrupt Adobe’s CC empire, distribution is a small hurdle to overcome. And may that software arrive soon, because it doesn’t look like Adobe thinks it has anything to worry about.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Yes, hard to disagree with any of that. if I was being picky I would only disagree to say I think the competition is actually there right now, and by the end of 2017 it’ll be solidly in place. More working photographers with shift to Capture One this year for sure and as I use Affinity Photo you begin to see it can do a lot of what Photoshop can do as far as photography. With the release of their iPad variant, and capture one being more available and mainstream…. oh, and I’m convinced LR has such a large base today that won’t shift simply because the workflow of so many depends on presets. But I think the preset look will shift this year back to something more natural.

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    • Guy Ivie

      Take a serious look at On1 Photo RAW.  I was forced to look for a Lightroom replacement when I replaced my 2011 Macbook Pro with a 2017 HP Spectre x360 running Windows 10 and discovered that my Adobe license for Mac-based products didn’t work with Windows-based products. The interface is decidedly different, and it’s taking some getting used to, but you won’t believe how FAST it is to browse through a shoot.   They’re planning to release a tool that will let you import your Lightroom work into On1 Photo RAW, which will be the icing on the cake. 

      And Affinity Photo is a more-than-capable replacement for Photoshop, not to mention much — MUCH — less expensive at USD 50. 

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  3. adam sanford

    Still clinging to my vanilla ACR –> CS6 setup, but Adobe has stopped writing new lens profiles for ACR. So it’s only a matter of time before I get a new lens or want some new RAW processing functionality and I’ll have to cave and move to CC.

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