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Adobe to forcing users to upgrade or pay full retail price

Adobe, Inc.

Adobe announced changes to their upgrade policy stating that only users of the latest version can upgrade to the next release at a discounted price, all other previous versions will need to pay full retail price to get the latest offerings. If you upgrade by the end of this year, you can avoid the full retail price (but you have to pay for two upgrades to get up to speed)

MAD Magazine cartoonist Tom Richmond sums up how I feel about it:

This really is ridiculous. The upgrade pricing on Adobe products is already an outrageous amount. To force customers to upgrade to every new version, or have to go back to full retail pricing is a slap in the face to users who don?t resort to pirated software (very easy to get), and are willing to support the software developer with legitimate upgrade purchases. If a user already purchased the software at full retail price, and let me tell you charging $1,299.00 for a suite of computer programs borders on a criminal offense, then those customers should be able to choose when they want to upgrade for an upgrade price, within reason.

I am currently using CS5.5. I have no interest in upgrading to CS6. There are no features worth the $275 upgrade fee for me. Likely I would upgrade to CS7, simply because if you upgrade your operating system regularly, you need to stay reasonably current with major software as well or you may run into compatibility issues, and maybe this version does have some features I?d really like to have. Now Adobe is telling me if I don?t upgrade to CS6 by the end of the year, they are going to make me pay $1,300 to get CS7??? Unbelievable. No wonder software piracy is so rampant. This kind of pricing and practices like Adobe?s new policy are practically begging people to say ?%@#$% you? and just steal their programs. I have NEVER used a pirated program and have always paid for legitimate licenses, even when I had to buy multiple ones for software like Microsoft Office, so each of my kids could have the programs on their laptops for school. Paying twice for the same program just so you can use it on several computers really rankles as well, but I get that policy and paid the money without complaint. Developing software costs money, employs people, and deserves to be supported. This new upgrade policy, however? this is just putting the screws to the people that do legitimately support Adobe and their products.

I’ve had other issues with Adobe over the years as well. Every time I install the suite, I feel a lack of disrespect from the software – changing my settings to map opening files with their products whether I want it or not; spreading system files out across the machine like marbles dumped on a sidewalk; requiring installing other products I don’t want or use (hello Bridge! I’m talking about you). There’s not many other options at that high end. I use more and more low end stuff like Pixelmator when I can get away with it.

Read more about their upgrade policy.

Community Comments

#1 Tom Pappalardo
November/27/2012
@ 2:54 pm

* Adobe is quickly reaching a point where there aren’t particularly interesting innovations happening every release (remember the amazing jump to LAYERS?) I bet their upgrade numbers have been falling off since CS2. You could easily be a fully functioning professional graphic designer/illustrator using CS2, delivering up-to-spec files.

* awww, don’t pick on Bridge. I like it. Poor lil Bridge.

* I’m on CS5 Master Collection (I do video stuff) 64 bit. I will put off an upgrade for a long long time if I have my way.

#2 John Lotshaw
November/27/2012
@ 4:31 pm

I agree that Adobe has kind of hit the singularity when it comes to graphics design apps like Photoshop and Illustrator. There’s lots of room for advancement on the video side (After Effects will never, NEVER be fast enough).

One thing that needs to be remembered is that Adobe is not in the business of providing software to you. It’s in the business of providing dividends to it’s shareholders, which it generates by drumming up new sales. If you don’t push new software out and get people to buy it, then the shareholders aren’t happy and you’re pounding the sidewalk in San Jose, looking to see if Subway is hiring. Microsoft is in this same position, and now look at them… the constant battle to keep shoving out new editions of Windows and Office has left them a shadow of their former selves.

Adobe’s products are dominant because, at one time, they were fantastic at what they did, and they pushed just about everyone else out of the market (remember Freehand?). However, after eliminating the competition, they got fat and lazy, their code got bloated and the new features got less and less compelling. Now we update to the latest CS version because there’s nothing else on the marketplace, not because Adobe makes a compelling argument for their products.

If some enterprising developer came along and made a tight, fast Photoshop clone that does the basics… the 10% or so of functions that 90% of the users need… and then offered it at a reasonable price… somewhere in the $100 range… and then offered it in such a way that it was almost a no-brainer to give it a try, Adobe might be spooked enough to reconsider their draconian upgrade policies.

#3 Kelly McNutt
November/27/2012
@ 4:32 pm

“You could easily be a fully functioning professional graphic designer/illustrator using CS2, delivering up-to-spec files.”

If you don’t have to work with anyone else, sure. When you have to do collaborative work and a studio or illustrator or whoever is supplying files in a newer version that you can’t open, or you’re in a newer version and someone you’re working with can’t open what you’re supplying them, then you’re in for all sorts of headache unless you’re all playing the same (or nearly the same) version.

#4 Chris Sparks
November/27/2012
@ 9:56 pm

It is another way for them to have you to use CS6 through their cloud. Pay a monthly charge….forever. Thoughts on this please? Anyone using :creative cloud?

Editor: To bring the page layout back into line, I’ve shortened/embedded the URL Chris used in his post.

#5 Stuart Greenberg
November/28/2012
@ 4:58 am

I currently use Photoshop, Lightroom and Flash Builder. I’m trying the Creative Cloud subscription so I can try out and learn the other programs in the suite. The introductory price of $360 for the year was worth it to me. However, if the renewal isn’t discounted, I may not renew. The Creative Cloud works nicely. Updates are delivered easily.

I think Adobe is trying to force people into the subscription model. It’s much easier for them, reduces media and inventory costs and the money just keeps streaming in. I have no problem with that but they need a tiered approach for people who don’t use the whole suite. If they reduce their prices and go for the volume sales, they’ll succeed in convincing the customers to go that way. Otherwise, they’ll end up with a mess and more pissed off customers.

#6 Michael Jantze
November/28/2012
@ 8:57 am

Adobe. The new Quark.

#7 Kelly McNutt
November/28/2012
@ 9:16 am

I use the Creative Cloud version, Chris – I opted in when a project I was on was being done in CS6 and it was far cheaper than the traditional upgrade route. Problem is that it really has been working better for me than CS5 (far less crashing and freezing, among the handful of new features) so I may be in it for the long-haul. I’ve got the promotional pricing for another nine months, so I’ll see what they’ve got to offer when my year is up.

#8 Steve Skelton
November/28/2012
@ 9:34 am

Just upgraded to CS6 from CS3 because a client required CS6 in order to continue working with them. But Photoshop CS6 is slower on my machine. Not sure, it could be the video card. Was CS3 32 bit? Now I get to figure this out, and undoubtedly I will need to spend more money on my system in order for it to fly. I hate upgrades. They are always such a pain. Plus, Adobe thought it would be funny to rearrange the tools on the tool palette. Not funny at all!!!!

#9 Tom Pappalardo
November/28/2012
@ 11:08 am

Kelly – fair enough point. I don’t do a lot of collaborating, just deliverin’ finals, so I guess I don’t think about that aspect of it often.

And Adobe will continue to improve integration between the programs of the Suite, which is pretty cool.

I’m not really an Adobe hater or anything. I love the suites. But I ain’t gonna be forced into upgrades til… well, i guess til i’m forced. heh.

#10 Mike Cope
November/28/2012
@ 11:43 am

I’m in a similar boat to Kelly. I was happy with CS5, but needed to open and provide CS6 formatted files.

The discounted cloud subscription is relatively painless. Some people need to absorb transportation costs just to get to work everyday, so it’s a win/lose.

The one thing to consider is how much of the Adobe Suite you need vs. use. The projects I work on require me to have Photoshop, Flash, Premiere, and InDesign (at the minimum), so the subscription makes sense.

#11 Daniel Boris
November/28/2012
@ 12:35 pm

I agree with Tom 100%!
I use the CS3 suite, and will continue to do so for as long as possible.

#12 David Reddick
November/28/2012
@ 12:38 pm

This really burns me up. They have us by the short-hairs, especially in the way of making sure that when your clients are using newer software, you are forced to upgrade because you can’t read it. They really have a nice mafia-style racket going on here.

#13 Daniel Boris
November/28/2012
@ 12:47 pm

It has been PROVEN with one example after another that people will buy stuff that they feel is a fair value… video games that initially cost $60 end up making far more money for the game studio when the game is discounted later to a much lower price (and exponentially more people then go for it) – sure, the profit margin is smaller but when 20x the number of units sell!

If Photoshop costs $50, nearly every person who currently steals the thing would buy it outright… selling a hundreds of times more than they do right now.

Eesh!

#14 Tom Heintjes
November/28/2012
@ 3:05 pm

I use Elements…all the features I need. I wonder if it will be exempt from their naked cash grab.

#15 Rick Kirkman
November/28/2012
@ 5:15 pm

I opted for Adobe Cloud because the upgrade discount from CS4 made it only a $50 premium over two years, and I usually upgrade every other version anyway. This way, I’ll be sure to get the updates and bug fixes (if they acknowledge any) in a timely manner. I’m hoping that by the end of the two years there will be a worthy competitor?Pixelmator, I’m looking at you. While there are probably good alternatives for Photoshop on the horizon, the Illustrator/InDesign situation isn’t quite as rosy.

I hope, by this new upgrade policy, other developers will see the window of opportunity and be there in the next couple of years for all of us wishing to jump ship.

I’ve found CS6 to be a somewhat painful transition: They’ve gotten rid of some tool features, changed others in ways that aren’t as useful, messed with the settings, tinkered too much with the interface and it still crashes occasionally. I still think Photoshop 7 was the best combination of added features and stability, and I’ve been using PS since version 2.

#16 Alan Gardner
November/28/2012
@ 7:54 pm

@Rick – I bought Pixelmator a year or so ago. For the price, it works reasonably well. It can get sluggish on my underpowered macbook air. It (and Adobe Elements) doesn’t support CMYK which would be the biggest drawback for a professional cartoonist.

#17 Jim Lavery
November/28/2012
@ 8:17 pm

I’m still rockin Photoshop 5, boiiiiiiiiii.

#18 Karyl Miller
November/29/2012
@ 12:23 pm

My 6 year old Photoshop didn’t work on my new computer so had to get copy of CS6. Signed up for Photoshop class at local community college and with my student body card ($2!) bought full Student’s copy of CS6 for under $200. ( I haven’t gotten any notice about upgrading yet.)

#19 Dan Collins
November/30/2012
@ 11:52 pm

Karyl knows how to get it the right way.

#20 Alex Hallatt
December/3/2012
@ 7:42 am

I am having to upgrade because the CS4 version won’t work on the latest Apple OS, which I want to upgrade to for the iBooksAuthor.

I have legitimate software and the upgrade cost about half what I earn in a month. That is extortion and Adobe have a monopoly that allows them to do it. At least before they bought Macromedia, they had some competition.

#21 Brian Powers
December/3/2012
@ 10:55 am

Student copies are not eligible for upgrades – sounds like it’s cheaper to upgrade by going to a community college class. I always skip at least one upgrade cycle so I’ll probably need to upgrade before the end of the month since I’m at CS4.

#22 Brian Powers
January/7/2013
@ 2:15 pm

Adobe is giving away Creative Suite 2 now.
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-57562515-263/adobe-releases-creative-suite-2-for-free/

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