Mad Cloud

One day someone is gonna write a book about the biggest marketing fuck-ups of the century, and mark my words, Adobe is going to be referenced in there a lot. You gotta give it to them – they always manage to take their already bad communication from the year before up (or down) another notch, depending from where you see it. Nothing else explains the madness of the last few days. The forums everywhere are full with threads as long as a whale’s penis (there, I said it and I’ll say it again “penis” *lol*). So what are the sticking points?

Let’s begin with the really terrible naming. What in god’s name drove them to just call the products CC, as in Creative Cloud? That’s confusing the hell out of people as the ones who actually have the hots for the new versions and are willing to join end up disappointed when their current CS6 based subscription doesn’t have the features shown in the videos. Now June 17 isn’t far away, but really, they just should have called it CS7. It would have avoided a lot of this.

The next big point is of course the download-only thing. Is it an issue? Yes and No. I download pretty much all my software these days even from other vendors, but neither of them imposes these huge amounts of data. With each individual app weighing in at around 1GB plus all the stuff like extra content and so on, it seriously consumes your Internet resources and time and I guess that is ultimately the point. I’ve mentioned before that I’m on a pretty measly connection and under those conditions it takes 2 or even 3 days to download and install all programs. At the same time I should be glad to have what little I have as I know enough people who are on fragile wireless connections with severe bandwidth limitations and quota. In particular the latter are already having a hard time with the Adobe Application Manager and its various quirks while the general population suffer from update failures, sign-ins not being recognized and other oddities as well. So ultimately the point is not that downloads are generally bad, it’s more that Adobe need to find a way to make them more reliable and manageable and also still somehow provide a fallback outside the application manager infinity loop.

Probably the biggest uproar is caused – naturally – by the “you no longer own your software”. All I can say in the matter is: “You don’t own me…!”. Anyone should suck in those song lines from The First Wives Club and from here on should always remember them when it comes to software. I’m not gonna discuss the finer points of the legalities of software licensing, but suffice it to say that due to intellectual property regulations most of the time you have merely been granted the use of a software, not its ownership. If that weren’t enough, think about the technical side. Adobe software has had an activation system forever and it would be easy to blacklist your serial number, rewire the activation, turn off servers or invalidate your install and they have done that in the past and do so every day to block pirated software or other illegal use. Where older, legacy versions are concerned, this is even more the case since at some point they simply won’t run on contemporary operating systems. I have lots of old install DVDs stashed away in my software box, but a lot of that is now just memorabilia. I wouldn’t even dream of wasting my time trying to install some of that and jump through hoops to get it to run with compatibility modes and all sorts of hacking.

Finally, of course we need to talk about price. Everybody does his own math, inevitably, but I think people complaining about not being able to upgrade their Photoshop for 199 bucks is a bit ridiculous. For one, that upgrade price hasn’t been available in many parts of the world. I think it was/ is about 400 Euros here in Germany. The suites were even considerably more expensive. Two, if under those conditions you were forced to upgrade every year due to the “one version back” policy, that would be a lot of dough over the years – a lot more than the accumulated sum you pay annually for the Creative Cloud! Therefore it really is a lot more affordable to just pay a fixed amount monthly, especially when you were already on a suite and really have used multiple programs from it. Some concern has been raised about Adobe exploiting this “monopoly” and raising prices at whim, but I think that’s nonsense. Yes, of course we will see slight raises every year, but that’s inflation and well, you might get new services and tools as well that may warrant that. Otherwise they would be foolish to piss off their customers with skyrocketing prices, but admittedly, nobody knows where the train is headed at the moment.

So in conclusion, what does it mean? Effectively nothing has changed, really. It’s just a new version and if you don’t have any need for the new features or are simply underwhelmed like I am, you can just sit it out and work with what you have or explore other options. The world’s not coming to an end without Adobe software and there are lots of tools out there, many of them free. You may just have to let go of some habits and change workflows here and there. If you really depend on the programs to make a living or a project comes along that requires to use them, it should not be a problem to pony up the cash. People spend more money on other things and expensive hobbies, so at the end of the day, some of the fuss is much ado about nothing, really, except for that lingering feeling that Adobe has you by the balls and you can’t escape…


3 comments on “Mad Cloud

  1. I love your blog, Mylenium, but in this instance (lack of outrage) I could not disagree more. I’ve invested a ton of time mastering Adobe products, particularly After Effects and buying plugins and scripts. So my departure from Adobe (which short of them reversing course is now certain) will be extremely costly in money and in time.

    I have expressed it this way: imagine if you rent tools from a company to build a house. But that rental company is allowed to lock you out of your own house if you don’t *forever* continue to be their customer and cut them a cheque each month. Pretty outrageous, huh? Yes. Outrageous, and that’s what would be happening here. Change of career? Change of economy? Retirement? It doesn’t matter we’d all have to pay money merely for the right to access our own .aep files. And we’d have to pay forever. Furthermore Adobe can change it’s pricing or terms at any time. Don’t like it? You are once again locked out of your own house.

    This is such a serious issue I believe it merits action by consumer activists and perhaps legal action.
    Last night I tried to upgrade my master collection to 6.0, thinking that would be my last. And there is no place on Adobe’s site to make such a purchase. And this, with no notice…

    • I’m gonna respond to that in a separate post… Hang on to your pants! ;-)

    • I’m not trying to be funny – but the house metaphor doesn’t work… You’re still allowed access to the stuff you’ve “built” but if you stop paying they don’t let you keep on building. Wouldn’t a better metaphor be that they’ve stopped selling their houses – and are forcing a rental-only market?

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