After ten years and six versions, Adobe have announced that Creative Suite is no more. The Creative suite is used extensively in professional circles, with Photoshop even entering vernacular speech. However, there will be no Creative Suite 7. Adobe will entirely focus its future efforts on Creative Cloud, the subscription based, heavily cloud dependent version of its software.
The news is likely to come as a shock to many and while Creative Suite 6 (the current edition) will continue to be available for online purchase, it will not be updated beyond addressing bugs and OS compatibility. Adobe will instead be releasing an updated suite of applications in June now branded as “CC” apps and only available through their monthly subscription services.
While Adobe’s software has never been known as cheap, many users invest in a version of Creative Suite and never upgrade in order to spread the cost over many years. Adobe claim that this is not a sustainable business model, and the move to Creative Cloud will help to stabilize its revenue. Previously, it would receive bursts of income every two years with the latest Creative Suite release. Convincing users to upgrade was a daunting task that left an impact on product decisions. Some would argue that this drive to create compelling reasons for upgrade would keep driving product innovation forward, and the reassurance of continual income could lead to innovation taking a back seat. Clearly Adobe think differently.
The subscription cost is also far from cheap. The complete version of Creative Cloud will set you back $49.99 per month, or you can purchase a single app subscription for $19.99 per month. This would appear to be a good deal for anyone who uses most of the software in the Suite and upgrades to the latest version on a regular basis. For the rest however, it would seem you are out of luck.
There is also the fact that the Creative Suite is widely pirated. Copies of Creative Suite are easily found on file-sharing services and Adobe believe that the subscription model is an alternative to heavily restrictive DRM which would impair user experience. Cynics would probably claim that this is the biggest reason for Adobe’s latest move and that people who pirate the software would never pay anyway.
The move to a subscription model could also impact how small businesses and nonprofits treat design. For single, infrequent use, it will no longer make financial sense to have a small in-house design team. That money will be shifted out of house to larger firms that use more tools and can make the most of the Creative Cloud negatively impacting small design teams.
So are there any alternatives to the Creative Suite? The biggest problem many will face is that Creative Suite is an industry standard. Working outside of Adobe’s software is a difficult task. It is not impossible, however click for source. Corel provide a suite of tools similar to those found in the Creative Suite, with CorelDraw offering vector illustration and professional image editing tools. There are also freeware tools such as GIMP (Image editing), Inkscape (Vector illustration) and Scribus (Desktop publishing), the greatest hurdle for each being to learn the quirky User Interfaces.
Clearly the future of design in the industry will depend upon the reaction of creatives to this move by Adobe. Have Adobe moved too early? Will we see Creative Suite 6 continued use for years to come? One thing is for sure, it is a significant move by Adobe and their success, or lack there of, will shape the future of other software applications in the future.
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