Adobe’s new software rental
option could benefit small-business users
by Alan Zisman (c) 2012
published in Business in
Vancouver May 1-7, 2012 Issue #1175 High Tech
Why buy when you can rent?
No, this is not part of the eternal conversation about Vancouver’s
housing market, but about software. In particular, the question is
being asked by graphics and publishing powerhouse Adobe, which on April
23 announced availability within 30 days of the latest version of its
professional design and editing software, Creative Suite 6 (CS6),
accompanied by Creative Cloud, a service combining online storage with
rental of the CS6 programs.
At first glance, it would seem to be to Adobe’s advantage to encourage
users to buy one or another of its various CS6 collections – each
combining a subset of the 14 Creative Suite applications (including the
company’s flagship Photoshop photo editor, Premiere video editor,
Dreamweaver web editor and other software) – ranging in price from
$1,299 to $2,599.
At $50 a month to subscribe to Creative Cloud, it would take more than
four years for Adobe to earn as much as if a user bought the $2,599 CS6
On the other hand, software by subscription promises ongoing income to
Adobe; too often – at least from the company’s viewpoint – customers
buy a version of Creative Suite and then go on using it, ignoring
subsequent newer releases.
To encourage users of older versions to jump on board, Adobe is
discounting a Creative Cloud subscription to $30 per month for users of
the CS 3, 4, 5 or 5.5 versions of its suites.
Plugging users into Adobe’s Creative Cloud could also reduce piracy of
the company’s expensive software.
But what’s in it for users?
Individuals and companies that use Adobe software for photo editing,
print or online design or video production and opt for Creative Cloud
are guaranteed the current versions of the software – which Adobe
claims will be on an annual upgrade cycle.
Unlike most Creative Suite buyers, Creative Cloud users have access to
all 14 CS applications – for photo editing, print layout, web design,
and video editing – and several new applications that are not included
in the traditional Creative Suite packages. These include Edge for
creating Flash-like content for HTML 5 – making it usable on
Flash-challenged devices like the iPad – and Muse, a visual website
editor. More Creative Cloud-only applications are promised.
If a company needs additional licences for a short period of time for a
specific project, it can benefit from the rental model; Adobe offers
Creative Cloud at $50 per month for an annual subscription or $75 on a
month-by-month basis. Just need access to Photoshop or Premiere?
They’re each available for $20 per month on a yearly contract.
Users needing access to the Adobe software for a short time can opt for
a free month’s trial – though with a reduced two-gigabyte online
storage, compared with the 20 gigabytes for paying customers.
Files stored online can be edited on multiple systems, synched with
off-line versions, shared with other users and previewed without
needing to install the CS applications.
A single Creative Cloud licence allows users to download any or all of
the Creative Suite 6 applications and run them on up to two computers –
though not at the same time.
The applications are available in Windows and Mac versions – and a user
could potentially use a single licence on one Windows system and one
A $70-per-month Creative Cloud Team offering aimed at small-business
users is expected later this year. Adobe is promoting the ability to
start a project on a mobile device, fine-tune it using more powerful
applications on a standard Mac or Windows PC and publish content to
platforms ranging from print to the web to iOS and Android mobile
Whether accessed through Creative Cloud subscription or more
traditional Creative Suite licensing, the CS6 programs promise
modernized user interfaces, simplified workflow between programs, HTML
5 output and faster processing.