Photoshop now only available as subscription

Posted on May 21, 2013


Recently (8 May 2013), Adobe announced at their Adobe Max conference that they will only have Photoshop available as a subscription and Photoshop CS 6 is the last boxed version of Photoshop. As with their usual policy, no further updates will be created for Photoshop CS 6 and earlier products. These subscriptions will be $49.99 per month for the full cloud product or creative suite. Photoshop only will be available for $19.99 per month. If you have Photoshop CS 6, you can get a special “upgrade” version for around $10.00 per month. For teams that work together, there is a special version designed around the working team, 100 GB of cloud storage, and special administration tools for $69.99 per month.

I have written about the “cloud” in the past. With this latest move by Adobe, they have indicated that the cloud based delivery is their only way to distribute their product. Keep in mind that this delivery method makes it so there is no physical box or documentation to create, and they can deliver updates immediately to your software that you have installed. Yes, I said, “installed”. You still install the product on your computer. Many have asked about what if their laptop can’t connect to Adobe for validation of your license (or subscription)? I have been assured by Adobe that depending on your subscription plan, you can go 30-180 days between verification with Adobe. What if you don’t want a subscription? Well, there isn’t one. The only option is paying for Photoshop with a monthly fee.

I have listened to other photographers on their feelings about this offering. The larger organizations (companies with 20 or more licenses) are really happy to get this plan and are very happy with this announcement. Their cost for all of the Adobe products have decreased and licensing has been simplified for them. With others, there has been many different opinions and issues with this update – most being upset and outraged. First and foremost is that they will be stranded without the ability to access their files if they don’t pay their license fee.  All it takes is one OS update, and everyone who has a previous version can no longer run any Adobe previous product. Oddly, this is more from Apple computer users than those running MS Windows. Several photographers have indicated that they are worried that even Lightroom will also be only available under this type of plan. There has also been a lot of misinformation.

What do I think? Funny you ask. Right now, I thing Adobe is doing what they think is best for their product. This means capturing and making those customers who are their major customers of the Adobe CS product happy. They have done this. The rest of us, we aren’t a strong revenue stream for Adobe and our comments weigh less on their policy. They do need to get paid an appropriate amount for their innovations and development of their product. From my perspective, their development costs are too high, but I am looking at this from the outside of the company and don’t know any internal information.

I have also recommended that Paint.Net and Cinepaint be used as alternate products to Photoshop for the hobbyist. No, these aren’t Photoshop. Cinepaint won’t run on Windows. But, they are products I have used that come close. There are many others out there to choose from. Complaining about this to others won’t make anything change. Complaining to Adobe, maybe. But it won’t change it tomorrow. Make the best of the situation.