Adobe kills packaged software, bets on cloud alone
Adobe will cease selling packaged software, transferring customers to the cloud instead. Photo: Supplied
Adobe Systems has announced upgrades for its flagship software packages, including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, will now be available only through online subscriptions.
Adobe is the latest traditional software company to make a big bet on the cloud-based subscription model pioneered by companies such as Salesforce.com and NetSuite and now common place in the anti-virus and office software markets.
Subscription models bring in less money upfront as payment is spread over the entire period of use unlike traditional packaged software, but typically ensure more predictable recurring revenue. They also allow for product upgrades and new features to be delivered on a shorter cycle and as needed.
Upgrades will be available only through online subscriptions from June according to Paul Robson, Adobe's managing director for Australia and New Zealand.
"We will no longer do a major Creative Suite release every couple of years, but will announce them in Creative Cloud when they are ready to come to market," Mr Robson told Fairfax Media.
Creative Suite 6, launched in May 2012, combines Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash and Dreamweaver software applications used by professional photographers and designers. Creative Cloud, the online platform for the packages, helps customers access them through online subscriptions.
"With the fast pace of innovation, our customers are asking us to release as we go. Now we will release improvements and enhancements all the time through Creative Cloud.
"If you're a creative user in the market – typically you'd make a decision to upgrade every couple of years. This dramatically changes that engagement that Adobe has with the customer."
Robson said customers who already owned a licence to the packaged Creative Suite would be encouraged to move to the cloud at a promotional price for a year - $29 per month instead of $49 per month for new customers. Single application subscriptions will cost $19 per month.
Mr Robson said the price was the same as in the United States, ending one of packaged software users biggest gripes, that of substantially higher prices in Australia compared with overseas.
He said from now, the packaged versions of all applications would no longer be updated, but customers could continue to use them, or buy any stock retailers had left.
"We didn't want our research and development teams to be maintaining two different tech platforms – one in the cloud and the one purchased every two years."
New features would be available through the cloud immediately, including a new "camera shake reduction" for Photoshop, which he said customers had been asking for.
Mr Robson said retailers were well aware of the company's plans in advance and any inventory they still had was "a business decision". Retailers will now start selling subscriptions to the Creative Cloud via pre-paid cards.
There will be special volume licensing for enterprises, government and educational institutions.
At its annual MAX Conference on Monday in the US, Adobe also demonstrated two new pieces of Bluetooth-enabled hardware - a pressure-sensitive digital pen ("Mighty") and a remote control-like device ("Napoleon") - that integrate with the software features in the cloud.