I  have been using Adobe products for over 20 years.  For many years, I was on the yearly upgrade cycle and, even as a previous purchaser, the upgrade fees for the Adobe creative suites easily cost over $600-800 USD per year.  That was quite a hit for a young author and designer fresh out of graduate school, but if you wanted to play with the big boys, you needed big boy toys, and Adobe is, and has always been, the web and authoring standard.

Over the last few years, with the churn in the business from a purchase model to a renting model at Adobe, I’ve patiently waited on the sidelines with my hardbox copy of the Adobe CS4 still in everyday use — about three generations behind the leading curve — and CS4 has served me well.  The new Adobe “upgrades” have seemed incremental and confused, and I was happy to keep skating along with Photoshop and Dreamweaver CS4 until two things happened.

First, I purchased a new MacBook Air that had plenty of room to install a ton of new software and, second, Adobe announced the end of boxed editions and were going rogue and “online subscription only” from here on out using a monthly and yearly for-pay model.  Two days ago, I signed up for the new “Adobe Creative Cloud” and I am totally thrilled with the decision.

On the first overnight “burn in” for my new MacBook Air, I signed up for the Adobe Creative Cloud, and auto-downloaded and auto-installed every single app in the CS6 suite while I slept.

I realized there was nothing wrong paying Adobe a monthly fee to rent their software since I already “rent” the mainline of my life — Google Apps — on a yearly contract.  Renting from Adobe means I’ll always have the best and the freshest version of the software available and I won’t have to swallow a yearly $800 upgrade hit all at one time.

I was horrified when I woke up in the morning to find an announcement in my Inbox from Adobe that their “Creative Cloud” software was now ready for download and installation.

What?  So the CS6 suite I had just downloaded and installed was now out-of-date?


The new “CC” — “Creative Cloud” — suite of applications meant all that overnight downloading I’d done while sleeping was for nothing.

Sure, I could keep a copy of the CS6 software on my new MacBook Air, and install the CC suite next to it, but why?  I downloaded all the CC apps and then, one-by-one, I went into my Applications folder and uninstalled all the CS6 programs.

Here’s the full list of the “Creative Cloud” apps you can download and install. Abode will try to verify your Creative Cloud subscription every 30 days, and require online verification every 90 days or you will be cut off and the apps will stop working — even if you’re still paying.

It feels a little odd to be paying Adobe a rental fee for their software. I’m currently forking over $20 a month for the next year on a special promotional plan, but I fear once we’re all locked in online, Adobe will toss away the key and charge us some astronomical price to keep open our line of access to their software.

Good thing I still have my standalone, and previously purchased, copy of CS4 still waiting for me on my old MacBook Air.


  1. Think you are very wise to keep your stand alone back up copy – I like hard copy , you are not dependant on the vagaries of the internet – either banking, or the supplier loosing your payment . Guess I am not quite thinking “Apple/Ap” yet !

    1. The new tomorrow is everything in the cloud. We have an access point, and everything we need is “out there” and there’s nothing physical to own any longer. This new business model both concerns me, and frees me. Sometimes pay-as-you-go can benefit you because your choices can be kept open — but only as long as there are non-proprietary options available.

      Some people think the new Adobe Creative Cloud is online in your web browser only. That isn’t right. You download all the software to your computer and locally install it.

      Eventually, Adobe will stop updating CS4 — it’s funny how I still get auto-updates on that old software a couple of times a week — and that will be the beginning of the end of hardcopy ownership.

  2. A fear I have with services like this is that if the company goes down, your apps and data virtually go down with them. Of course, we all follow the backup, backup, backup mantra — but what good is the data if you no longer have an app to open it? Or rather, you do have the app but if it requires online verification and there are no servers there to verify it… what then?

    1. Online activation has been going on for at least a decade for Microsoft products and even Final Draft.

      I just had to re-authenticate online my purchased copy of Office 2011 for Mac with MSFT for use on my new MacBook Air. It was an 850MB download purchased from Amazon in 2012, and I needed my product key. Luckily, Amazon had my key stored and I was able to activate.

      MSFT are moving all future Office iterations online — just like Adobe — where you pay by the year or by the month to access the products. The next version of Office for Mac will require a subscription.

      None of this is ideal, but it’s the internet-centric way of life we’re now living. I’m sure when the automobile started to run around in towns, some horse owners wondered where they’d park their horses without hitching posts.

  3. David,

    My understanding is that Adobe will continue to sell Lightroom as they have always rather than incude it with all the other cloud-sales products. Why do you think they’re keeping Lightroom apart from the rest?


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