Adobe switches Photoshop to subscription model

May 7, 2013

Adobe switches Photoshop to subscription modelAdobe has announced that in future all its Creative Suite software will be subscription only. It’s upset some users but could be a much better business model.

The decision means there’ll be no Creative Suite 7. Instead Adobe will offer ‘Creative Cloud’ subscriptions for $19.99 a month for a single application such as Photoshop, or $49.99 for the whole package. Adobe insists it has no intention of jacking up prices once it’s got customers on board.

There are several discounts on offer. Students pay only $19.99 for the whole suite, while anyone who has previously purchased Creative Suite 3 or later will get the full package for $29.99 a month for the first year. If you bought CS6, the monthly fee is only $19.99. To get the discounts you have to subscribe before the end of July.

The subscription plans all require a minimum of one year’s commitment. If you want to pay by the month, the full suite costs $75 each month.

As The Next Web notes, the benefit to Adobe isn’t necessarily whether or not it takes in more money overall. The real key is that its income will be much more predictable and steady rather than fluctuating wildly depending on when a new edition comes out.

There are also production benefits. Adobe will now release new feature updates as and when they are ready, rather than having to rush them or hold them back to fit in with new edition schedules.

It’s also possible it could tackle piracy: partly because the need for a personal subscription will make serial number cracking harder to pull off and partly because some potential customers might be more willing to pay a monthly fee rather than a huge one-off payment.

Adobe also believes some users who would never have bought the entire collection of software outright might be tempted to give other applications a try nder the subscriptions.

Existing Creative Suite users aren’t being abandoned completely. Version 6 will remain available to buy for some time and Adobe says it will continue issuing security patches, but there won’t be any more bug fixes.

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