Yesterday Adobe announced that from next month the company would move to a subscription only software sales model. Standalone Creative Suite software would no longer be developed but bug fixes for this expensive packaged software would be available to people who had bought it. All new versions of software in the Creative Suite would be available only to subscribers of the Adobe Creative Cloud. Today a representative of the Microsoft Office team has commented that while the benefits of a continually updated subscription are clear it is too early to abandon packaged software; it is not progressive, but premature.
Adobe abandons perpetually licensed software
Adobe’s Scott Morris, senior director of product marketing for Creative Cloud, said “We have no current plans to release another perpetual release of the CS tools and suites. Creative Cloud is going to be our sole focus moving forward”. The popularity of the Creative Cloud has apparently surprised Adobe and it means that CS6 will be the last perpetually licensed version of the Creative Suite which includes famous creative software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and Premiere.
Morris explained the quicker than expected move towards subscription only software and services; “We expected it to be a couple years before this happened. But we were surprised by how successful Creative Cloud has been. We know that's going to be a difficult transition for some customers, but we think it's going to be the best move in the long haul.” Furthermore subscription fees are going to improve Adobe’s cash flow with a smoother source or recurring revenue. “That's one reason Wall Street responded very positively,” noted the product marketing boss. So products that were destined to become part of the “CS7” range have now been branded as Creative Cloud “CC” product versions.
Adobe’s Creative Suite is notoriously expensive, especially in the UK and Australia. This tradition is set to continue with the subscription fees of Creative Cloud, according to ZDNet calculations two or three weeks previously.
Microsoft “committed to offering choice”
In a post on the official Office Blog Microsoft took the opportunity to say that it too thinks that “subscription software-as-a-service is the future”. It said that the benefits to customers are “huge” including such things as being “always up-to-date” and also using the cloud applications wherever they go on whatever devices they are using. It took the opportunity to say that an Office 365 subscription has been chosen by “more than a quarter of consumers buying Office”.
However Microsoft also said that “unlike Adobe, we think people's shift from packaged software to subscription services will take time”. The timescale in which subscription will become the norm is expected by Microsoft to be “within a decade”. Meanwhile Microsoft is “committed to offering choice--premier software sold as a package and powerful services sold as a subscription”.
Subscription best for corporations
Both Adobe and Microsoft stress the “huge” benefits to consumers of the software subscription model. However the best reason for this model, the top listed reason of being “always up to date” isn’t that attractive to me. Just like some people skip Windows versions; I worked in the print and publishing industry (for 15 years) with heavy use of Adobe products and we would often skip one or two version updates because they offered irrelevant feature updates or even bugs and hardware incompatibility problems. We still downloaded and updated the programs we had bought with bug fix revisions etc.
Windows Blue update
In other Microsoft news the Windows 8.1 (Blue) public preview will be available to download in late June.