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Microsoft reacts to Adobe abandoning packaged software

by Mark Tyson on 8 May 2013, 12:20

Tags: Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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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.

HEXUS Forums :: 15 Comments

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Well that coincides nicely with our planned move away from a very buggy Dreamweaver
I can see the benefit of this for businesses but not for home use.

I do not mind buying software that I only use infrequently (as long as not too much) but I am not going to pay a monthly rental. So for example I have Office 2007 at home, it means I can work from home on documents without bothering with remote access to my office server. If paying for it monthly I will move to free alternatives
It's perfect for me, already been on it two years (as CS5.5 sub firstly then CC). I am surprised Adobe haven't offered different tiers for people who don't use most of the programs. It's upset a lot of the mographics community, quite a lot of it is totally misunderstanding the product - “OMG ADOBE IS TAKING AWAY MY SOFTWARE IF I DON'T SUBSCRIBE!”- , some are fair concerns about pricing etc.

Risky move, but I actually think they'll attract the pirates and those who couldn't afford it previously but can swallow the smaller outlay to get going.
I think this will deter the pirates more than attract them, they could change the protection methods more easily than if it was packaged. I reckon that IS the main reason they've gone for a subscription model…
I am surprised Adobe haven't offered different tiers for people who don't use most of the programs.
This. At the moment it's like getting the full Sky package or nothing. I might be tempted if they let you increase the fees on an app by app basis or like £10/month for one, £20/month for three, that kind of thing. Would actually be even more tempted if Lightroom was in there as well as that's the one Adobe app I use regularly.