Yesterday's announcement by Adobe that it will cease 'perpetual license' sales of Photoshop and its Creative Suite counterparts has generated considerable backlash here on dpreview and across the web. With such a significant change in store, we spoke today with Adobe VP of Creative Solutions, Winston Hendrickson and Bryan O'Neill Hughes, Senior Product Manager for Photoshop for Adobe's response to the uproar.
At the conclusion of the interview, we've put together a brief set of FAQs regarding Adobe's Creative Cloud announcement.
Were you expecting such a negative response from the photographic community?
We expected a higher degree of this type of reaction from the hobbyist photographic community because currently there's not a lot of photography-specific value in our subscription products. That's why we've taken the unusual steps of Tom Hogarty's appearance on The Grid [a Scott Kelby webisode] showing potential Lightroom CC features and the Photoshop Sneak Peek where we showed new features like Camera Shake reduction.
Is a subscription model less prone to piracy?
While service options that connect to our servers are inherently less prone to piracy, once a user downloads software to their computer the piracy threat is the same as for our perpetual products.
The reason behind the subscription-only move is the logistics of supporting two sets of software. The last 12 months of development was brutal. And there were results we were not happy with. We have decided to focus on the CC products.
As far as the future of CS applications, in his Adobe MAX keynote, David Wadhwani said, 'We have no plans' to continue perpetual licenses. We are not ruling that out in the future.
How do you justify the price increase to photographers?
Last year we actually cut the price of Lightroom in half in order to open it up to a broader market of photographers.
What assurances can our readers have that Lightroom will not become a subscription-only option?
[Bryan O'Neil Hughes] Lightroom is for photographers. And the Lightroom team is very aware of the reaction by photographers to Photoshop CC. We don't have plans to make Lightroom a subscription-only option but we do envision added functionality for CC members using Lightroom.
What support can CS6 users expect?
Barring something unforeseen from Apple and Microsoft, we plan to update Photoshop CS6 for the next Mac and Windows operating system releases. Once Camera Raw 8 is completed for Photoshop CC, we are going to release a version of it for CS6 that includes any new camera support but without any of the new CC tools and features.
In addition, DNG Converter will remain a free option to convert new Raw file formats for use in older versions of Photoshop.
What happens to Photoshop CC and my files if I cancel my subscription?
We do not delete any files or software from your computer. You will not be able to use the software but the files you've created and saved on your hard drive are left intact. And you don't need a valid license or Internet connection to uninstall the software.
What can you say to users concerned that a subscription model removes their option to at least stick with an older version of software if they no longer want to continue paying for it?
That's the trade-off for the benefits of a continuously updated application. At the time you decide to stop paying for it, yes you lose access, but after, say 12 months, you've ended up with a different product than the one you subscribed to, because of the new features that have been added. And for existing perpetual users, Photoshop CS can co-exist alongside and independently from Photoshop CC.
One final point I'd like to address is the misconception that you have to be continuously connected to the Internet to use a CC application. Monthly subscribers can go for as long as 30 days without connecting to the Internet for license validation. Users with an annual commitment can go for as long as 99 days.