By Barry Levine / CIO Today. Updated May 07, 2013.
Just as the music industry moved from CDs to online delivery, so is the software industry. In one of the most historic indications of that shift, Adobe formally announced this week that it would no longer package a Creative Suite of its creative applications, but would instead deliver them only via subscriptions through its growing Creative Cloud.
The applications will now have CC after their name instead of CS, such as Photoshop CC. While Adobe will still sell the Creative Suite 6 boxed set, it will not issue any updates, except possibly for bug fixes, and 6 will be the last disc set. In addition to Photoshop, new cloud-downloadable applications are InDesign CC, Illustrator CC, Dreamweaver CC and Premiere Pro CC.
In addition, Adobe is discontinuing its Web design/prototyping tool, Fireworks. The company has indicated that there was too much functional overlap with such other Adobe tools as Photoshop, Edge Reflow and Illustrator.
'Makes Exceptional Sense'
A variety of new features have been added to the Creative Cloud applications, such as greater Touch Type font control in Illustrator CC, updated interfaces in InDesign CC and Dreamweaver CC, or a new, noise-minimizing Smart Sharpen tool in Photoshop. Standard Photoshop and Photoshop Extended have been merged into one product. There will also be expanded integration between the CC applications and Adobe's Behance social community.
The subscription cost will be $49.99 per month for all the apps, or subscription to one app for $19.99 per month. Existing owners of CS 3 or later can acquire a subscription of $29.99 per month in the first year.
Al Hilwa, program director for Application Development Software research at IDC, said Adobe's move reflected a broader "market trend overall," with packaged software increasingly being delivered from the cloud.
He told us the complete shift to the cloud "makes exceptional sense" for Adobe for several reasons. First, its launch of Creative Cloud in April 2012 led to "a lot of adoption" by users, Hilwa said, possibly even more than Adobe had first expected.
A Rebuilt Flash
Hilwa said cloud delivery would also allow the company to "speed up its release cycles," which is consistent with the increasing "velocity of software cycles" that is being experienced across the industry. Hilwa pointed out that the "velocity of software R&D is such that you can't take your foot off the pedal, but have to have a steady stream of revenue to keep R&D funded."
Creative Cloud, Hilwa noted, has also led to the addition "of a whole bunch of services," including collaboration, storage, and social networking, all of which "have made the Adobe cloud a whole lot stickier."
He said it appears users "generally love Creative Cloud, although some users prefer a perpetual license through owning a boxed set" instead of a subscription, and "may be vocal about the switch."
Adobe has also announced a complete rebuild to its Flash Professional. Now a 64-bit application, the new Flash sports a new interface and enhanced HTML5 support.
The Creative Cloud and Flash announcements were made this week at Adobe's own promotional and educational event dubbed "MAX, The Creativity Conference," running May 4-8 in Los Angeles.