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Adobe’s Creative Cloud TAX: Will You Pay It, Again and Again

Photoshop and Illustrator are the BEST software available. But should I pay $900 per year, every year, for it?

I loved love Adobe. I loved Macromedia more, and when the A swallowed the M I was a bit concerned that tools like Freehand would be lost forever. Still you can’t fault a company for growing so big and powerful, can you?

Enter Adobe’s Creative Cloud.

Remember when we used to call Microsoft Office the “Office Tax?” Does this resonate with you? I’m not all that interested in paying “per month” for my software. Here’s why:

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My versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are 2+ years old. And when I bought the CS6 suite it cost me around $500. Let’s look at the The cost of Adobe’s creative suite – Adobe.com of getting this suite of products. (I only used Photoshop daily, and the others are once a month.)

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If you need more than ONE app. If you want to pay monthly rather than one big sum. You’re looking at $899.98! PER YEAR! That’s a bit steep, don’t you think?

No wonder people are selling old Adobe boxed products on Amazon and other marketplaces. I found this today, on Amazon. Adobe is quickly becoming as loathed as Microsoft.

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And no wonder people are still looking for the old, non-cloud version. It’s A LOT cheaper over the long run.

What Adobe has done is demand the corporate pricing structure from businesses large and small. It’s a lot harder to work on pirated copies of Photoshop today, if you’re in a corporation, so you’ve got to buy from Adobe. Thus, they have you over the proverbial barrel and with the Creative Cloud they are going to charge you and keep charging you forever.

Yes, I know what Adobe is saying. You get the best of all of their apps. You always have the latest version. It’s a very inexpensive way to get all the apps you need. And they’d be right, except for one glaring fact.

You will use 1 or 2 programs for 98% of your work. And for 100% of those tasks, the older, non-cloud versions, would do fine.

And Adobe has plans for that little wrinkle as well. New versions, the CC versions, of Adobe programs write a format that cannot be opened by the older “boxed” software. Sure, for a while they will make some exchange formats that allow you to export or import from the various versions. However, it will not be long before a new version of Photoshop CC will write a file format that can only be opened and used by other CC version of their software. Why wouldn’t they? Adobe is not in the business of being your friend or doing you a favor. They’ve got shareholders to please.

I like my CS-6 versions just fine. I don’t have to upgrade them or update them. I just use Photoshop as I like and go on about my business.

The real problem for Microsoft and the “Office Tax” revolt that happened was when Open Office and WordPress got so good at doing the word processing, that Office/Word was no longer required. We still don’t have a killer open source image editor. I know there’s Gimp, but let’s be real. Photoshop is the defacto standard. Until someone can give us that power, but for FREE, Adobe will remain in the toll booth, collecting their fee each month.

I hope for a better world and a software-tax-free way to make a living as a designer, marketer, and small business man.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

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How I feel about Adobe’s Creative Cloud

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