Monday, May 6, 2013

Is Adobe's future cloudy, or cloudy?

From Forbes:

This morning at its annual MAX conference in Los Angeles, the keynote of which is being streamed online, Adobe said it will no longer release new versions of its Creative Suite desktop software. Although it will continue to sell and support its latest version, all its new features will go into its Creative Cloud, the online suite of all its products.

According to Forbes, this is not a complete cloud play; some elements of Creative Cloud are loaded onto computers since "bandwidth limitations would limit performance too much on complex programs and rich media files."

Many moves from traditional distribution to the cloud involve a new pricing strategy. Instead of paying for the software once (excluding maintenance contracts), Creative Cloud has a monthly fee - about $50 for individuals, less for corporate volume discounts. The companies, naturally, hope that the monthly fees exceed the revenue that would have been achieved under the traditional model.

Forbes also notes that traditional applications will continue to be made available to certain government entities, supposedly because of government regulations that limit the use of cloud-based applications. I suspect another reason - it's hard enough to get traditional applications on the GSA schedule; who wants to fight to get a monthly subscription application on the GSA?

So, what's in it for the customers? It is claimed that new updates will be available more quickly:

The move is intended to speed the pace of innovation at Adobe, replacing one-year product cycles with continual updates online.

Of course, this will have to be handled with care. Adobe has presumably observed the loud complaints every time Facebook modifies its interface. How are paying customers going to react when their interface changes - and they have no way to opt out?

Actually, according to Lauren Weinstein, they do have a way to opt out:

Adobe gives Open Source Software one of the biggest boosts in history, as they try turn their own software into an endless money minting machine.

However, what if the open source people move to cloud-based applications also? And, as I am well aware, even open source applications and components have their own ways to make money.

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