What Adobe Creative Suite’s Move to the Cloud Actually Means for You

Illustration of Creative Suite icons floating in oceanBy Adam Dachis from LifeHacker.com:

Adobe Photoshop, along with all other Creative Suite applications, just made a move to the cloud. Adobe decided to discontinue software you can actually buy so they can force you to rent the applications for a monthly fee. This change comes with a number of problems but also some advantages. Here’s what the change means to you.

When Adobe announced Creative Cloud one year ago, we analyzed the cost of their new service offering to see if it actually saved you money. If you’re a new user, we found you’d save a decent amount of money if you opted for cloud services. If you already owned pretty much any version of Creative Suite or an Adobe application, however, paying for an upgrade that you actually get to keep was a better prospect. But even when Creative Cloud costs less, you don’t get to keep what you pay for. The moment you discontinue your service you’re left with nothing.

While Creative Cloud forces you to rent rather than buy if you want to use Adobe applications, Adobe sweetened the pot with additional cloud services to help make this potential turd easier to swallow. You get 20GB of cloud-based storage, you can sync your work to the web, you can use collaboration tools to track changes and communicate with team members and clients, and a variety of other tools and services. If you use the vast majority of Adobe applications for all your work, Creative Cloud offers a lot of bang for your buck. If you only need a few apps, however, you’re not getting a great deal.

So, what will you have to pay? Here’s the breakdown:

  • If you own Creative Suite 3, 4, 5, or 5.5, you’ll pay $30 per month for the first year and $50 per month after that.
  • If you own Creative Suite 6, you’ll pay $20 per month for the first year and $50 per month after that.
  • If you don’t own Creative Suite or own an older version, you’ll pay $50 per month.
  • If you’re a student or educator, you’ll pay $20 per month for the first year if you sign up before June 25th. After June 25th, or after your first year, you’ll pay $30 per month.
  • If you just want access to single apps, like Photoshop, you’ll pay $20 per month per app.

Current pricing may cause confusion due to the discounts, but in the future (after July 31st, 2013) you’ll pay $50 per month as a normal person and $30 per month as a student or educator. (Adobe also offers special business pricing at $60 per seat per month, but you can learn about that on their price chart if you fall under that category.)

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