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Nassim covers the accounting and tax rounds for BRW, as well as general business news. She previously worked for The Age newspaper covering general news, state politics and economics.

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Adobe accelerates shift to the cloud, revamps pricing structure

Published 07 May 2013 08:18, Updated 09 May 2013 00:45

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Adobe accelerates shift to the cloud, revamps pricing structure

Adobe managing director Paul Robson says he expects most customers will opt for Creative Cloud licensing.

Businesses using Adobe products will be enticed to use a subscription-based model, as the company today announces those who purchase the software outright from retailers will no longer get upgrades.

The global software giant is accelerating its shift to the cloud, which began with the launch of its Creative Cloud product last year.

The product is popular among media professionals and is available through a membership-based subscription service that gives users unlimited access to download and install all Adobe Creative Suite applications including Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Dreamweaver.

With Creative Cloud membership, users also have access to publishing services to deliver apps, websites and cloud storage, the ability to sync to any device, and new products and exclusive updates as soon as they’re released.

The company says while previously customers could pay a one-off price for the Adobe Creative Suite 6 and upgrade later when new versions were launched, from June they will have to be subscribers to get upgrades.

Adobe’s Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand Paul Robson says Adobe Creative Suite 6 products will continue to be supported and available for purchase at retail outlets, but it’s likely that most of their customers will now become subscribers because they won’t be able to get upgrades if they don’t.

“This is the biggest announcement I’ve seen since I started at Adobe,” Robson says. “All future technology enhancements will only be available to those that have Creative Cloud membership.”

Currently Adobe has more than a half million paid members globally, and well over 2 million free members have signed up for Creative Cloud since it was launched in April 2012.

Robson says that in Australia and New Zealand, 80 per cent of customers purchasing from Adobe’s website are already choosing Creative Cloud over more traditional versions of the product.

He says the new pricing structure has nothing to do with the recent parliamentary inquiry into IT pricing. The company has faced a barrage of complaints and was asked by the inquiry to justify why Australian customers pay up to hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars, more on software than those in the US.

Robson says the inquiry, which is yet to deliver its findings, is a totally different issue.

“I don’t think you can link an innovative new way of delivering our technology to the pricing discussions,” he told BRW.

Robson says the change started well before the parliamentary inquiry was put together. He says the new pricing structure means customers can expect get the latest innovations as soon as they become available. “Like any business, we need to deliver value to our customers,” he says. “Customers were demanding that we brought innovation to market in more timely manner.”

Creative Cloud membership is $49.99 per month (based on annual membership) but students and teachers can get Creative Cloud for $24.99 per month.

Conversely, the published price on Adobe.com store is $3949 for CS6 Master Collection electronic download.

Robson says it’s hard to say whether customers will end up paying more for the product – “It depends on how often they upgraded in the past” – but that what matters is they get a better return on their spend by getting updates as they become available, rather than having to wait 18 to 24 months for the new versions.

“The way customers interact with the product will change,” he says.

Those who don’t want to be paid members can still buy the Creative Suite 6 perpetual software license as a one off and will still get bug fixes and security updates as necessary. “All of the CS6 suites and individual products continue to be available by purchase via electronic software download from Adobe.com,” he says.

In related announcements, the company also revealed that it will update to Adobe Creative Cloud desktop applications and publishing capabilities so its customers can showcase work and get feedback on projects. Now files can be stored, synced and shared, via Creative Cloud, on Mac OS, Windows, iOS, Android and Behance.

They also launched a new Adobe Photoshop CC product as part of a major update to Adobe Creative Cloud. The product will be available to Creative Cloud members in June, with new image deblurring and sharpening features capabilities. It also gives greater accessibility to 3D tools and image analysis.

Adobe Creative Cloud subscription customers can download the new product from next month for free.

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