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Adobe to go subscription-only with Creative Cloud software

As Adobe finds its footing in a cloud-based world, it pulled a move that most likely will generate a backlash from the students and creative professionals that rely on its software.

Adobe announced that the Creative Suite software will be rebranded as Creative Cloud and confirmed it will no longer develop the Creative Suite line. Adobe CS6 will still be supported and available for purchase, but all future products will be provided through the subscription-only Creative Cloud service. As part of this announcement, Adobe demonstrated the first version of the new Adobe Photoshop CC.

The move shouldn't come as a huge surprise. The writing's been on the wall since the launch of the Creative Suite subscription service in 2011 and Creative Cloud in 2012. Adobe announced in March that it would end sales of boxed versions of Creative Suite and Acrobat by May 1. New products such as Muse have been exclusive to the service.

The Next Web says that its sources told them that it was a way for the company to stabilize its income, rather than the little bursts of extra revenue when a new release, but it (and I) agree that piracy is also a huge concern.

Even with discounts, Adobe's software was out of the price range for many students and entry-level professionals. It was the thing everyone knew but didn't speak aloud -- if you had a personal copy of an Adobe product, it was most likely pirated. With Creative Cloud, it is a lot easier to access Adobe's suite of software legally. Even though you're paying more over a longer period of time, $20 to $50 per month is an easier chunk to swallow than the full price of the Creative Suite software.

But that move isn't for everyone, and therein lies the problem. As a friend pointed out to me, digital artists and freelancers don't always have guaranteed income. If income runs short one month and they can't make the subscription payment, their access to the software that provides their livelihood is cut off.

Fellow TUAW writers Erica Sadun and Mel Martin echoed their displeasure for Adobe's move, saying that it took people's choice away. "Going to web-only is a bridge too far," Erica said.

Mel agreed. "I don't want a subscription. I don't want the cloud," he said. Though Adobe is pushing that way, not everyone wants to be tied to the web service.

Adobe's subscription plan is $19.99 per month for a single piece of software and $49.95 per month for access to all of its software, plus updates. If you're using CS6 now, you can upgrade to the CC software this summer without having to worry about buying additional software. Existing CS3-5 customers can get the complete Creative Cloud for $29.99 per month for the first year and CS6 for $19.99 per month. There's separate pricing tiers for businesses and education, with the education plan being $19.99 per month for the first year and $29.99 per month after that.

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