Creative Cloud and the capitalisation on a captive audience

Adobe Creative Cloud apps in a MacBook dock

Adobe shocked its Creative Cloud user base recently by informing them that using old versions of the software they’d been dutifully paying for was illegal and they could be sued by a mysterious third party.

In an email to Gizmodo, Adobe had this to say:

“Adobe recently discontinued certain older versions of Creative Cloud applications. Customers using those versions have been notified that they are no longer licensed to use them and were provided guidance on how to upgrade to the latest authorized versions. Unfortunately, customers who continue to use or deploy older, unauthorized versions of Creative Cloud may face potential claims of infringement by third parties. We cannot comment on claims of third-party infringement, as it concerns ongoing litigation.”

This is in addition to also recently hiking the price of their subscription plans by up to 100%.

The problem, of course, is that not everyone can upgrade.

CC itself is Operating System-dependent. On Mac, the lowest OS that CC can run on is OSX High Sierra, but since High Sierra we’ve had Mojave and soon we will have Catalina. Not all Macs can be upgraded passed High Sierra and not all businesses – be they individuals or corporations – can afford to keep buying new hardware.

In addition, many pieces of software cannot function in an upgraded environment. For example, 32-bit applications won’t run on Catalina and most of us will have experienced the hassle of trying to get our trusty old software to function after an upgrade. Users are left with the decision to try and find replacements for those apps that have fallen by the wayside or to run the gauntlet of being prosecuted for not upgrading their CC.

So creatives find themselves between a rock and a hard place: you can’t work without certain types of software so you are forced to either pay the money and keep fully up-to-date, or use alternatives (such as GIMP instead of Photoshop, Open Office instead of MS Word) that can bring their own difficulties.

This is an issue that impacts the whole publishing industry, which relies heavily on CC applications such as InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, to create our products and to keep innovating. But the subscription model seems to be here to stay, so it seems all we can do as an industry is to keep abreast of these changes and offset the outlay by making the most of the features and benefits that come with the latest releases.

Photo credit: Matan Segev from Pexels