Adobe Creative Cloud: eminently unsuitable for New Zealand small businesses?

The reviews of Adobe's new “cloud”-enabled premier design product are arriving—and they're not pretty. By forcing customers dependent on the traditionally-licensed Adobe Creative Suite into a rental scheme, Adobe has released software that for many small businesses turns out to be more expensive than the outgoing product.

If anything, the following reviews are an excellent cautionary example for business owners caught up in the hype surrounding cloud computing. It's important to remember that Adobe CS and Microsoft Office have historically remained the multi-billion-dollar cash cows for Adobe and Microsoft, respectively. As noted in the below links, Adobe reported record profits in 2012—despite the global economic climate. While the cloud model undoubtedly offers certain benefits over historical software delivery methods, these vendors are not about to sacrifice the profit margins stemming from their traditionally expensive boxed products. In the case of Adobe, it's hard to view their new rental scheme as anything less than a cynical exercise to extract a predictable revenue stream from customers under the guise of a true cloud product. Microsoft has similarly indicated that a rental scheme for Microsoft Office is on the horizon (of which Office 365 is the vanguard).

Some notable points from both Ars Technica and Gary Fenton regarding Adobe Creative Cloud:

  • For businesses that have hitherto purchased a perpetual boxed license and didn't upgrade every year, Creative Cloud is more expensive
  • Creative Cloud becomes the sole license scheme—SMBs can no longer own a perpetual license, not even as an option
  • Stop paying your monthly fee and you'll lose access to the applications you were paying for
  • For SMBs that fall on financial hardship, they will have to “...choose between buying food and electricity or your monthly Adobe licensing bill. If you choose the former then your Adobe software stops working and you can’t do any work at all.”

References:

  1. Ars Technica review of Adobe CC
  2. Gary Fenton's blog on Adobe CC