Adobe have released new versions of all of their popular development programs including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver and Adobe Illustrator. These have traditionally be available as part of a collection of software applications known as Adobe Creative Suite. With the latest release Adobe have decided to drop the Creative Suite brand and rename it to Adobe Creative Cloud. There is more to it though than just a name change. From here on in you can no longer purchase their software outright – it must now be paid for on a monthly basis as part of a subscription package. The Creative Cloud option was introduced as a secondary payment option last year and was touted to offer a cheaper setup costs for developers to get hold of their software. The problem is that now they have switched to the forced subscription model those cheap on-costs never stop coming. You are locked in to perpetual licence fees and if you stop paying then you’re left with nothing. No access to the software and no way to edit the files you have built your business around. While the old style model did indeed have very steep purchase costs (each piece of software in the suite is priced in the hundreds) you owned that software indefinitely. Traditionally new versions came out that had one or two big improvements but it was possible to invest up front and keep your software without falling too far behind the technology curve. It isn’t all doom and gloom though; there are some benefits to the new model. You can install your software on any computer you’re working on. Your files are saved to a social network Adobe recently acquired called Behance. You always have the latest updates installed. These payment model changes will have been introduced in part to curb piracy. If they can tie the service into a centralised always-online model then they can tightly control piracy. At least in theory; there were reports of the protection being broken within 24 hours. It’s likely also something to do with the fact that many of their programs are de-facto industry standards. Photoshop and Dreamweaver don’t have any meaningful competition so there is nowhere else to turn to. It’s worth noting that Adobe Lightroom – an app that faces stiff competition from Apple’s Aperture app - was spared the Cloud licence and can still be purchased outright. In a way Adobe are looking to the future and doing us all a favour. Using multiple devices is the norm now and you want everything to be available on any platform without having to worry about synchronising the devices yourself. The technology side of things is a sound idea; it’s just the never-ending payments that have the internet in uproar. The new payment model seems to be still in flux though as Adobe have reportedly been canvassing current Creative Suite owners and asking about their thoughts on lower subscription fees. They are also offering steep discounts for the first year, offering up to 60% if you own a recent version. At the moment all we can do is wait and see what happens. This isn’t a long term solution though as at some point the offers will run out, the prices will go up and there will be no other option but to pay the fees or fall behind in the technology.