It Can Always Be Better

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Adobe Ripping Off Customers

Elf Steals the Wine by Art Explosion
This month, Adobe—the company that creates programs such as Photoshop—has announced that customers will no longer be able purchase licenses to use their software. Instead, customers will need to "subscribe" to their slightly buggy software after versions CS6.

First of all, a subscription is a misnomer. When you subscribe to a magazine, does the publisher go to your house and demand you return the issues you read over the years? No, this is a money hustle. It is a renting service. We rent a movie and it must be returned (or rights to play it are revoked).

Second, most of us honest folk who pay for the software over the years, don't always upgrade. I don't upgrade until I must—due to operating system requirements or special features. Adobe's $20/month renting fee gives me a bunch of programs I don't need and leaves me over $200 broke at the end of the year. I'm a small, small business. EVERY penny I earn must be used carefully.  Also, I don't need all those other programs.

I can go on and on. I suggest you see the firestorm of comments on their blog and Facebook page. Be sure to share your opinion on those pages (and mine, as some have done). You should also sign this online petition to let them know about your dissatisfaction (if you're dissatisfied).

Adobe has made a terrible mistake. Maximizing customer service, not profits, make a business successful. Give your customers a choice. Don't FORCE them into what you want to sell. It NEVER works. You'll gain short-term profits and long-term resentment! Adobe Cloud has brought nothing but a storm of protest—especially from small businesses that have loyally stood by them for the past 20 years.

The wisest move would be to offer both perpetual and rental licensing of their software. Fine. Dump the DVDs and boxes for downloadable software only (that's a huge burden on our environment with pollution and plastic waste). But forcing all customers to rent their software will cause a substantial loss of loyal customers and—thankfully—more opportunities for competitors to grow.

I encourage my students and customers to re-assess alternatives to Adobe Photoshop such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, Paintshop Pro, ACDSee, Pixelmator, Gimp and others. Comment with your experiences and alternative recommendations please. I will warn those of you who require CMYK, Lab and other color space conversion functions—such as myself—the alternatives limited. Yes, GIMP has a plug-in, however, I have found it very difficult to install and use (hopefully that will change). CMYK is the primary deal-breaker for me.

Below are responses from some Photoshop competitors—and other companies—regarding the Adobe rental service:

PhotoLine was recently shared with me. They claim to have CMYK and Lab functionality. I still need to review it. Post your comments below if you have an opinion.

Pixelmator says they want your business and will not make you a software sharecropper:

Corel says subscription or perpetual license: You should have a choice (but what about Apple computer users?). FYI, they don't mention their highly underrated, fanstastic Photoshop alternative, PaintShop Pro. Imagine a Photoshop like program for only $60. That's Corel.

Microsoft sympathizes with with little people, but arrogantly states that we, the customer, are "not yet ready" for the subscription model. Well, la-dee-da! Typical giant corporation haughtiness.

Don't forget to sign this online petition to let Adobe know your opinion about the rental scheme.


Vivian S. Bedoya said...

I am a "starving artist." Paying $240 per year for Photoshop CC is not cost-effective for me and I think it is highly unfair that current upgrades to CS6 have only been made available to current Cloud subscribers. Adobe's new policy is elitist and short-sighted and I agree with you - they are making a terrible mistake!

Eric Basir said...

My comment to Scott Kelby of NAPP:

Mr. Kelby, you cannot blame us or Adobe for the objections to your stance. YOU made the choice to support an extortion scheme by Adobe that many small businesses such as myself cannot afford (especially those of us who have been members of NAPP for many years #778933). I can also speak for the students I teach and they will not go for this new software rental nonsense ($20 per month ain't chump change for the majority of us).

If you don't like the push-back and the uncivilized behavior, then stand up for your constituency. Stand up for good business practices. Speak like Moses to Pharoah! I've had to bite the bullet in business from time to time. Yeah, you might lose some money and sponsors. But you'll do the right thing and that will bring peace of mind and even greater support from your members (From what I see on the NAPP Facebook page, I see many of them are threatening to quit their memberships—including myself).

If you look at it from the little person's point of view, you'll understand. So think about it this weekend. Consider coming out for US. Weight the pros and the cons—for the long term. If you speak against them, you'll probably turn the tide of anger against NAPP and Adobe into a tidal wave of support for NAPP—which in turn, might force Adobe to go back to selling and renting their software! If they hang themselves, then you'll have the masses on your side to learn more about the fantastic new alternatives to the Adobe monopoly. Join the revolution, my man. It's always better on the other side.

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