That's because Adobe sees the cloud as the future—its primary delivery system for software, services, social networking, community, and ultimately, increased value to its customers.
The buzz around Creative Cloud , which began last fall, has gained momentum as its designated launch time approaches—within the first half, and before the summer of , at a date yet to be announced. Meantime, Adobe has also confirmed that a new upgrade of its massive Creative Suite will also be released at the same time. With the launch of Creative Suite 6 now on the horizon, Adobe is tying its major product line into its overall cloud strategy.
Not only will Adobe CS6 be released simultaneously with the new Creative Cloud , it will constitute the main component of Creative Cloud.
Stick with Creative Suite or take a chance on Creative Cloud? Suite or cloud: It will include new products and services, new features as they become available, and new resources to assist creatives in defining effective workflows. Eventually, it will also offer tools for sharing, training, and community. Adobe sees Creative Cloud as a vehicle for solving the creative community's digital publishing dilemma and helping users effectively deliver content to every medium.
For that task, desktop tools alone are no longer going to cut it. Adobe's mobile Touch apps are all available on the Android OS. The upcoming Creative Suite 6, by itself, will look familiar. Everything users have come to expect about it will be there: All of the apps will be updated to offer new features, improvements, bug fixes, and showcase specific user requests. Prices will be comparable. Or they can move to Creative Cloud, and that will be subscription-based and component-based.
If they do that, they will get all of the CS6 apps as part of the membership plus a bunch of services that help tie all these things together and solve workflow challenges.
Breaking the upgrade cycle With Creative Cloud, Adobe also attempts to answer ongoing pricing concerns. While users have increasingly questioned Creative Suite's high prices and aggressive upgrade schedule, Creative Cloud is priced to move. With the subscription, you get access to the entire Creative Suite 6 Master Collection, 20GB of online storage, complete device to computer sync capability, services like Business Catalyst for Web hosting and Typekit for Web fonts, the Digital Publishing Suite Single Edition, all the mobile Touch apps, and eventually, services such as community, training, and support.
If you want a month-to-month contract, it will cost more, though exact pricing has not yet been determined. Team subscribers will get features that individuals do not, such as collaborative workspaces and IT controls.
Those who need more than 20GB of online space can purchase it. Whereas with the traditional license you get two copies per license for a single platform, the subscription lets you download both Mac and Windows versions. The beauty of the Creative Cloud, said Morris, is that this summer's launch will be just a starting point. On day one when we we ship the initial version, certain things will be available, but new things will be added all the time.
That's over. Adobe is now folding that mid-term update strategy into Creative Cloud. It will also include such non-suite tools as Edge , Muse , Acrobat , and Lightroom.
Muse, the Web development tool that will emerge from beta and launch as a standalone product alongside CS6, has always been planned as subscription only. You will be able to subscribe to Muse by itself or get it via a subscription to Creative Cloud. Adobe is still considering the pricing details for Muse. Despite the benefits of Creative Cloud, some people will not need it. Those who use one program exclusively, and who are not interested in the social networking or training benefits of the community, will likely do just as well with the traditional license.
However, they will have to wait for a shrink-wrapped upgrade for any updates to their package. On the horizon Creative Community, a social networking service that Adobe is coordinating for the cloud service, will be in the planning stages at launch. This would be a basic level of video training, delivered on-demand by top tier training providers so Creative Cloud members can avoid paying additional subscription fees to third-party vendors.
This part of Creative Cloud is still in the evaluation stage, and no agreements have been inked yet. We won't want to compete with Lynda. What should you do? There's no single easy answer, no one way to look at the Creative Cloud offering and make a hard judgment about what is right for everyone.
However, customer feedback over time appears to have nudged Adobe in the direction of offering many value-added incentives to encourage people to at least consider the Creative Cloud—and these are indeed compelling. Linking the entire Creative Suite to the cloud, and making updates perpetually available at a reasonable price, sounds attractive, especially if it's targeted to non-technical creatives and paired with non-CS6 products such as Muse, Edge, Lightroom, and Business Catalyst.
For artists and designers who need tools like Illustrator or After Effects only occasionally, there's no decision needed on whether to spring for an expensive program to cover those contingencies. With a Creative Cloud subscription, you can download and use any program you want, anytime you want, at no extra charge. Adobe is counting on the social networking and training components of the Creative Cloud to be a big draw. With the Community, you can show your work, have it critiqued, follow designers you like, and have backup and support as you work through your projects.
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