Adobe’s potential misstep [or] a surefire way for designers and agencies to move back to Quark

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With the potential success of Adobe Muse (code name, not final name) which will be released with a subscription service, there’s some whispers being leaked that they may go to subscription services for ALL their products.

Adobe has billed a subscription model for it’s software as being a good thing “you’ll only have to pay for the months you use it,” which, if you’re like me, or if you are an agency, with almost every design program that is every month, hence, not sure how that’s really a good thing.

Secondly, all programs will need to phone home, like Adobe Muse does, to even launch and run. This, right here, is NOT a good thing. I’d love to say I work from remote beaches all the time when I design and, in fact, this has happened, not often enough, but has. It’ll do me no good to be far away from humanity wanting to do some uninterrupted design only I can’t because I can’t launch the program I need. In fact as plugged in as we are in 2012, truth be told, not everything always has an up and working internet, I know from friends at agencies and other freelancers, connections aren’t guaranteed. And in fact during my beta testing of Muse I’ve had connections in cafes drop off and suddenly the program goes unresponsive, a very unnerving feeling to think “am I going to lose this work?” The ramifications certainly won’t sit well any older school designer who’s conditioned to love one’s hard drive no matter how good cloud computing is.

There is, in fact, something to be said still for owning physical copies of your software or, at the very least, a file on your hard drive that is yours to back up and will run regardless of if your computer is on the ‘Net or not. Not to mention, forcing people to upgrade seems to be Adobe’s business model of late, which seemingly only proves they’ve run out of creative ideas, certainly most new features aren’t necessary, most the good things have been thought up during the heyday of Adobe when I worked there.

It’s like selling a highly reliable Toyota Corolla, why would someone buy a new car when their old one can last seemingly forever? Not connecting the dots saying Adobe is as reliable, a Corolla doesn’t crash because you’ve run a design with placed raster image beyond the pasteboard. Among designers some feel the best Adobe versions are in the past, some swear by Photoshop 7, I’ve a pretty solid argument Adobe CS 3 was the pinnacle of the suite from a coding standpoint. A problem comes in that  many service providers and designers can’t necessarily afford to upgrade every version. With the potential of how files created in a subscription environment work you’d really be locked into your versions, but of course, this is exactly what Adobe is banking on, literally.

Adobe’s brass seems to be more interested in appeasing stockholders than their user base with quality software, not the good decent people trying to make good products but the top people it’s about how do they capture sales and make money. I will defend one upside to this model, though there are always those with the skills to work around it, piracy will be greatly curtailed if the programs need to phone home and handshake at every startup. Just the same again, those wanting to work without the applications having to authenticate with Adobe HQ will be frustrated and look elsewhere, only sadly there isn’t a lot of competition for Adobe, at least, not yet, and maybe it’d work out as Adobe needs a new Macromedia, maybe then

they’ll stop writing such bloated pieces of… software.

Mind you, none of this is set in stone, probably not for Adobe Creative Suite due out this year, but potentially soon. Subscriptions are best left for magazines, online or in print, than for software. Some of us like to buy our tools and keep them for as long as we want. If I want a nice hammer I don’t buy one wondering if I may need to pound nails next month I’ll have to pay to use it next month and, next nicer model hammer comes out, I’ll need to pay for that too. Software is a tool for the job, let us choose how we want to use those tools Adobe.