Creative Cloud : And then it all stopped working...

Readers know that I believe that the Creative Cloud is not a good deal for Photographers. It's good for Adobe,but for others not so much. One of our subscribers, Steven, is a Creative Cloud customer and shared a really unpleasant surprise with me today.

Like many independents, digital editing isn't his sole focus. He has a business to run, content to deliver and bills to pay. He subscribed to the Creative Cloud believing that the monthly payment model made sense and has not raised any concerns about not being able to use his files if his subscription is not renewed. About one-fifth into his first year subscription, he got a nasty surprise.

When launching Photoshop in Creative Cloud, that he had been using successfully for two months, he got a pop-up and I quote...

"Soon upon opening PS I got a pop-up message telling me my installed video card of 256MB's did not meet the newly updated requirements of 512MB's for 3D use in PS."

So here is a Creative Cloud customer, who bought in to the plan and two months in to a twelve month subscription, Adobe made a change that made his existing hardware unusable. It's not like he was advised that this would happen or that he had the option not to use the most current code as he would on a perpetual license model, or even defer the update until he was in a position to upgrade his video card, Adobe put the update in and left him hanging.

He was very frustrated by this action since he had NO CHOICE in the matter. He did go out and buy (inconveniently) a new video card, get it installed, do the dance of drivers and then ensure that the hardware change didn't break any other applications he depended on and he is back to work. He's also pissed off, and rightly so. To the point that he has been in contact with the folks at Corel to determine if they can provide a solution in their offerings to generate the OBJ file format he needs for his 3D work. If Corel delivers, he won't renew with Adobe. They will have lost a customer to a competitor and that customer will tell others about his very negative experience.

In the perpetual license model, we all understand that an upgrade in software may require a change in hardware and may choose to hold off on a software upgrade so we can budget the hardware expense and make a business justification. Steven was one guy. What if your whole business of 100 machines were suddenly unable to use the software you were paying subscription for without prior notice and without any control over the situation on your part.

I get that Adobe says that the benefit of Creative Cloud is that you get the newest, hottest features, but what if your gear cannot keep up, or they are irrelevant to your business need? The Creative Cloud model as the sole mechanism of software delivery is flawed and all the spin doesn't change reality for a very large proportion of the user base.

Oh and just an aside to all those who may read my posts and who decided that because Scott Kelby decided to invest his time and try to clarify some of the very muddy waters around Creative Cloud, it was perfectly ok to go online and eviscerate him personally, give your collective heads a shake. You don't have to agree with Mr. Kelby's points, but he isn't Adobe. He is not responsible for the decision Adobe made, and in fact, I get the very strong perception that he recommended against the action, partly because he said publicly he was not convinced that Creative Cloud was good for photographers. Taking your anger out on Mr. Kelby is misdirected fire. The people you should be flaming are Adobe's leadership team.

I have met Mr. Kelby. We aren't friends. He doesn't know me from Adam. I have been one of a zillion people he has trained. I have no dog in that hunt, but tactless is still tactless.