Excited by the release of Adobe Creative Suite 6 and the prospect of instant access to new versions of the products it contains as they are released, I jumped on the Creative Cloud subscription soon after it was possible to sign-up. I own a full CS5.5 Master Collection license, so I had the option to upgrade to a normal license for ¥64,500 ($825 as from Japan I am not able to buy from the US store for just $525). With the Creative Cloud discounted down to $30/month for the first year though, it made financial sense to use the subscription model, despite my knee-jerk reaction to want to own a license, and not rent one.
Today, I was looking at my plans for the rest of the year, and noticed that I sail for Antarctica on Nov 10, for the first of three trips that will take me out of Internet reach for a total of six weeks. I wondered what would happen if I could not get online during the first month, and called Adobe Support here in Japan to ask them.
It turns out that because I sail on the 10th of November, even if I have internet access on the morning that I leave Ushuaia, if the authentication check to see if I’ve paid my subscription fee is not automatically processed while I’m online, the next time I start Photoshop, or any other Creative Suite application, they will stop working. [UPDATE: I have since received confirmation from Adobe that there is indeed a 7 day grace period before the software stops working.]
Even if I am able to authentic on that morning, I’m actually in Antarctica on Dec 10, when the next renewal will be due, so it the CS6 apps will stop working for the last week of my third expedition. After my chat with Adobe, I read online that some people believe there is a 7 day grace period if you don’t have an Internet connection, which would get me back to dry land on Dec 14, but only if I am able to authenticate on Nov 10. And, that assumes that the Adobe person I spoke with today is wrong, in that he clearly stated that there is no 7 day grace period.
I am the resident photographer on these three expeditions, giving presentations to the group on Color Management, Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik Software, and of course I will be processing some of my own images in Photoshop too. Thankfully I own my license of LR and Nik Software’s plugins, so I’m OK there, but without Photoshop, I’m basically screwed.
I did wonder about this when I signed up, but honestly thought that Adobe would build in some way to pre-authenticate before longer trips, but I was wrong, foolish, a total idiot, to sign up without confirming this. Why can’t I just call Adobe and say “Hey, I’m going away for six weeks — bill me now for the next two months, and push a longer license to my computer before I leave”?
Hell, there isn’t even a way to force the authentication process on that morning before I leave Ushuaia to ensure that I get that month’s use of the software that I would have automatically paid for!
The support engineer’s advice was to buy a full license of Photoshop, the part of the Suite that I cannot live without, and cancel my Creative Cloud subscription. I told him that I also use most of the other suite products too on a regular basis and own a CS5.5 Master Collection license, so we came to the conclusion that my only realistic choice was to cancel my Creative Cloud subscription and upgrade my Master Collection to CS6.
Of course the other option is cancel my Creative Cloud subscription and NOT upgrade to the CS6 Master Collection. My CS5.5 license is still valid after all! The only problem with this, is that as an educator as well as photographer, I really have to present using the current version of the software.
I’m a bit quick of the mark sometimes, but I’m generally a prudent business owner when it comes to finances. I calculated that based on an 18 month upgrade schedule, which is what Adobe seems to be on, I would pay the discounted ¥3,000 for 12 months (¥36,000) and the full price of ¥5,000 for a further six months (¥30,000), a total of ¥66,000, by the time a CS7 or whatever was released. This is like $25 more than the price to upgrade my Master Collection, and I’d have the benefit of rolling upgrades, so it was going to be a win/win situation.
So far I’ve paid three installments of ¥3,000 in subscription fees. If I cancel that subscription right now and upgrade, I’ll have paid ¥73,500 to be essentially where I would have been three months ago had I simply upgraded and bought my license, not the subscription. This isn’t a huge amount of money but I resent paying that difference for such a stupid reason as a flawed subscription model.
My other options are to hope that the request I made today to ensure that this functionality get’s built into the system before I leave for Antarctica, but while waiting I’ll pay another ¥9,000 in subscription fees, and I honestly don’t think that will happen, at least not in the next three months, so I’ll end up upgrading my CS5.5 license anyway, taking the final price of the CS6 Master Collection to ¥82,500. Sheesh!
I have to make up my mind over the next couple of weeks before my next subscription payment, but I’m pretty sure my only realistic option is to cut my losses, dump the cloud, and go back to the original license model. Of course then what will happen is Adobe will fix the subscription model, and I’ll be stuck with my full license, and no rolling updates, cursing Adobe again until CS7 comes out. 🙁
Don’t get me wrong, I love Adobe products, and don’t like to feel this way, let alone air these negative views publicly, but Adobe’s handling of this relatively foreseeable and not uncommon use case is just not right. I hope someone from Adobe reads this and puts the gears in motion to fix this. Unfortunately, unless I get an email in the next week or so with good news, it will probably be too late for me.
June 20, 2013 – UPDATE: Adobe have just released their Creative Cloud, the next generation of the Creative Suite, and they have built in a grace period of up to 99 days before you need an Internet connect! Read more about this in my follow up post – Why I’m Back in Love with Adobe and the Creative Cloud!