Adobe Creative Cloud: shot in the arm of software piracy?

Approximately six months after UK, USA, Australia and several other countries embraced the SaaS model from Adobe, India got its share this week when Adobe India launched its Creative Cloud offerings.

16 Mar 2013 | By Supreeth Sudhakaran

Creative Cloud is a membership-based service that provides users with unlimited access to download and install all Creative Suite desktop applications, Photoshop Lightroom, Adobe Muse, Adobe Edge tools and services; game developer tools and integration with Photoshop Touch apps. Creative Cloud members will get access to Adobe's latest products, services, features, and workflows as soon as they are available and will no longer have to wait months for the latest innovations. This model enables members to automatically receive updates as and when they become available in the release cycle.

The company announced a very attractive promotional pricing that works out to be approximately Rs 2885 per month for its Creative Cloud for Teams (CCT) offering targeted at teams and SMB customer base, if purchased before 30 April. The regular pricing for CCT would work out to be approximately Rs 4040 per month once the promotions end on 30 April. Additionally, the members also get cloud storage of 100GB (per CCT user) along with the ability to sync to any device enabling them to access files anywhere anytime.

Speaking at the launch, Umang Bedi, managing director - South Asia, Adobe said, “We’ve seen an incredible uptake, with more than one million individuals in the US and globally joining Adobe Creative Cloud, of this, 3,26,000 are first time paid users. Every week since then, has seen an addition of 10,000 new paid subscribers which raked in $155 million in the first 6 months.”

 “Our goal is to now make Creative Cloud the ultimate hub for creative professionals in India, where they can access the world’s best tools; store and collaborate across their workplace and ultimately showcase their creations.  With the easy availability of our products through the Creative Cloud and the attractive price points, we do see a significant impact on the piracy rate of our products”, he further added.

 Commenting on the launch Sanchit Vir Gogia, Principal Analyst, IDC India said, “Adobe’s Creative Cloud brings with it great promises for the Indian market, where the product has traditionally been positioned as a premium offering. With its subscription-based pricing model, Creative Cloud brings down the total cost of ownership for creative professionals and organizations substantially.”

Now, while the current launch is concentrated towards the large market of small and medium business houses, Adobe also announced its plan to launch the Creative Cloud for Individuals (CCI) offering in India in the near future through its online store, followed with an enterprise solutions. CCI users will be able to avail monthly or annual membership and get 20 GB of cloud storage along with all the major features of Creative Cloud.

What this means for the printing and publishing industry?

Expand offerings

Earlier purchasing an authentic suite would have hurt the budget of start-ups and SMB enterprises, therefore, most such enterprises invested only in a part of the suit and not the whole package. With the Creative Cloud, enterprises can expand their portfolio from just designing and visualisations, to web and app development.

No boxed solutions

Adobe confirms that in the future, the company doesn’t plan to offer ‘boxed’ software solutions. Rather, it is contemplating to strengthen a model where users would be able to walk-in and purchase activation key from the channel partners, and download the software from the online store. However, the issue here is that the company would need to invest in spreading and strengthening its network of channel partners, as Adobe software are used by almost all size of business enterprises dealing with designing, printing and publishing. Also, the issue of bandwidth still remains a major concern in the “download from online store” model.

Hassle-free subscription management? Not exactly.

With Creative Cloud, Adobe offers one-point billing and account management; thus, eradicating the issue of remembering the dates for renewing subscriptions. However, you can also draw an inference from this that you will no longer be able to access your works saved on the Cloud, once the subscription expires.

Adobe answers this on its forum by stating, “However, if you saved your work to your computer, you will continue to have access to those files. You will also have access to the same benefits as a free Creative Cloud member, which include 2GB of storage space (reduced from 20GB), the ability to sync and store your files, access to a free 30-day trial of the desktop software that has not already been installed and provisioned as part of your paid membership, and access to the free level of services included with Creative Cloud.”

Content sharing - anywhere, anytime

With the Creative Cloud, you would not only be able to share the files with your clients at different stages of the job but also receive their comments on the work. In addition, to comment or look at the work, your client wouldn’t need to have the software installed on his device. For example, if you send in a .psd file to your client, he will be able to access the file on his browser. There are options where he can feed-in his comments on the file and send it back to you, and also see the different layers in the file.

End of pirated software?

Software piracy is a termite that has been eating a major chunk of profits from the pockets of software solution providers. With the SaaS models like Creative Cloud, the major reason for piracy—expensive software— is hit at its roots hard. However, the flip side is that it is difficult to change the psyche of a user who is habitual of using ‘crack’ versions of software. Nevertheless, the non-availability of boxed software and low pricing together can bring down the rate of piracy significantly.  In addition, a single licence purchase can be used on both Mac and Windows based systems.

Adobe also confirmed that any future updates and software acquisition and development will be made part of the Creative Cloud. Thus, the users will have the option to keep their design-rooms updated with the latest versions of the software.  

Return of money-back option

Adobe claims that if you purchase a yearly license and six months down the line decide to ditch it, you can do so. During the press conference, when Adobe representatives were asked the same questions they said, “If you cancel the yearly subscription after six months of usage, we will return you half of the remaining six month’s subscription value.”


While I do expect the wedding photography industry to take up the subscription-based model more seriously and opt in large numbers, whether SMB will make a quick-switch from pirated to subscription models is still debatable.

However, this move generates constant revenue for Adobe as users who have purchased the licence are more likely to renew it with SaaS model of businesses. Nevertheless, the hopes of seeing a pay-per-use or pay-per-day model has been washed away by Adobe, as it feels that the lowest usage period for its software is one month. That’s a shot in the arm of hobbyists and enthusiasts.