Li­censed to win

Finweek English Edition - - TECHNOLOGY - Simon Din­gle si­mond@fin­week.co.za

Adobe, mak­ers of Pho­to­shop and other pro­fes­sional cre­ative soft­ware, has long faced a daunt­ing chal­lenge – its soft­ware is priced for pro­fes­sional use, but many con­sumers want to use it too. This has led to its soft­ware top­ping the list of most pi­rated. Now Adobe has en­tered the soft­ware sub­scrip­tion arena and taken a gi­ant leap in the right di­rec­tion.

Now, in­stead of out­right buy­ing ver­sions of Adobe’s soft­ware such as Light­room, Au­di­tion, Dreamweaver or the afore­men­tioned Pho­to­shop, cus­tomers can in­stead pay a sub­scrip­tion to use said soft­ware.

In­di­vid­ual pro­fes­sion­als can ei­ther li­cense the en­tire Cre­ative Suite – cur­rently ver­sion CS6 – of soft­ware and un­lock us­age of the whole col­lec­tion, or sin­gle soft­ware ti­tles can be li­censed on a monthly ba­sis. There is also a team li­cence that un­locks Adobe’s full suite of soft­ware for a group of users.

For about $50 – call it R500 – a month, you get ac­cess to the whole suite, but, and it’s a big ‘ but’, you have to com­mit for a year – which for many users will negate the ben­e­fit of a sub­scrip­tion model, which you’d ide­ally want to turn on and off as and when you need it. Still, it does make the soft­ware far more af­ford­able for many peo­ple, as op­posed to paying the mas­sive up­front cost of the bun­dled soft­ware.

For pro­fes­sion­als who rely on Adobe soft­ware for their work, the sub­scrip­tion model al­lows you to view the soft­ware as an on­go­ing op­er­a­tional ex­pense as op­posed to a large capex re­quire­ment – and that will make sense for a lot of free­lancers and small busi­nesses. It also means that you al­ways have the lat­est ver­sion of the soft­ware in­stead of hav­ing to pay for ex­pen­sive up­grades from time to time.

An­other op­tion is to li­cense in­di­vid­ual soft­ware ti­tles for $20 a month on a month-to-month ba­sis, which will be a far bet­ter op­tion for most pro­fes­sion­als who don’t need the whole suite. Fi­nally, some­one who needs Pho­to­shop for a short pe­riod of time can pay a nom­i­nal fee for its use and turn the monthly sub­scrip­tion on and off as re­quired. Once you have cho­sen a package and signed up, the Adobe Cre­ative Cloud ex­pe­ri­ence is very slick. From the Adobe Ap­pli­ca­tion Man­ager app you

can down­load and up­date all the soft­ware you have ac­cess to and pack­ages also in­clude ac­cess to Cre­ative Cloud stor­age, which is kind of like Drop­box, but de­signed specif­i­cally for cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als col­lab­o­rat­ing in teams or stor­ing work on­line for other rea­sons.

Adobe also has a free package with 2GB of stor­age to use with the 30day, full-func­tion trial of its soft­ware. Hot tip! This is where any­one should start, since you ef­fec­tively get your first month with the soft­ware for free.

Adobe is do­ing things right with Cre­ative Cloud and my first month with the ser­vice has been su­perb. For cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als this is a breath of fresh air.

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