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Tech Monday, April 23rd 2012 at 8:30 am

Adobe’s CS6 Will Feature Subscription Model, Cloud-Based Features

Adobe, the makers of such beloved software as Photoshop, is announcing their latest bundle of artistic software today: Creative Suite 6. While it will feature new tools and improvements over the older versions, the biggest news is that the software will now be available on a subscription basis and feature cloud storage, synching, and editing options. 

While the company says that it intends to offer a traditional boxed version of its software, Adobe hopes to see increased sales by offering their software on a more flexible basis. Now, users can purchase the suite of tools for $49.99 a month, with an annual subscription fee, or $79.99 for a month-to-month subscription with no fee. U.S. customers can also purchase CS 3, 4, 5, and 5.5 for $29.99 per month, though this is described as “introductory” and will likely be subject to change in the future.

Photoshop, the most popular piece of software in the Adobe arsenal, will be available for a stand-alone subscription of $19.99 a month with an annual subscription fee, or $29.99 without the fee on a month-to-month basis.

The move to a subscription model will be optional; users will continue to be able to purchase the software bundled for between $1,300 and $2,600 depending on the bundle or with steep discounts available for students.

However, purchasing on the subscription model is intended to provide benefits to the user as well. For one thing, updates will be pushed more frequently to subscribers than non-subscribers. Indeed, Lightroom 4 and Adobe HTML 5 development tool Edge will not be available at launch, but subscribers will receive them as soon as they are completed. What’s more, subscribers will receive every single piece of the Adobe’s creative software — not even the $2,600 bundle can boast that.

Additionally, cloud subscribers will get access to specialized tools and services. Adobe will provide subscribers with 20GB of online storage for their work, which can be edited on the cloud from the Adobe mobile apps. These files can also be shared with clients and collaborators from their home on the cloud as well. Web hosting services, one-on-one assistance from Adobe reps, and over 700 fonts in the Typekit software will also be available to subscribers.

Adobe’s pricing models have always been interesting. Their practice, for instance, of offering discounts of over 50% for students has ensured that their software become industry standards, and has kept generations of artists and designers using their products. By offering a subscription platform, Adobe appears to be opening the door to an even wider base of users, giving them the flexibility to more-or-less pay what they want, when they want.

The pricing model might also curb some software piracy, though TechCrunch quotes Adobe senior marketing director Scott Morris as saying that isn’t a primary goal. While the fees that Adobe is asking probably aren’t enough to disuade most casual users from pirating their software, it does seem low enough to at least take a bite out of that market.

Though Adobe has announced these products and services, some of the annual fees involved remain unstated. What’s more, there are no release dates for any of these products and services, just a vague reference to it being available within the next 30 days. That aside, this move by Adobe could be a real coup in the software market, and may be demonstrating a new way for people to interact with their digital tools.

(via Adobe, TechCrunch via Techmeme)

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