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Adobe Creative Cloud Licensing Changes

Cloud or bust?

Cloud or bust?

At this week’s MAX conference – Adobe revealed more information about their plans to move their products, and their customers, to the cloud.

They started their journey last year with their Creative Cloud for Individuals and took the next step in early 2013, with the introduction of Creative Cloud for Teams (CCfT) on VIP licensing. The announcements this week have moved Adobe, their users and the industry, at least a couple of steps further:

Creative Suite is no more.

There will be no CS7. The “CS” (Creative Suite) suffix has been replaced by “CC” (Creative Cloud) giving us PhotoShop CC, InDesign CC etc. & new editions of Adobe products will not be made available outside of the Creative Cloud.

For now, the current CS6 products will still be available for purchase via TLP and CLP licensing for the foreseeable future but, from Adobe’s blog:

“there are no plans for future releases of Creative Suite or other CS products”

So anyone wanting the new editions, which are expected to be available from June 15th 2013, will need to make the leap to the cloud & VIP licensing.

What is Creative Cloud?

Creative Cloud is a new way to obtain & license Adobe software as well as the introduction of new cloud based applications and services. It’s content is similar to Master Collection and includes:

  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • InDesign
  • Dreamweaver
  • After Effects
  • Premier Pro
  • Muse
  • Acrobat XI Pro
  • Audition
  • Bridge
  • Encore
  • Fireworks
  • Flash Builder Premium
  • Flash Pro
  • InCopy
  • Lightroom
  • Media Encoder
  • Prelude
  • SpeedGrade

It also includes a range of “Edge Tools” which are aimed at creating mobile ready content and apps. These include:

  • Edge Animate
  • Edge Inspect
  • Edge Web Fonts
  • PhoneGap Build
  • Edge Code
  • Edge Reflow
  • Typekit

Some of these apps, such as Muse, are exclusive to Creative Cloud and around 15 new cloud exclusive apps are expected to be introduced with the new release.

There are also a range of additional features and services available – one of the most interesting being cloud storage:

  • Creative Cloud for Individuals = 20GB per user
  • Creative Cloud for Teams = 100GB per user

This makes it much easier for remote teams to work together, as it gives a central point for them store, review and comment on files.

Additionally, each user gets 2 “Adobe Expert Calls” each year. This gives them 2 one-on-one sessions with an Adobe expert to help them learn new skills, uncover new features within existing apps or even start to learn a completely new application.

A full breakdown of the included apps and benefits can be found here:

Creative Cloud Evolution

Adobe have not finished their move to the Cloud and as such, the 2nd half of 2013 will see a number of additions to their Creative Cloud strategy including:

Point Products

Currently only the Creative Cloud suite is available but later this year will see the introduction of point products such as PhotoShop CC, InDesign CC etc. They will be priced between 50% – 66% of the current offering, making the bundle a more cost effective option for anyone looking at 2 or more products.

Creative Cloud for Enterprise

2 common concerns for corporate customers around CCfT (Creative Cloud for Teams) are:

  1. Each CCfT user requires an Adobe ID
  2. The cloud storage element is hosted by Adobe and doesn’t necessarily comply with data regulations for certain companies/industries.

Both of these are expected to be resolved with a new addition to the Creative Cloud family “Creative Cloud for Enterprise” – again, this is expected in the 2nd half of 2013.


One of the first things that comes to the mind of an IT admin/SAM professional when they hear about Creative Cloud is:

“Can I deploy it centrally?”

And the answer is


From Adobe’s help site:

“Adobe Creative Cloud Packager makes it easy for you to create packages that contain Creative Cloud products and updates. These packages can then be deployed to the client machines of the members who are part of Creative Cloud for Teams in your organization.

Essentially, you log in as an administrator to the Creative Cloud portal and download Creative Cloud Packager. Using Creative Cloud Packager, you create Windows and/or Mac OS packages (MSI or PKG files)”

And this is the part that will elicit a sigh of relief from many:

“and then using any third-party deployment tool that supports the deployment of native installers (for instance Microsoft SCCM, Apple ARD, or JAMF Casper Suite) deploy them to client machines.”

The Creative Cloud Packager is available from the Creative Cloud portal as “CCPLauncher”.


Whether Creative Cloud works for you depends on your strategy around keeping current with new releases of Adobe products.

If you like to keep current, or perhaps have wanted to do so but been prohibited due to cost in the past, this will work very well for you & your organization. It gives you the new versions, the new applications, cloud storage and more – as well as giving lower initial payments, moving costs from Capex to Opex and a steady budget for creative software.

On the other hand, if your company tends to skip a few editions of Adobe CS, say CS3 to CS6, then this will be a big change. It will increase the cost of acquiring Adobe software but it will also increase the value and benefits available to the company.

Editor’s Note:

For small creative companies or departments who are ‘all in’ with Adobe tools this maybe a good way to access the full breadth of Adobe products. Although the price is less palatable and at least 10,000 have signed a petition to end this aggressive bundling as an attempt to raise prices.

“No offense, @Adobe, but this feels like the biggest money grab in the history of software” @strobist

For companies who only use Adobe for the odd tactical product or large enterprises with many users – the benefits seem difficult to justify.

Companies with Cumulative License or Enterprise Agreements need to seriously consider their use of Adobe in their estate and lifetime costs, as the final option at the end of the agreement appears to be Cloud or bust ~ Martin

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About Rich Gibbons

Rich has been in the world of IT and software licensing since 2003, having been a software sales manager for a VAR, a Microsoft licensing endorsed trainer, and now an ITAM analyst looking at software licensing and cloud.

A Northerner renowned for his shirts, Rich is a big Hip-Hop head, and loves travel, football in general (specifically MUFC), baseball, Marvel, and reading as many books as possible. Finding ways to combine all of these with ITAM & software licensing is always fun!

Connect with Rich on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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