May 10, 2013, 7:06 AM — A petition on Change.org demanding that Adobe back away from its subscription-only model for its creativity software, including PhotoShop, has collected over 4,400 signatures by late Thursday.
And those thousands of customers were unhappy at Adobe for pushing them toward subscriptions. Very unhappy.
"Paying Adobe rent for the rest of my life is absurd," said Nick Scott, who left a comment on the petition's page. "I'll definitely be looking elsewhere next time I need to upgrade."
Derek Schoffstall of Harrisburg, Penn., a photographer and college student, kicked off the petition Monday after Adobe announced it was halting development on the Creative Suite (CS) applications sold as "perpetual" licenses -- traditional licenses that are paid for once, then used as long as the user wants -- and would only upgrade its well-known PhotoShop, Illustrator and other creativity software when it was licensed via subscription.
The new name for the rent-not-own suite: Creative Cloud (CC).
CS6, the current version of the boxed software, will be maintained with bug fixes and will continue to be sold at retail and by Adobe directly. But there will be no CS7 or feature additions to those versions.
Schoffstall's petition asked Adobe to reconsider its subscription-only plans, restart development on CS6, and continue to offer perpetual licenses alongside subscriptions.
"It seems that you have decided to forsake everyone but big business. Well, you've made a mistake," the petition read. "We are in a corner because although we may have the option to use CS6 now, in the future, we will be forced to subscribe to your CC subscription in order to stay relevant with updated software."
In the preface to the petition, Schoffstall argued that consumers and independent freelancers would end up paying more in subscription fees than they had buying a one-time-charge license. "In the short term, the subscription model looks to be okay, but over time the only entity that is benefiting from this is Adobe," he said. "The (no longer) current model -- paying a one time fee for infinite access -- is a much better business model and is better for the consumer."
Software-by-subscription can cost more than a perpetual license that's used for a relatively long time. The perpetual license of CS6 Design and Web Premium Student and Teacher Edition, for example, lists for $599. At the standard $30 per month for Creative Cloud, a student would end up paying more for a subscription after 20 months, or about two years in college.
In other words, if a student buys the perpetual license and uses it for more than 20 months, he or she comes out ahead of a friend who went the subscription route.