The tipping point for what Adobe calls an "individual" subscription to Creative Cloud is different: The $50 monthly subscription fee adds up to more than a perpetual license for C6 Design Standard, which lists for $1,299, after 26 months.
It takes longer for Creative Cloud to exceed the price of CS6 Design and Web Premium, Adobe's most expensive and most full-featured bundle. At the same $50 monthly fee, an individual could pay Adobe for 38 months -- three years and two months -- before spending more than the $1,899 list price for the perpetual license.
Those who left comments on Schoffstall's petition often called out the cost as a reason for their dissatisfaction. "Due to the nature of the 'upgrade at gun point' nature of the change, and the forced 'renting' of software at prices that could be jacked up at anytime, I will not continue with the Adobe brand," said Lee Whitman. "It's suicide for a small business."
"This is disaster for independent freelancers who are already suffering in this economy," wrote Gay Tammy.
Those comments were reminiscent of ones aimed at Microsoft earlier this year when it debuted its own software-by-subscription model, Office 365, for consumers and small businesses.
But Microsoft, as it made plain on Tuesday when it took a swipe at Adobe's decision, has retained perpetual licenses for Office 2013, which runs on Windows, and Office for Mac 2011.
"Unlike Adobe, we think people's shift from packaged software to subscription services will take time," said Clint Patterson, director of communications for Office, in a blog post. "We are committed to offering choice -- premier software sold as a package and powerful services sold as a subscription."
Microsoft declined to say when it would move to an all-subscription model for Office, even though Patterson said it was inevitable. Some experts believe it will happen within the next five years.
In a talk with Wall Street analysts on Monday, Adobe executives defended the shift. Not surprisingly, one of the most important reasons they gave was the regular revenue generated by subscriptions, eliminating the peaks when major upgrades release, and the valleys in between upgrades.
"The move to subscriptions just drives a bigger and bigger and bigger recurring revenue stream," said Mark Garrett, Adobe's CFO, during the presentation to analysts.
Garrett also claimed that 500,000 customers currently subscribe to Creative Cloud, and has set targets of 1.25 million by the end of 2013 and 4 million by 2015.