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Adobe Draws Fire for CS6 Upgrade Plans

November 22, 2011
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Adobe is drawing the ire of some of its users by only offering upgrade pricing for its CS5 and CS5.5 users for the upcoming Creative Suite 6. Up until now, upgrade pricing applied for several previous versions, for example, the current Creative Suite 5.5 upgrade pricing is extended as far as users of Creative Suite 2.

The move, announced by Adobe Senior Vice President David Wadhwani on a blog post, is seen to push individual users toward the company's new subscription model, and to drive a more stable revenue stream. The company recently fired 750 employees and discontinued development of the mobile Flash platform. The company will be introducing, in 2012, Adobe Creative Cloud, which will allow users to access its tools for US$49.99 for individuals ($69.99 per seat for workgroups) per month, paid annually, or $US600 a year. A non-Cloud subscription model was introduced with CS5.5 (currently priced between US$65 to US$129 per month, depending on the particular package).

Scott Kelby, President of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, wrote an open letter protesting the move.

"Those users who didn’t upgrade to CS5 or 5.5, either couldn’t afford the upgrade, or couldn’t justify the upgrade, or they would already be on CS5 or 5.5," wrote Kelby. "But now you’re kind of holding us hostage — you’re making us buy something we don’t need now, just so we will still have the option to get something that we may want (CS6) when it is released without buying it all over again from scratch. You’re playing hardball with your customers—either upgrade twice or you’re out. That’s not the Adobe we know."

Kelby also offered a compromise: "If you really want to be fair to your customers, at the very least don’t start this policy yet. Start it with Photoshop CS7. Make CS6 your new upgrade pricing transition version, and tell everybody now, up front at — the start of the product’s life cycle, that everybody will need to upgrade to CS6 at some point because the next version (CS7) won’t support older users."

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