Adobe and the erosion of creative freedom


I went into battle with Adobe last night over their very unclear and slightly dodgy pricing practices… after a lengthy conversation I sort of won but mostly didn’t. I knew there was a reason for that I had avoided their products for years.

I wanted to cancel my subscription but then discovered that if I did that I would have to pay a 50% cancellation fee for the rest of the subscription and would only have use of the product for 30 days. So thus having no way to access files I have created with their programs. Most other programs out there are a one off fee and if you don’t pay the upgrade you still get to use the program .. it just stays at the version you have purchased.

After years of buying up any competitors Adobe has now pretty much cornered the market and as we know become “industry standard”. This means you are forced, as a creative, to use their products whether you want to or not just so you can collaborate with other creatives or do overflow work for creative houses and agencies.

If you are a business and using these products 24/7 maybe its fine as your subscription is a tax deductible business expense. Not so if you are an Artist or Creative who uses the product occasionally – you end up paying a stack of cash and have nothing to show for it except a pile of work and files you cant access or work on.

Another thing about the Creative Cloud system is that there are really only two pricing structures. The first being the photography subscription which is $17 AUD a month ( they also don’t charge in local currency, so you pay foreign exchange as well) but if you want to use illustrator as well you have to fork out the full subscription amount of $60 per month plus GST – there is no way to mix and match like you can with say Sky or Foxtel or even some of the telco’s. If you only want to use Photoshop and Illustrator you can kiss good- bye to a huge amount of hard earned cash.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription is a classic example of corporate practices that disadvantages the average individual. Yes Adobe’s products are good but are they really good enough that you are forced to pay $810 a year for the rest of your life?

Perhaps its time we started using standardised file formats and bringing back real choice and freedom to creative practice.



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