With a hacker claiming to have broken PhotoShop CC's authorization mechanism, we are getting an idea of how Adobe's "cloud" software works. In addition, I spent about a week trying to upgrade my license of InDesign CS5 to CS6. So here is how it all works:
Adobe still sells its Creative Cloud software as traditional desktop installations. We download a 30-day demo copy of PhotoShop CC or InDesign CC, and install it on our desktop or laptop computer. CC software then provides access to additional features online, as well as updates.
The first difference is in how we pay for the software to get the serial number. Instead of paying once to use the software for as long as wish to, we now have to have pay all the time -- for either PhotoShop or InDesign.
Adobe's Web site misleadingly states the price of each is $20 per month, but during checkout the commitment jumps to 1 year, plus tax, making it $268 for me.
How does $268 a year compare to paying once for a perpetual license? I tried updating InDesign CS5 to CS6, but in speaking with an Adobe sales rep, she wanted to charge me over $1,000 to upgrade my copy of Master Collection. However, of the 21 programs in Master Collection, I use just one: InDesign.
I looked on and off for a few days for the InDesign CS5 upgrade, but could find only upgrades from CS5.5. Well, heck, I thought, then I'll just buy a full license. Adobe's list price is US$700 and Amazon.ca offered it to me for $806 (incl. tax), but then I found it at half-price ($355) from itdirectdeals.com. Because it is downloaded software, there is no sales tax.
In summary, for the same price, I can use:
- InDesign CC for a year and four months
- InDesign CS6 forever
Monthly License Checking
After entering the serial number in the software, CS6 checks with Adobe once to ensure the number is valid. The only other time the serial number is checked is when we want to deactivate the license so that we can use InDesign on another computer.
In contrast, CC checks with Adobe every month. If our credit card was declined, then it doesn't work. What about accessing the data that belongs to us? As of May 29, Adobe didn't know:
Adobe completely agrees that customers should have access to their files if they choose to stop their Creative Cloud membership.... but there are a number of options open to us here and we expect to have news around this issue shortly.
Oh yeah. For me, $355 is worth the certainty of forever.