Adobe’s New Upgrade Policy

Adobe recently announced a new upgrade policy for its Creative Suite, that includes Photoshop. There will definitely be frustration from many photographers that I know. Not all users of Photoshop have found it necessary or economical to upgrade to the latest, greatest version every time Adobe released a new version. For example, if you owned Photoshop CS3 and didn’t find compelling reasons to upgrade to CS4 when it was released, under Adobe’s old policy, you could have upgraded to CS5 when it came out, and pay the upgrade price of $199, versus the non-upgrade price of $699. Well, that is all about to change!

There is widespread speculation that Photoshop CS6 will be released around mid-2012. As reported in an Adobe blog post on November 9th, 2011:

“For customers who prefer to remain on the current licensing model, we will continue to offer our individual point products and Adobe Creative Suite editions as perpetual licenses. With regards to upgrades, we are changing our policy for perpetual license customers. In order to qualify for upgrade pricing when CS6 releases, customers will need to be on the latest version of our software (either CS5 or CS5.5 editions). If our customers are not yet on those versions, we’re offering a 20% discount through December 31, 2011 which will qualify them for upgrade pricing when we release CS6.”

The link to this special 20% discount from Adobe is at Adobe’s Store .

If you’re not interested in one of Adobe’s new subscription pricing offerings that range from $35-$49/month for Photoshop and $49-$75/month for Photoshop Extended, or their new cloud offerings, and you are a “perpetual license customer” who doesn’t already own CS5, but will probably want to own CS6, I strongly suggest you consider your options NOW!

If you don’t own CS5, assuming CS6’s price is consistent with CS5, it will cost you $699 to buy CS6, i.e. you will not have an upgrade path unless you own the last version, in this case, CS5.

With many photographers doing more and more of their image editing in Lightroom, this increased cost to upgrade Photoshop if you don’t own the most recent version, may well frustrate some photographers. Two years ago, I did 30-40% of my image editing in Lightroom and 60-70% in Photoshop. Today, those numbers have flipped. While some photographers do all of their editing in Lightroom, I still must use Photoshop for virtually every one of my images. I have upgraded to every new version of Photoshop since CS, but many of my fellow photographers have not, and if they don’t act before December 31st, they are going to be in for a (costly) surprise.

Adobe is going to have to include some major enhancements in each successive version of Photoshop to motivate upgrading. It is unlikely that Photoshop users will rebel to the extent that Bank of America debit card holders did when faced with increased fees, but it is no longer economical for the Photoshop user to upgrade every few versions.

Come to think of it, that’s probably exactly what Adobe intended.

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