Adobe Will No Longer Sell Software On The Mac: You’ll Have To Rent Photoshop Instead

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Adobe announced a lot of changes to their core creativity suite today, CS6, as well as a massively overhauled Photoshop, but forget features, here’s the real thing you need to know. Adobe Creative Suite 6 is the last app suite Adobe is ever going to let you buy. From now on, you’ll have to rent your Adobe apps.

Yup, that means forget about buying Adobe Photoshop CS7, or any other Adobe CS7 app for your Mac. Now they are all “Creative Cloud” apps: Photoshop CC, InDesign CC, Illustrator CC, Dreamweaver CC and Premiere Pro CC. And if you want to use one you have to subscribe and you have to do your work in the cloud.

In other words, you can’t just “buy” Photoshop anymore. It’ll cost you $50 per month for all apps, or $20 month per individual apps.

Adobe’s software has long been probably the most pirated software out there, so I guess this is one way to kill piracy: make sure that stuff like PhotoShop is “always on.”

It’s also fantastic news for the developers behind PhotoShop-competing apps like Acorn and GIMP. This is a major opportunity for them, appealing to professionals who want to own the software upon which they bake their bread and churn their butter.

Still, it’s the end of an era. From now on, you either rent Adobe’s software or you go with an alternative: buying it or pirating it is just no longer going to be an option.

  • Jonathan Ober

    Time to get Pixelmator in my workflow for everyday web design and development. Bye Adobe. Illustrator and Photoshop were the only two apps I was holding on to because I cut my teeth on them and learned the ins and outs, but I guess times are a changing.

  • bdkennedy

    Maybe I’m old-fashioned but peace of mind is owning a physical copy that I’M in control of, not the software company.

  • craigburdett

    John’s absolutely right: CS6 is the last copy of Adobe software I will ever purchase or rent. In effect with the 18-month release slots for minor-improvement CS versions it’s *felt* a lot like renting since CS3. I’ve been switching to non-Adobe alternatives for some time.

    Kicked Microsoft out when I could share and edit iWork docs on the iPad.

    Moved from Photoshop to Aperture for raw photo edits. Dumped Premiere Pro & AfterEffects when FCP X (part deux) was released, and now I’ll scale the (rather shallow) learning curve to dump the rest of CS6 off the Mac. I find I only use Illustrator and Dreamweaver (though oddly I code all HTML by hand – but I stick with DW out of habit since I can edit and upload from the same spot: not really a good reason).

    I’m guessing Adobe’s heavy-handed (and wrong-headed) decision will kick developers in the butt and we’ll see some great Adobe replacements by the end of the year.

  • daov2a

    Just when I thought Adobe could not get any stupider.

  • craigburdett

    Maybe some enterprising Cult of Mac contributor will offer up an article with a comparison chart for those abandoning Adobe’s version of a Carnival cruise?

    Of course, without a shiny new piece of software temptation from Adobe, my current CS6 suite will probably work just fine for at least 2 more years.

  • thegraphicmac

    “…you have to do your work in the cloud.”

    I’m not sure where you got that idea. You don’t “work in the cloud” with Creative Cloud apps. It’s no different than it has ever been as far as how you work. The only time the apps connect to the cloud is once per month to verify your license.

  • Eric_M_White

    Pixelmator is a great app that I have been using instead of Photoshop for a few months, and I really like it. I bet Adobe will change its tune. I don’t want to rely on the cloud to complete my work, and I am sure I am not alone.

  • RobGcf

    Well, as far as I’m concerned, Adobe an F off and die. They only make one or two worthwhile products anymore, and their time has come and gone. Photoshop is going to be replaced by a far more economical alternative — anybody heard of Acorn? I haven’t bought it yet but I hear it rocks. Flash is dead. Microsoft is hurting because sales of Office are falling off (in addition to Windoze). Adobe is going to see the same thing happen when people stop paying for CS. Basically, Adobe has gotten top-heavy. That and why the hell is a large US company being run by an East Indian who is sending all of their development work to India? Sounds fishy to me.

  • Gadget

    For $15, you can get Pixelmator which is a very good and very fast image editor. For that original purchase, I’ve been getting regular updates for free adding more and more features. The next update (Blueberry) will be adding layer styles which is one of the final major features to make it truly competitive to PS. Sorry Adobe, you’ve turned PS into POS. The days of milking users with outrageous software prices are hopefully coming to an end.

  • Gadget

    I love Dreamweaver but if you want a decent wysiwyg HTML editor, try out SeaMonkey which is a FREE HTML editor for the Mac. It’s all about price for me and a lot of less expensive and/or free software can replace pretty much all the Adobe apps. The only Adobe app I would still consider buying is AfterEffects which still has no equal.

  • MacGuru

    As someone who has bought a TON of Adobe software (not stolen it off torrents),…i can say that Adobe has LOST ITS MIND, period.

    This is a fear reaction against its CS6 and other wares being pirated online.

    Great, fixes THAT problem, but a TON of people are not going to “rent wares off the cloud”.

    Pure unquestionable insanity on their part.

  • MacGuru

    As for the endless 10,000s of people who do creative work in 3rd world countries with NO www connection and their license “times out”, this is going to destroy Adobe as a go to platform for photo editing.

  • TheKnightWhoSaysNi

    I hope they keep Lightroom as a regular purchase. Otherwise Aperture will be getting a lot of market share.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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