We are in a weird time for technology, particularly when it
comes to something that seem simple on the surface -- ownership.
As time goes on, we are seeing increasing restrictions on our use
Case in point:
) is requiring Xbox One consoles to "check in" with the mothership
every 24 hours.
) is making it practically impossible to upgrade memory on certain
iMac models. And
) has placed restrictions on reselling or even giving away Google
So while we can buy what we want, we are facing more rules than
ever after the purchase is made.
I hope I don't sound too gloomy because the consumer technology
experience has never been better, even with seemingly unfriendly
restrictions like those I just listed.
With the exception of video games, which peaked with the release of
in 1988, virtually everything works better and is way cheaper than
it used to be.
Now, one particular company that is pushing the boundaries of
consumers' capacity to accept change when it comes to the issue of
ownership is Photoshop-maker
), which recently made the decision to move to
a subscription-only model under its Creative Cloud
In the future, Adobe will not sell boxed versions of its Creative
Suite products like Photoshop and Illustrator.
Buyers will have to purchase subscriptions, meaning that you can
only use software as long as you keep paying for it. When a
subscription lapses, the software becomes disabled.
This is a massive paradigm shift for the software industry, and
quite a controversial one.
Cloud-based subscription software is nothing new, but this is the
first instance of a transition of a major existing product to such
Thus, I don't think it's the policy itself as much as the jarring
change away from the "buy once, use forever" tradition (even though
no software gets used forever) that is causing all the controversy.
Of course, the fact that Adobe is effectively hitting many
customers with a significant price increase isn't helping.
Today after the close, we're going to get the first bit of
financial feedback since Adobe announced it was throwing the
switch: The company is delivering its second-quarter earnings
report. And incidentally, today is the day when the new cloud apps
are being released.
Generally speaking, it seems like the only fans of Adobe's move are
1) power users that use multiple Adobe products and eagerly embrace
new features and 2) people that sell training for Adobe software
I emphasize the word "seems" because on the Internet, there's
always a risk that a vocal minority is outweighing the sentiment of
a silent majority. There's a lot of bellyaching over Adobe's
switch, but as investors, we must be concerned about how the
dollars and cents add up. It's entirely possible that fewer people
use Adobe products and the company ends up making far more money.
We just don't know yet.
Remember, we have all seen plenty of people publicly announce that
) because of privacy issues or interface changes or supposedly
Yet that company is growing just fine:
Click to enlarge
So let's wait and see what happens before throwing Adobe under the