An Open Letter To Adobe Systems

Dear Adobe:

As president of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) I represent more than 70,000 Photoshop users around the world. However as I’m writing this open letter to you today, I would say that most of our 70,000 members have no idea about the upgrade policy changes you just announced, or about how these changes will affect them.

From the information I’ve gathered, it appears to me that this new upgrade policy for the next version of Adobe Photoshop and the Creative Suite (presumably called CS6) will leave a significant number of your customers with no affordable upgrade path to Photoshop CS6 or the Creative Suite.

It’s my understanding that when the next version of Photoshop and the Creative Suite is released, if you do not already own Photoshop version CS5 or CS5.5 (or the 5 or 5.5 Creative Suite):

(a) You will not be eligible to upgrade to Photoshop CS6 (or the CS6 Creative Suite). Instead the only way to get Photoshop CS6 at that point will be to repurchase the entire product again at its full price (presumably $699 US). If you’re a CS4 Creative Suite User, you’ll have to buy the entire suite all over again to move to CS6.

(b) For Photoshop CS4, or CS3 users, their only real option is to pay to upgrade now to CS5.5 (though you are offering a 20% upgrade discount upgrade until the end of the year), and then to pay again to upgrade when Photoshop CS6 is released, or sign up for your new monthly subscription plan.

While I understand that Adobe needs to make business decisions based on how it sees market conditions, I feel the timing of this new pricing structure is patently unfair to your customers (and our members). Here’s why: You didn’t tell us up front. You didn’t tell us until nearly the end of the product’s life cycle, and now you’re making us buy CS5.5 for just a few months on the chance that we might want to buy CS6 at a discount when it’s released. Otherwise, we have to pay the full price as if we were never Adobe customers at all.

Those users who didn’t upgrade to CS5 or 5.5, either couldn’t afford the upgrade, or couldn’t justify the upgrade, or they would already be on CS5 or 5.5. But now you’re kind of holding us hostage—–you’re making us buy something we don’t need now, just so we will still have the option to get something that we may want (CS6) when it is released without buying it all over again from scratch. You’re playing hardball with your customers—either upgrade twice or you’re out. That’s not the Adobe we know.

I have always felt that Adobe was very customer centric, and that their decisions were based on what’s best for their customers, but in this particular instance I can’t see how cutting off CS4 and CS3 users, and making them either pay two upgrades in a row, or pay the full retail price to get CS6, benefits anybody but Adobe.

With that said, here’s my plea to Adobe:
If you really want to be fair to your customers, at the very least don’t start this policy yet. Start it with Photoshop CS7. Make CS6 your new upgrade pricing transition version, and tell everybody now, up front—–at the start of the product’s life cycle, that everybody will need to upgrade to CS6 at some point because the next version (CS7) won’t support older users. That way, we’re not spending money just to spend more money again. Adobe, you can still have what you want—-you can still get everybody on the current version, but it gives us time to save, time to plan, and anybody still left behind at that point will have had more than fair warning.

Another option I feel would be very fair to Adobe customers would be to offer a tiered upgrade which rewards your best customers (customers who upgraded to CS5 or 5.5) by giving them the best upgrade deal, but then offer CS4 users a reasonable upgrade path (they would pay more for their upgrade, but they’re getting all the features added in CS5.5 as well, so that’s fair) and then why not even offer an upgrade path to CS6 for your CS3 users? They would certainly wind up paying the most in upgrade fees, but at least it wouldn’t be the full $699 (or even more if they’re on the CS3 suite). This tiered approach gives everybody an opportunity to stay on as an Adobe customer, but still gives your best customers preferential upgrade pricing.

I know, Business is business…
I understand that Adobe is not in business to be our friend or our buddy. Adobe is a public corporation with a responsibility to its employees, partners and shareholders to continually generate and grow profits. We don’t buy Adobe products because we think they’re our friend—we buy Adobe products because you make amazing products and tools for creative people like us. You have the right to charge $5,000 for the Creative Suite if you want, and likewise we have to make decisions based on what’s right for us and our business.

I also know that the clearest message you can send any company is not to buy their product and I am not suggesting in any way that we intentionally don’t buy Adobe products, but I am afraid for many people, including many of the Photoshop users I represent, that will be the case. Photoshop CS4 will wind up being their last version of Photoshop ever, and I for one would hate to see that happen. I think that would be a lose/lose for everybody.

Adobe, it’s not too late
You can still fix this. You can stand by your customers and make CS6 the “Transition upgrade”—-the one where going into it from the start ,everybody will know that after CS6 there will be a new upgrade policy. That way you don’t leave anybody behind that wants to stay with you. Nobody can say you pulled a fast one on them at the last minute, or didn’t give them reasonable notice about the next upgrade. You never go wrong by doing the right thing.

Thanks for listening, Adobe.

All my best,

-Scott Kelby
President, The National Association of Photoshop Professionals

  1. Good grief! This sounds insane. Any links to where we can read all about this?

    Thanks for looking out. I wonder how much pull even a group of 70K really has against a biz like Adobe?

    I can’t imagine if I had to pay full price (education discount) seeing as that hurts.

    I guess one good thing is if they are bringing this up now MAYBE CS6 is coming out soon? Anyone know when that might happen? :)

  2. Speaking as someone who has spent huge amounts of money, firstly on buying CS Design Premium (£1200+ here in the UK) upgrading year by year, and as a NAPP member, I fully endorse the points that Scott is making on our behalf.
    As he says, you are a company whose bottom line is profit. We all understand that. But please, don’t bite the hand that feeds. Better to have fairness and slightly less paid by many than an overpriced product which is bought by few.

  3. Agreed and well put. The additional problem as a Photoshop user only of having to upgrade to CS5.5, is that there is no Photoshop CS5.5. You are forced to upgrade to Photoshop CS5 which frankly few would do normally in this product cycle. Not very good.

  4. In july Adobe released Elements Editor 9 in the app-store, in november version 10 came out, only for the full prize. Wrote an angry but polite letter to Adobe about their customer centric behavior, no reply.
    This was the beginning….

  5. Wow, as a loyal Adobe user for many years I am very disappointed in this decision. I know school, churches and other non-profits like the one I work for will not be able to afford the regular upgrades in which case we would have no other choice but to find another alternative once Mac comes out with an upgrade that no longer works with CS4.

    For others with possibly less morals, I am sure they will be illegally downloading, so sounds like a LOSE/LOSE idea to me. I hope you change your mind!

  6. Thanks for sticking up for the little people Scott! Yes that includes me & I’m not afraid to say it. Thanks for looking out for the best interest of those of us who are struggling to make ends meet while progressing in our creative endeavors.

    I don’t know if there is a legitimate reason they would do this or if it’s merely corporate greed, but whatever it is I’d like to say that while it may not be used as widely as PS, Corel is an option. Please don’t laugh at this for it’s coming from a girl, a very humble girl who got her photo-editing start with the freebie Picasa & will continue to find any means possible to release her creativity…her being me haha!

    Thanks for the heads up, you genuinely are a cool guy & I really hope Adobe considers your suggestions. People love to boycott things now a days so you never know!?!

    Have a great Monday now! =D

  7. when the president of an organzation like NAPP stands up and fights for the rights of the members and sends an open letter to an big player like Adobe – that’s a man who believes in the words he says. thx to Scott for doing what you love and making every single NAPP member count!

    Adobe get your a** up and think about a transparent and clear upgrade policy – the last two major versions should always be included the rest need to buy the full version – simple as that it could be. I think that’s just fair!

    cheers claudio von grubens
    photographer and proud NAPP member!

  8. What i don’t think Adobe will realise is that when people don’t buy the upgrade they will still use the latest version, they will just do it in a dis-honest fashion stepping away from being a respectable professional and rubbing salt in the wound.

    Personally i don’t use PS as i can’t justify the huge costs, i use Lightroom and Elements, i would love to use full PS and i know many that would too but the cost makes it prohibitive. I know that making the product cheaper is never going to happen, but i know that if it was more reasonably priced the number of sales would skyrocket as it would make the dis-honest honest and amateurs like me bite the bullet and get full PS.

  9. Very well put, Scott. As one of the Photoshop “Help Desk” staffers, I run across customers who still have versions older than CS3 because of upgrade policies or the inability to afford the new product, and sometimes that makes it difficult for me to help them out. I’m limited to what I have on my computer (usually just a few versions back), and as the OS of my computer gets updated, that sometimes pushes out older versions of software as well.

    I agree that a tiered upgrade system is a great idea, and it would also be more affordable for customers to maintain.

  10. I have no doubt that this letter will be read by every manager and executive at Adobe. That’ both because you do represent 70K of their best customers, and also because of your personal connections to many of those same people.

    One of the problems that market dominant companies have is that they think that no one will ever challenge their position. AT&T once thought they “Owned” telephone service in the US; General Motors thought they were always going to be the predominant car company; Novell’s NetWare was the most popular LAN Server.

    Today, Adobe does own the photo editing marketplace, but if they price their customers out of the market, folks like NIK and OnOne and other will see a market opportunity and enhance their products with some of the best CS4/5/6 ideas and take away market share.

    In my own case as an example of an advanced hobbyist, my current workflow is 60% LR, 30% PS-CS5, 10% OnOne. As I learn the new Perfect Suite 6, those last two will go to 20% each. If OnOne picks up just a few more PS features (such as the content-aware stuff), I could see skipping PS altogether.

    Maybe competition is a good thing.

  11. Wow, I’m flabbergasted by this action of Adobe. Thank you so much Scott for pointing this out. Adobe, I hope you’ll take this oppurtunity to reconsider and admit that Scott has got a point. A big one.

  12. Bravo. Your efforts here at both educating users and acting on their behalf with adobe is commendable. It seems you’ve taken more time since the grid episode to get up to speed. I did a full post on this today getting more details out about ccloud versus subscription versus in perpetuity licensing (which I think you referenced wrong on the grid episode),so feel free to point people there if they want some deep nitty gritty on what Adobe did/is doing.

    I like the idea of waiting until cs7…someone else had also suggested scaled upgrade pricing based on iteration of the suite currently in use by the customer. Either way,Adobe is about to alienate a very large user base and I fear for the fallout. (I have a poll going which already has over 100 results on it, and since my blog normally gets somewhere between 20-30 votes on polls, this is pretty telling already.

    The more vocal we are with Adobe, the better the chance we are heard. Your post here helps to that end quite substantially and I commend you for that! Thanks Scott! :)

  13. Great letter, Scott. Thanks for speaking up for us “little guys” who can’t afford full upgrades every product cycle. I’ll stick with CS5 for the foreseeable future, as it does all that I need for now. Interesting that the new OnOne suite works as a stand-alone application now. Maybe a hint at the direction they’re going in the future?


  14. Thank you very much for writing this letter. There has been much discussion new pricing by Adobe on the NAPP forum. Many members plan not to upgrade if current policy does go forward. It does seem to be a slap in the face to loyal Adobe customers. Thank you for speaking up and taking a stand. It mean a great deal to me.

  15. Well said, though I doubt that they will back-pedal and antagonise those cuatomers who have already upgraded in response to this move.
    What annoys me most is the timing. If they had announced this a year ago I could have had CS5 all this time at no extra cost.. but no, that have to wait till its lifespan is nearly over… suddenly we only have six weeks to find the money ifwe want the 20% discount, and with Christmas coming up too. I had to find £750 to upgrade my production suite. That’s a hell of a blow to anyone’s budget especially at such short notice.

  16. Very well said Scott and what’s more it’s great to see that despite having a close working relationship with the folks over at Adobe, you’re not averse to pointing things out in support of what’s clearly best for the masses and for long the haul.

    I only hope those ‘nay sayers’ see what your friends see from this, and that behind the name is the real deal…what you see is what you get i.e. someone who loves what he does, loves sharing and wants the best for those who want to learn.

    Good on you!

    1. I couldn’t agree more Glynn. Not only do I entirely support everything you have said here, Scott, I too applaud your standing up to what must surely be one of your largest allies in the business. Not always easy to do, but if anyone has the clout behind them to do that, it’s you and your 70,000 followers.

      Adobe recently announced layoffs of 10% of their worldwide staff, despite record profits.Then this price gouging! Methinks something is rotten in Denmark! (apologies to all you great Danes out there) :-)

      Trev J.

  17. Thank you Scott:) This is an insane move by Adobe!
    Maybe Adobe are going to introduce a new product for Photographers? Lightroom & Elements combined? That would suit most working photographers. Much of Photoshop is OTT for most of us.
    Also OnOne 6 is a compelling product and works well with Lightroom.
    Maybe I shall wean myself off the Photoshop drug:)

  18. Great letter Scott. However I also have a concern beyond the Creative Suite and Photoshop. Right now more and more professional photographers are finding Lightroom and Photoshop Elements is enough for their work. However how long before Lightroom is either added to the Creative Cloud, or moved to a more expensive subscription basis? This would be actually a bigger concern for me.

    One positive thing I see from this mess is that if it becomes possible to subscribe applications in the Creative Suite on an as needs basis it might make sense for me. I use Photoshop mostly, but maybe a handful of times a year I need to use InDesign. Subscribing for a month to use InDesign would work for me, and certainly be much cheaper than buying the Design Standard version of Creative Suite outright.

    – Brian

  19. Congratulations on your initiative to make know Adobe’s plans for the next release. As you say, princing is a business decisition, but it’s fair and the right thing to do announce your user beforehand of princing changes regarding to future updates.

    Adobe, we know you need to cash in order to maker more future great releases of Creative Suite, but please, take your user’s needs into your equation when calculating your prices. And I would add, their price policies regarding Education institutions and prices in Europe (¿¿¿pay 500€ more than the US for the same CS suite just for translating it????) are simply ABSURD and TAXING. Please, you need to establish a coherent GLOBAL pricing system…

  20. A straightforward and sensible appeal and a fair proposition. It would help Adobe take care of their bottom line and their customers. And it’s a wise public company that realizes the two go hand in hand. I hope they listen. Thanks for standing up, not only for NAPP members (of which I’m proud to count myself), but for all Photoshop users and other Adobe customers.

    Like Glyn, I appreciate the fact that despite what has to be a pretty close working relationship you must maintain with Adobe, you don’t mind telling the truth, even when it hurts. I hope they appreciate your feedback.


  21. THANK YOU SCOTT!! Adobe already had the most screwy upgrade paths imaginable. One who has a suite cannot upgrade one program in it. Students and teachers who have the educational versions cannot upgrade anything — to full version or a new one. Everything is so confused with versions, combinations of suites, etc.

    Your multiple paths from different versions is a reasonable upgrade plan that is used by some more customer friendly software developers. It works.

    Perhaps we should ban together an refuse to upgrade from CS5 until they make a fairer, less complicated way to do it. Let them know that a thousand cuts can kill the goose and they’ll no longer get any golden eggs from us.

  22. Scott,
    Thanks for a well written letter with logical alternatives to this non-customer centric stance by Adobe. I, like most CS users, skip generations in most software upgrades. The cost and the learning curve is a bit much for the enthusiast to absorb. Are we forced to upgrade to CS5.5 and hope in 3 years Adobe smartens up and lets us go to CS7?

    On a more personal note; what does NAPP become if people start shifting off of Photoshop? The National Association of Post Processing Professionals or the National Association of Aperture Professionals? What a teaching/training disaster.

  23. Very nicely put Scott. A little more notice certainly sounds like a very good compromise.

    The Creative Cloud subscription may end up being an excellent deal for photographers, IF additional smaller clouds are released, particularly as the cloud is expected to be cross-platform and include Lightroom. The problem is, customers can’t possibly make an informed decision without all the information.

    All of this furor has been created by a single short press release. It’s time for Adobe to tell the rest of the story.

  24. Well, if this goes through, there wont be a CS6 for me, so Ill stick with CS4. I cant justify a subscription to PS, nor do I want to pay full price for a product twice.
    LR does the heavy lifting for me, and from what I can see, the new OnOne 6 suite look like a pretty darn good alternative to PS, as its now a stand-alone product. So that will be the way I’ll be looking if Adobe dont change their mind. I wonder what he$$ they where thinking…
    Sure, any company is in it for making money, I just have a feeling that this move will back fire.

    I can imagine that plug-in companies such as Nik, Topaz etc. are a bit worried about their sales if Adobe decides to continue down this path of alienating their customers. Especially the non-professional users of Adobe products and Im in that group.

    I wonder what Terry White thoughts on the subject would be, could be interesting…

  25. Thank you for being my voice…OUR voice. I am one of the CS4 users who will be abandoning Photoshop entirely if they move forward as planned. I will continue to use Lightroom, but will sorely miss the creative outlet that Photoshop gave me.

    Sincere Thanks,

  26. This new upgrade plan is going to hurt Adobe big-time in the long run. I”ve been using Photoshop since 6.0 and only upgrade every-other version. I’m on CS5 now but it looks like that might be my last version? My business is way to small to justify the price jump.

  27. Well, I just upgrade to LR 3 thanks to the photowalk discount. I do most everything in LR and with plugins — photo matix, topaz. There’s a bunch that you can do with photoshop but I just don’t use it that much in my personal work. Not sure if that will ever change. Now at work, I have the CS 5.5 suite, mostly for illustrator and indesign. Scott has the right idea, Adobe would keep customers happy with a tiered upgrade system. Anyone using CS 3 should have to pay the most for an upgrade. I know a lot of people kept CS 4, so if they decide they want CS 6, they shouldn’t have to upgrade to 5. Seems punitive and mean. Thanks Scott.

  28. I AM the little guy….and big thanks for Scott for conveying this message. In this economy this isn’t the smartest move for Adobe to be making. Is this an example of the 1% moving on the 99%? yikes. Occupy Adobe?

  29. Wow! Adobe must be taking advice from the executives at Bank of America on how to treat their customers. Hopefully Scott’s letter will make them come to their senses.

  30. Thanks, Scott – well said, and with heart!

    As a hobbyist, I only upgrade every other year. If Adobe does institute this pricing structure, I likely won’t upgrade any further, and just look for a cheaper product that meets most of my needs. And it won’t be Adobe.

  31. Wow! – well done Scott, talking about just nailing it. I couldn’t agree more and I thank you so much for doing this. Adobe’s business decisions and upgrade pricing even for CS5.5 seem a little baffling lately, not to mention releasing Photoshop Touch for Android first is crazy!

  32. Scott,
    Thanks for sticking up for the members. NAPP is the best! Surely Adobe will listen. They have always been stickers about their software, we all have complied to their policies and now they reward us with this. Many will not upgrade and just stick with what they have.
    Thanks again for being our leader

  33. All this pricing change will do is force people who are currently law abiding PS citizens back into the pirated world. I had a pirated copy of CS3. I used it for a while and then bought the full version of CS5. I felt good about doing the upgrade. Adobe cared about its customers and I wanted to support that.

    What Adobe seem to be forgetting is that NAPP members (and photographers in general) live in the real world here of photogs making a living and budgeting for upgrades rather than mega-corps buying 100 copies at a time. Adobe’s attitude is going force me (very reluctantly) to stay on my CS5 for years and years and, maybe, eventually upgrade. What is more likely, sadly, is that I will, in two or three years time, jump on to BitTorrent and download.

    Adobe’s attitude seems to be “If you don’t update to the latest release during the update window then we are not interested in you”. Not a good way to retain customers.

    There are plenty of free applications that has the majority of PS functionality. GIMP anyone? Maybe we can have the NAGP? National Association of GIMP Professionals :-p

  34. For little guys like me, this Adobe decision is a disaster. It will effectively end not only my upgrades to PD and LR, but as a consequence of no upgrades, eliminate my participation in Kelby Training and make NAPP membership of far less value.

    I have used and upgraded PS since 1.0. I have been a member of NAPP since almost the very beginning (my membership was one of the first 45K).

    I am retired on a fixed income. Adobe’s greed has just priced me out of their market. I resent being pushed towards using GIMP or staying at CS5 forever but I cannot afford the new structure.

    Whoever thought up this pricing structure at Adobe was thinking only of “soaking the rich” as seems to be the mood today in America. But you forgot the little guys – and we are myriad.

    I believe this structure will hurt – maybe even destroy – Adobe in the future.

  35. Scott, thanks for making us aware of this issue and for writing the letter to Adobe. I had no idea this change was happening. As an amateur who enjoys photography as a hobby I planned to upgrade every three versions because I could justify that cost as part of the expense related to my favorite hobby.

    However, I can’t justify the cost to upgrade to every new version that comes out so I won’t follow that upgrade path. I’m sure there are a large number of serious amateurs like myself and part time pros that can’t afford to follow the new upgrade path. I wonder if Adobe realizes the potential number of customers they could loose because of this decision.

  36. Very WELL SAID!

    Thank you Scott for letting Adobe know how we all feel!!!

    I certainly hope they listen to you and take into consideration how ALL their current customers feel about this upgrade.

    I personally don’t think they should have this upgrade policy even with CS6, but it’s better than doing it now with CS5.5. I paid full price for Photoshop 4 and have upgraded every other version since. I’m a small business and can’t afford to upgrade each time a new version becomes available, like most people I’m sure.
    I’ve run into problems with In-Design also at work. I have an older version right now, and can’t even upgrade to CS5.5 because my version is not upgradable. How does that work?
    Again THANK YOU Scott Kelby for looking out for us, your customers ,when Adobe apparently isn’t!!

  37. My first reaction upon reading your comments was, doesn’t anyone in Adobe management or the Adobe BOD realize the potential debacle it may face, similar to the recent Netflix situation? Isn’t “goodwill” and “customer loyalty” a significant element in the success of any business anymore?
    I hope your comments and suggestions don’t fall on deaf ears.

    Thanks Scott for all you do.

  38. Thanks, Scott! Try as I might, I couldn’t find a single smidgen of good in Adobe’s planned upgrade policy – except perhaps for Adobe’s bottom line. Of course, if enough people decide the policy offends them, that bottom line won’t be helped as much as Adobe anticipates. I hope your letter gets through to the Adobe folks. You’ve certainly provided some reasonable alternatives. Heck, why not keep a tiered-price upgrade path permanently?????

  39. This is marketing madness from Adobe. Whenever I speak to photo clubs and societies, I stress the quality of Adobe’s products and plead with people not to use pirated copies. However, the expense of upgrading for each and every version is beyond the pockets of many users who do not make a living out of their photography. I’m not a student. Although I teach Photoshop, because I don’t charge for my services I’m not entitled to get the discounted version. Then, of course, I have to suffer the further indignity of being British and paying the premium sterling price – why is it £=$ for Adobe?

    Do Adobe want to force people into piracy or onto other (worse but affordable) products?

    Thanks for trying to do something about this lunacy Scott – let’s hope Adobe listen!

  40. if this awesome and well thought out letter doesn’t sway Adobe I think they need to better inform their customers about the policy change. I heard about the change from a photography forum and NOT from Adobe.

    If Adobe really wants to have a major policy change then they need to really communicate the message and not hide behind a blog entry that most will never see.

  41. Wow Scott, Who Knew? Leave it to the good folks at NAPP to keep the masses informed. You mentioned 70,000 members world wide. I’m thinking all of these will also tell multiple people about this outrage. I know I will share it with both of my classes and the dean of my division. Word will spread.
    Thanks for keeping us informed!
    I’ve said it before & will again, YOU ROCK! ;)

  42. Wonderful letter, Scott. I think Adobe products are great, and would hate to see this happen where we get priced out of being able to afford upgrades. Thanks also for stepping up and sending this, as it has been such a concern on the NAPP forum also.

  43. Thank you for writing this letter Scott… another CS4 user here who hasn’t been able to swing the upgrade… also, I’m guessing that you speak on behalf of far more than the 70,000 NAPP users… I am not a member of NAPP, but still use CS4 in my part-time business. I have tried to upgrade with every other release (and sometimes that is a stretch)… I sincerely hope someone at Adobe is listening… it seems to me that their business has been built by lots of individuals buying their software – the freelance designers and photographers that run small businesses and those are the people that will be hurt the most by this change.

  44. Hi Scot
    Thanks, a really big thanks. Times may be hard for Adobe but they are bloody awful for the rest of us and their change of pricing policy is almost criminal. They may not listen to me but, hopefully, they listen to you (and 70,000 Members)

  45. Scott, thanks for bringing this to my attention and being a voice of caution / sanity with hopefully enough clout to make Adobe reflect about their decision.

    I do wonder if the individual(s) at Adobe who are working on this change have thought it all through. Sure, all things being equal it has the potential to bring in a more revenue on the bottle line, but have they considered the fact that all things won’t be equal and, as it being voiced here at a micro level, many people won’t now be buying these progressive upgrade (for whatever reasons) if they adopt this policy.

    It seems to be a more to try to forcing customers who were slower upgraders (i.e. upgrading every other version) to now upgrade with each release in order to avoid having to dig deeper in their pockets and pay for a full version fruther down the line.

    Certainly not the best way to treat your customers who, let’s face it, pay your wages -be they corporates / large business (who may be able to absorb these changes somewhat more readily) or small businesses or individuals (who most likely can’t absorb these changes).

  46. Another reason we love Scott.
    Thanks Scott, as I’m with everyone else’s comments here. Actually, I can probably afford the upgrades but, as a photographer who is NOT earning money from photography but doing it because I love doing it, I don’t know if I can justify this. I know I can’t justify the monthly plan on an ongoing basis.
    I agree that Adobe makes amazing products and I, for one, would love to be able to continue to use them.
    Something in the back of my mind is saying that, just maybe, Adobe is trying to make a more definite split with CSx for the pros, and Elements for the “enthusiasts” like me.
    I hope not.

  47. Thanks Scott,

    Well said Least we forget, margins on software are extremely high. There are ways that Adobe can make this more palatable. Unfortunately they chose not to think this one through. Photoshop is one of the most expensive software purchases many of us make. Making these upgrade policy changes is akin to a situation that in football is cause for all of us to throw out a yellow flag. Piling On – Adobe – 15 yard penalty – Automatic first down.

  48. hi scott! great letter and I bet this might work too. also, if you don’t mind and if that works, send out a letter to obama and co, tell them to stop war and feed poor people. you have the power!!

    love your work and your care of all the folks out there! say hi to matt!
    from munich
    carmen and ingo

  49. I agree with Mike, 70 thou is just for starters. I do a newsletter for a little photo club. Do the math and watch the replication. The move from Cs4 to Cs5 contained only one thing that I use, so I’ll be staying right where I’m at. I hope they don’t start doing the same thing to Lightroom or I’ll really be getting on my broomstick.

  50. Thanks Scott… although this does not affect me as I have the latest version (and could get an academic version if I wanted), I think you are more than fair in your appeal. I could see many customers saying screw it, and just go to Photoshop Elements. Maybe that is ok with Adobe, I don’t know.

  51. I’m not a member of NAPP, but Scot’s letter spreads really fast through the web and I’m sure that by now there are more than just the 70K NAPP members being pissed at Adobe for doing this to their customers.

    Also agree to the points being made that eventually the loyal paying customers would just jump to the Torrent and download future updates instead of buying legal copies.

  52. Scott, I know this was a big business decision for you and I certainly respect you for standing up for all your customers. I believe Adobe will take note and hopefully come up with a deviation in policy. With the economy crunch in the last couple years I know there must be many out there who couldn’t upgrade when Cs5 came out and simply decided to wait for Cs6 to release. Adobe has always been a great company and I believe there is no way they will ignore their customers or NAPP in this one.


  53. It sounds like Corparate bean counters have taken over Adobe the Kind that have distroyed or put major software companies out of business over the years. They are greedy and try as they may to make massive profits (they only profit) and when the company starts to fail they blaim the costomer for their shot sightedness.

  54. Hi Scott,

    Thanks for the letter and keeping us NAPP folks up to date! I’m usually pretty good at keeping up with news like this, but I missed this one. Adobe must have made this pretty low key media wise. I currently use Lightroom and CS 5 for my work. Before I retired, I took the leap and purchased CS 4 and then upgraded to CS 5. Because of NAPP, I’ve gotten pretty good at using both Lightroom and CS 5 for what I need. Unless there are some really major changes to CS 6 that will benefit me, I wasn’t going to upgrade because retirement income isn’t the greatest!:-) I just hope Adobe doesn’t pull a fast one like this on Lightroom. I hate to see Adobe go down this path it’s a no win scenario for them and us. Please keep us posted on any replies that you might get from them.

    Thanks for standing up for us!


  55. I certainly agree with everything that Scott says in his letter. Those types of pricing policies only encourage pirating of software. It won’t affect me, however, because as a photographer for over 35 years, I have managed to get along without Photoshop altogether. I have a copy on my computer that I won in a photo contest, but it goes all the way back to CS1! I just found I didn’t need all the bells and whistles that Photoshop tends to cram into their software. I wasn’t using 90% of it. Besides, even current pricing policies made it unaffordable for a struggling new photography business. So, instead I rely on Aperture ($79), Photomatix Pro ($99), Photo Mechanic ($99) and a bit of Pixelmator $(29) and don’t miss Photoshop at all. If I do run into something that stirs up an I’ve to use Photoshop, I have my ‘old’ copy of CS1 and a free version of Elements that came with my Wacom tablet that work just fine. Add all that up and it’s less than half of the current price for CS5. So, Adobe has ALREADY forced me out of the loop. Not that I’d be opposed to using software that could improve images. I just cannot justify the prices, especially when they’re being jacked up like this.

  56. When I read this shocking news, all I could think was that the guys who make Pixelmator have got to be absoutely thrilled to death!

    This is really just the latest in a long string of Adobe outrages. They still refuse to market a single, multi-language versions of their products here in Japan, and charge a significant premium for a “Japanese version” that has identical functionality to the English one, with no cross grades available. And I’m sure nobody here needs any help in hating their hideous copy protection/registration system.

    Despite what Scott says, I’ve never really perceived Adobe to be a customer-centric company.

  57. First of all, well stated and representative of the community. Thank you.

    Adobe has been horrible of late with their press releases and inability to convey the complete and accurate message. This has led to fear and confusion, and I believe this is the same. My guess is that Adobe is making this move to force people away from the physical product and to their new subscription service. Rumor is that the Master Collection will be available for $50 a month. At Adobe Max they announced that this subscription would provide any and all updates along the way as they were available and not be tied to a full or .5 release. If the rumor is true, this price point makes the subscription service a much more viable alternative and is a potential win-win for both Adobe and consumers.

  58. Unbelievable. I totally agree that they should have warned users ahead of time. This is the first I’ve heard of the new upgrade policy. I have only recently purchased 5.5 and had to extend myself to purchase that and a slew of other upgrades in a tight economy – not planning to be an early adopter of CS6. I would hate to be held hostage to essentially start from scratch if I was still using CS4. This is going to be like a dagger through the heart of every small show owner struggling to just stay in the game – designers, printers, photographers, etc. I think they should extend larger savings to people who upgrade more frequently and still allow a path for users of older programs to upgrade without having to pay the full freight.

  59. I saw that policy last week on a link and I was stunned. It’s not a bait and switch but it definitely feels close. Now I’m not personally affected by the policy as I’m on Photoshop CS 5 but I could be on the next one because I wasn’t sure if I’d upgrade to CS6 or not. I just simply don’t know what is in it and whether it has value for me.

    I see this pushing photographers more to Lightroom but that begs the question: are they going to do this with Lightroom, too? Did I make a mistake in going the Adobe route? Should I start looking into Aperture or go back to NX (awaiting its slow death from Nikon)?

    This seems clearly motivated to push people to their subscription model. If they make the “owned” versions painful enough to maintain then people will go to subscriptions, right? Well, the subscriptions are horrible pricing models for people like me: hobbyist photographers who make no money at all in Photoshop or camera related ways. If they continue on this path they will totally push me away from Photoshop. And that’s sad as I’ve been using it since version 1.0. I’ve invested thousands of dollars and hours into the product. I don’t lightly regard the idea of throwing it all away.

    So Adobe, do the right thing here. And recognize that not everyone is a big pocket business with money to burn for the subscriptions and upgrades. The policy used to be very generous, many versions back. Then it became less generous to 3 versions back. Then 2 versions. Now 1 version. How soon until there is no benefit to being a loyal customer at all?

  60. Scott – thanks for writing this post. I continue to be perplexed by decisions Abobe makes on flagship products like Photoshop. These decisions are indicative of a company who feels as though they have the market cornered and can make push their customers around. Paying full price again simply isn’t an option for a lot of us.

    I’m surprised that another company hasn’t been able to develop a more reasonably priced counterpart to Photoshop (and equal in capacity) that can be adopted by the photography community. I think the opportunity is there for the taking.

  61. Scott, thank you for a well-reasoned letter to Adobe. I hope that the good folks at Adobe are listening and have the courage to re-think their decision.

    It took some spine on your part to speak truth to power here; that’s what I’ve come to expect from NAPP and one reason why it continues to be a must-have membership for me.


  62. Here’s some thought..
    1) Start selling all your Mac products in the App store and charge Apple prices for it (i.e. no more than £299 – I am guessing you will more than make far more money this way by having a larger audience.
    Sure your a business but I believe you’re a monopoly really so come one treat those paying for your software fairly.

    2) Don’t.. and continue to see your products being stolen/copied/hacked etc

    PS.. Perhaps we could persuade Apple to purchase Adobe now flash is almost dead.

  63. Scott, unfortunately Adobe hasn’t really cared for its users in some time–they wrote us off a long time ago. The problem is they have no competition so there’s no reason for them to accommodate customers. But just like Quark who abused their users for years, a day will come when Adobe will go to far with their money grab & squeezing every last drop of revenue out of their customers. Someone will eventually develop a software contender (ie Pixelmator) & folks will remember how they were treated while Adobe had a ‘captive clientele’ and the exodus will be on..

    As an example of Adobe’s arrogance, see the whole Flash vs Apple fiasco. Adobe was willing to pretty much lie & deceive the public to keep that mobile Flash atrocity on life-support. So the chances of the knuckle-headed guys like Narayen to understand & admit mistakes are small. This is the road they are choosing to go down and though there’s nothing wrong w/ a company trying to maximize their profits–there comes a point where that costs you your most loyal customers.

  64. Scott,
    Thanks for your leadership on an issue that impacts a large segment of the Adobe user community. I hope Adobe listens to your proposed approach.

  65. In a world of ever tightening economy, this is a MAJOR LOW BLOW by Adobe. I for one am not even shopping much for the holidays (home made gifts it is folks, sorry!) so being forced into a position where I either HAVE to upgrade or get shafted down the road by having to pay full price AGAIN for the latest version? Adobe fails to realize how many of us are scraping by financially and that making us have to choose between a new version of software and paying our electric bill is going to be an ERIC FAIL on their part!

    Last year I emailed Adobe multiple times to notify them of a local man who was selling pirated copies of CS5 Master Collection. They never even “auto-responder” replied to me .. Maybe that is the route they want to force us to go?

    Certainly most hobbyists and small businesses find the upgrade prices to be painful enough to scrimp and save for every *other* version/upgrade, but if we are forced to pay full prices if the version is more than one off? I certainly can’t afford to pay full price…. And if Adobe persists in implementing this policy immediately, they will lose more than just me as an honest customer.

  66. Thanks Scott,
    I am one of those that buys every other version of every software I purchase. It sounds like Adobe is pushing for the monthly rental method of sales and doesn’t care about selling to us users outright. Again comes the forceful power of the major manufacturer and the little man pays for all the wall street gamblers.

  67. Thank you for writing this letter. It is very well written. I use Photoshop as a hobby. I love the program and while I would love for it to be part of my business, I’m just not to that point yet. I currently have CS4 and would love to upgrade but it is going to get pretty pricey if I have to pay for the entire new version. It’s kind of hard to justify that kind of cost if you are just using the program as part of a hobby.

  68. And now that the world is a small place due to the Internet – why don’t you adopt a world pricing policy? Apart from local taxation we should have a global price. Here in Europe we pay well in excess of that. e.g.

    Creative suite 5 design premium in the UK is £1665 – which, on todays exchange rate is $2580 – less Tax – $2150
    The same suite in the USA is $1704 before tax.

    Thats $450 more (or around 25% higher) – which I find a bit excessive for the spelling of colour instead of color.

    Its a rip-off!

  69. Thank you Scott.

    I appreciate that you have the integrity it takes to see this issue from all sides, and have offered some very diplomatic solutions to what could become a serious problem for Adobe and its customers.


  70. Scott,
    I think you just showed why we all read this blog, and respect you as a teacher and a person! You just took a huge stand for the little guys, and did it in a way that wasn’t rude to Adobe! Thanks for everything sir!


  71. Scott…
    Add another ‘P’ to your organization’s name, NAPPP,and re-send your letter to Adobe indicating that you are adding Pixelmator. The members ought to look into that product anyway. It’s always good to have an alternative.

  72. Thank you so much Scott for bringing attention to this. I was not aware of the new Adobe policy, but now I feel I have the information to look after my own needs. You laid out a compelling scenario to Adobe, I certainly hope they take your words to heart.

  73. Thanks Scoot:
    Hopefully Adobe will come to their senses or maybe not. In either case, we the consumer can either purchase or not purchase their products according to their guide lines. It is as simple as that. No sales no revenue, shareholders dump the stock, and then Adobe will rethink their position. If they continue to stick with this policy, then they are calling any bluff that we would NOT purchase their products.

  74. Adobe is becoming more like Micro$oft when it tries to hold its customers hostage to upgrade cycles rather than innovating with new products and new ways of doing things (like Apple). By milking their customers with outrageous upgrade pricing, this will only serve to encourage their customers to search for alternatives and spur new software developers to start new products to compete with Adobe. I hope some of the innovative plug-in software companies will decide to develop full-fledged Photoshop competitors. I would like to see someone with deep pockets and vision take a product like Pixelmator and develop it into a modern fully functional photo editing program. Also, hopefully Apple will continue to advance Aperture ($80) and add more functionality to it.

    I may end up doing the current discounted upgrade (CS4 to CS5.5) and then work hard to avoid any future entrapment by Adobe into further upgrades or an outrageously expensive monthly subscription. Adobe, your end is near if all you have going is trying to dictate to your customers how they spend their money rather than offer them quality products they want to buy.

  75. Thank you Scott for sticking up for us. I’ve been a registered user of Adobe Photoshop since version 3. I haven’t upgraded every new version along the way, but did when I could afford it. I’ve never made a single penny from Photoshop all through the years, just being a hobby-est. Looking ahead, I think Adobe is going to lose far more than they gain with their new policy. Shame on you Adobe! Thanks again Scott!!

  76. I add my thanks to Scott for standing up for the little person..

    As a current owner of a license for PS CS 5, I do have the option to upgrade. Will I? That is an intriguing decision. No way will I ever get locked in the subscription model. That is just throwing money away. It still appears to me to be cheaper to upgrade each year than to lock oneself into a perpetual rental cycle. Of course, if you do not upgrade to CS 5 and purchase a CS 6 license you have basically settled on paying full price for any future (CS 7 on up) version or eventually jumping on the subscription model.

    The question also arises… How much further can the enhance PS and what will be the killer features that will draw people to future versions? There are alternatives out there for many but the most sophisticated photographer who really needs the extreme functionality of PS.

    The only thing for sure is that Adobe will loose customers with this model. Will they make up for the loss with the subscription fee model? Time will tell.

  77. Scott,

    We are so lucky to have you as an evangelist and also a great supporter of all of us using Adobe products.
    There are also a lot of complaints about features not working well (or at all) in Photoshop (< 5 or 5.5) for witch Adobe is not providing fixes.

    Adobe has still to work a LOT in fixing the CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP, as they live only if us, as customers are paying for their products.


  78. Thanks, Scott. I’ve noticed that companies producing plug-ins, like onOne, also have their new programs as stand alone. Guess that means that it may be possible for folks to do a lot of editing outside of Photoshop. I have CS5 and expect to upgrade to CS6 when it comes out, but would not be interested in a $600/yr Creative Suite subscription plan since I don’t use the other Creative Suite products and don’t want them and certainly do not wish to pay for them.

  79. Adobe now has themselves in a bind. The only way out might be the tiered upgrade approach. Otherwise, what happens to people like me who just purchased CS5 as a result of the new upgrade policy. I would nit be pleased if Adobe changed its mind after the announcement.

  80. Scott,

    Great letter. I would add one more thing–history. Lest Adobe forgets, there used to be a behemoth in the design world named Quark Express. Quark got a little too sure of itself and it’s industry dominance. It then started upping its price to the ridiculous. At this point in time was when I started my own business. I wanted to buy Quark, but for the same price I could get the entire Adobe Creative Suite that included that new upstart software InDesign. It was a business decision. 4 pieces of software or 1. It was a no brainier. Some thought I was crazy, but I just couldn’t afford the “best” anymore. I had to make money. So I called up all my vendors and informed them that I was switching from Quark Express to InDesign. Those who said they couldn’t accommodate me lost my business. Eight years later, I know of few design shops or ad agencies using Quark Express. I believe Quark Express could have held its market share if it had just listened to its customer base. Instead they got greedy because they believed their dominance would last. That’s old fashioned thinking. And now a days that will kill any company. Remember MySpace anyone?

  81. This reminds me of Quark. Back in the day when Quark was the only layout program anyone bought, they too had stupid upgrade pricing, and authorization nightmares. Everyone was clamoring, begging, for an alternative…which was of course, Adobe InDesign. V1 was rough, and few switched right away, but within a few versions, most did switch. And I did, simply because it was cheaper to buy the Creative Suite, since it had Photoshop and Illustrator in it.

    I really think it’s time for the cycle to start again. Maybe open-source, maybe a real company. Someone needs to start basic and make a photo/illustration/layout bundle that we can start transitioning too.

    Scott/Kelby Inc. is obviously connected at the hip with Adobe, but he was one of the first big time celebrities to openly switch to InDesign and push Quark by the wayside.

    And can I just get this off my chest too – the whole monthly subscription thing that Adobe is pushing, with CS, with muse, makes me sick. That is so awful for companies like me. Their are months with my 1-man business that I have practically NO income due to late payers, the last thing I need is $50-$100 a month I need to worry about. I save up the cash, buy the upgrade, and sit tight until I can save up more money for the next one…in this case, I’m still on CS4. Was going to MAYBE take advantage of the 20% off thing, but maybe not. Now, I’m not so sure I want to go down that road with Adobe. I am very likely to say “screw it”, and just start finding ways to transition out of CS altogether. Quark might get back a customer believe it or not.

  82. As a 75 year old former computer specialist who (living on a limited fixed income budget) has used Adobe products for many years in my photography hobby I wonder if Adobe has thought of the real cost of acquiring new customers? We all know it is more costly to find new clients than to keep current ones. How will the loss of potentially thousands of current users compare to the costs of adding new users?

    Sure, I won’t be around for many years, but, I can tell you I have spread the gospel of Adobe all these past years and if this new upgrade policy goes into place I will then be spreading the rejection of Adobe as much as I had trumpeted the past Adobe products. I would venture a guess that if this policy is instituted we could expect Adobe to copy it with all of their products.


    1. I am a youngster, compared to Don, being only a 70 year old retiree and a hobbyist with photography and Adobe products. I also live on a fixed income and can say that if Adobe continues on this path, that reeks of corporate greed rather than a sound business plan based on customer service and resulting income growth, then I will be forced into dropping the product line. It seems as though Adobe wants to emulate the Netflix approach to guarantee customer decline. Corporate decision makers often overlook that many of the populace are living in financially restrictive times.

      A huge thank you to Scott for laying out a number of sound, reasonable, logical and positive alternatives that Adobe could easily implement to not only protect their existing customer base but would also encourage growth. We can only hope that somebody in the Adobe hiearchy pays attention to the feedback offered by its current customer base.


  83. Having thought about this I think many hobby and freelance photogs will take a hard look at the use of Lightroom with Photoshop Elements as this will get them essentially the same base package. People will also start looking more at plugins to supplement this. Or the On One 6 which is standalone. Both LR and PSE have a fair amount of training and books available. And the various alternatives such as GIMP and Sage Editor will begin to look more attractive. PS will go back to being something only specific users buy just as only specific markets buy Autocad. Everyone else uses Turbocad.

    My fear is that Adobe will do this across all their products. Take Acrobat for example. I never upgrade to the new version but wait until the next version. As Scott says they have every right to do as they please. But business practices like this force people to look at alternatives particularly in an economy that is not likely to really change for many years. I am taking a good hard look at alternative PDF tools.

    Adobe is shooting themselves in the foot just like Apple did with Final Cut and Avid did with their AV software. Funny thing is Adobe offers a big discount to Avid users. Avid users went to Adobe CS and now they get the shaft.

  84. Thanks for a thoughtful post on this. In these tight times as a “small guy” this, as you say, might well have me using CS4 as my last Adobe product. Did they not see the fallout from not engaging with their base over at Netflix?

  85. Thanks for the thoughtful post Scott. As a “little guy” this indeed might just have me with CS4 being the last Adobe product that I ever own. If they are going to price me out of the market I will find other solutions. A very poor decision in these tough times.

  86. Adobe, customer-centric? Either that must have been a while ago, or only US-based customers are regarded as such.
    If you want to try to feel _really_ scr*** by Adobe, simply double the prices for any and all software, suite or update, regardless of language support, translations and such. Then you’ll know how we in Europe feel having to pay ~US$ 1100 for an english CS4 to CS5 software download upgrade.

  87. Couldn’t agree more with your open letter. I was actually unaware of this policy. Fortunately I have stayed up to date on my upgrades and am currently on v5. But I know that if this were not the case I would not be in a position to plunk down full retail for v6 when it comes out. The delay to v7 would at least offer forewarning to existing users whose software isn’t current, and the tiered concept that offers a middle-ground upgrade price for those who are more than one generation behind may also be a reasonable compromise.

    Thanks for your voice.

  88. Way to go Mr. Kelby! I am someone that can’t upgrade every time there is a new version of the suite. So, I try to upgrade every other time. I’m on CS4 now with hopes to upgrade to CS6. But, when I saw the new pricing structure- my heart sank. I really appreciate your willingness to be an industry customer advocate. Hopefully Adobe listens.

  89. It’s great to see you publishing this letter, however just to put pricing into perspective, we living in Sweden pay $680 för the upgrade to PS CS5 Extended and $2047 if you buy a new product. How’s that?

  90. Does anyone know how this policy affects Student Version users? We don’t do upgrades, but we have reduced pricing. It Student Version unaffected by these changes?

  91. Thanks Scott,

    One would think that Adobe would be looking to increase user base, and therefore they have added the rental product, however they are laboring under the idea that they are alone in the market place. There is a rule in the consumer world, price matters and service also matters. Even though I have owned CS for a bunch of years, I used another product for most of my photography work because I could afford to license it for every machine for less than one copy of photoshop. Photoshop with CS5 offered enough new features that sped up my workflow so that it became my go to software. With all of the offerings from other companies to get the job done, it is likely that many users like myself will simply move to another software.

    Adobe seems to recognize with their rental plan that price is a significant barrier to entry into their product line. If their gamble is that people will use the rental plan because the price of the “owned license” is so high, they are forgetting that users have another option. Using some other software. The question that they should ask is “What does it cost to gain a customer to replace the customer they would be losing if someone decides to go somewhere else?”

    I like most people on this thread would like to see Adobe support its users better with the new pricing, however if they do not, the marketplace, not pirates will decide if they have made the right choice.

  92. I upgrade from CS3 to CS4 AND I switched from a PC to a Mac in 2008….so I was told by Adobe back then that I have used up all my upgrades. I hadn’t heard about this recent Adobe CS6 issue…and if I understand correctly, I guess that means that I will need to buy CS5 at full price in order to even have the upgrade option to CS 6. Bummer. I think I’ll just stick with CS4.

  93. Photoshop is one of the most pirated peaces of software for a reason !!! This new pricing structure will not help this.

    I looked into purchasing 20 licenses of the full Creative Suite, most vendors will give a price breaks for multiple licenses – Not Adobe !!! By the way, I was also bundling into the deal over 200 licenses for Acrobat Pro. They pissed me off so much about CS that I’m looking into other options for Acrobat now.

    So, they lost out on locking my firm into using all Adobe products for the next few years, maybe for ever.

    Smart move Adobe !!! :-(

    Adobe, remember at one point BlackBerry was unbeatable. Look at their market share now.

  94. I think this is an interesting move by Adobe. I think the key part of this letter than I wholly agree with an support is phasing in the new upgrade policy to allow users on CS3 and CS4 a more value oriented upgrade path than re-buy the product.

    The ‘cloud’ of course, is not about serving the customer but about locking the customer in. Through monitoring the use of the Creative Cloud, Adobe will get far more insight into what their customer base is doing, which apps their using and which features in those apps their using. Sure, as a user, you’ll have more flexibility to access your work on the go – not that all of us need that – but the key for Adobe is what they can learn about their customers. In the same way iTunes is not about music, it’s about the database of customers, their credit cards and buying habits.

    But Adobe is running the risk of p***ing off many of its customers and losing them and their goodwill by implementing change too rapidly.

    Personally, I’ll have to do the math. I used to use more of the suite but now running WordPress sites, I rarely use Dreamweaver and I don’t do much graphic design. But I am interested in the InDesign product, which I don’t presently have. So when the time comes in 2012, I’ll need to run the math on whether to subscribe or stay perpetual.

    You might have determined from these comments that I’m a CS 5.0 customer so the upgrade issue is not one for me personally. But for many it is and I support Scott in the letter and also urge Adobe to provide a more gradual on-ramp to their future model.

  95. Scott,

    Well said, and thanks for posting this as an open letter, so that we can read it and share it. The points are valid, and it is the small business owners and entrepreneurs who will be most impacted by these proposed changes – exactly the people who are already down in this economy, and who really don’t need another kick right now.

    Your suggestion of delaying the new upgrade policy to CS7 is a very fair one, and the tiered upgrade pricing is also quite fair. For a company like Adobe, who makes a profit margin over 25% (that’s over a billion dollars a year in profits), this will not hurt them. However, following the current proposed path will hurt and alienate countless customers, which is never a good policy.

    Scott, you showed clearly today that you hear and LISTEN to your customers, let’s hope Adobe demonstrates the same empathy.


  96. Wow! I had no clue about this. When I got the 20% off, I thought about upgrading but I knew they must be coming out with CS6 soon, so I opted not to since I figured so worth the 20% more for CS6. Please keep us up to date on this as I know I cannot afford to update twice! Thanks for sharing this with us. It is great to know that you watch out for all photoshop users!

  97. Bravo Scott! This move by Adobe has made me upset from the day they released the announcement!! Considering that they cut off the comments on that post, it also feels as if they are taking an “our way or the highway” approach to this, which also ticks me off.

    They need to hear from us. ALL of us!!!

  98. What Adobe is doing is forcing everyone into a subscription situation in a way. If you do not buy CS6 you can not upgrade to CS7. This means you can no longer skip a cycle if it does not add any new features which will help your workflow. If you try to skip a cycle you will have to pay the full price for the next upgrade.

    I am a small publisher I definitely can not afford to buy every version especially with the rate they are releasing the new versions. I currently own CS5.5 and unless CS6 offers something tremendous this may well be my last Adobe purchase. I have been with them since Photoshop was first introduced and switched from Quark to InDesign when it came along.

    I wish them luck.

  99. Can you imagine how many of us skip an entire CS number every time? I’ve almost always done that. Can you imagine – gulp, if Adobe lowered their pricing a bit, THEN switched to this mandatory upgrade every version baloney? Who would have a serious problem if we had to come up with $300 a year for a nice upgrade? That would be nice. They could simply say “we don’t think it’s good for our customers to skip upgrades. This whole Suite thing works best when most everyone stays up to date. So, we’re going to make it worth your while to upgrade each time so we are all in sync, Scott’s training applies to everyone, and we can move on.”

    That would be refreshing.

    Quark really, really should be investing in some programmers to start writing their Illustrator and Photoshop replacements. Even a web editor. I never quite figured out why they never tried to compete with the CS concept. That’s why everyone started buying CS…it was easy, predictable and all-in-one. Competition is good, and Adobe has none in the creative markets. None. Photoshop/Illustrator/Indesign…pretty much only game in town right now.

  100. Thank you so much Scott. This is the reason that I follow u and that im a proud NAPP member. Because you stand up for us. You r a great teacher and a great supporter.

  101. I never understand users that make it seem “impossible” to change the tools they use! Instead of complaining to a company that’s “clueless”, maybe you should spend more constructive time finding a better solution to your problems. Their are a lot of good alternatives to PhotoShop. Crying about what a company chooses to do with their software is beyond stupid + is a complete waste of time! If they changed their mind, they’d be admitting that they were wrong to anger their core-customers. Adobe’s obviously changing the way they do things because their normal way of doing business was flawed. So now they’re looking for ways to make more money since they’ve now finally realized they’ve been wasting years trying to make “working” version of flash for “mobile”. Adobe’s users can’t be ignorant to the fact that a shift from mobile-flash represents a significant waste of capital & time that’s been Adobe’s focus for years. If they can’t admit failure, how do you expect them to admit they’re hurting for cash too??!

  102. WONDERFUL! THANK YOU! BRAVO! I linked this to my FB page because of how much character and integrity it shows that you and your business have. I truly hope Adobe reflects on what you have stated so well in your letter. Fantastic!!! Can’t be happier or more proud to belong to an organization as I am right now.


  103. Very well said, thank you for standing up for all of us users that don’t count for much it seems! Or so they think. It reminds me of Microsoft tactics and I don’t use their products anymore. That should be a lesson to Adobe, quit beating up on the people that are purchasing your product, give us a break!!

  104. Here, here.

    I am one of those CS4 users that would like to continue using and upgrading Photoshop, but without the resource to purchase every release. I will certainly be left behind by this new policy.

    If the policy stands, Adobe will leave a large market segment behind and provide an opportunity for other companies. With the strides being made by OnOne, Nik and others, I am sure I will find an alternative.

  105. on one hand i find the timing of this strange, i would have guessed that the user base of photoshop is at an all time high with all the emerging pro photographers out there, so one the one hand selling more copies means you can have a business model that reduces the unit cost and allows Adobe to get it’s product out to more people while at least maintaining the same or better profit margins.
    on the other hand you may say “make hay while the sun shines’ when demand for your product is at it’s highest it is the best time to hike prices and make a killing. in my opinion this is a very short sighted view as it opens the flood gates for another company to come in at a more competitive price point and steel large market share.

    There are a few companies that can take the second approach and get away with it such as Apple but even they don’t push their luck too far, this may be a quick win for Adobe and may give them record earnings for 2012 but i would put hard cash on seeing that drop significantly in 2013-14.

  106. This comes as a complete and unwelcome surprise. I fully support you in every thoughtful statement you made in your letter to Adobe. Could there be a worse time (almost Christmas and at the end of a lengthy and persistent recession) to institute a policy like this? It looks cheap and miserly and will not serve them well in the public relations department.

    For those of us who have to use Adobe products everyday, we will probably grit our teeth and fall in step, but we won’t like it and we won’t think kindly of Adobe.

  107. Scott, thanks for writing this letter. This is exactly what I expect and appreciate from your role at NAPP. This policy change from Adobe reduces the value of their products to us, which therefore reduces the value of Adobe to its shareholders. I can’t see how they plan to grow a business by making it more difficult and expensive for loyal customers to buy their products.

  108. Thanks for speaking up Scott, but I am doubtful that Adobe is going to listen. The reason is that their recent moves suggest a strategy which focuses on the really big players and letting the small fry fend for itself. Selling less for more is always a tempting business model, and if Adobe becomes, or already is, the publishing software of choice for the Fortune 500, they don’t really have to care about us little guys.

    Look at the digital publishing suite. The first product out the door cost thousands, and cut Adobe a piece of the subscription action. It was clearly geared to big publishers like Conde Nast. A smaller scale solution only came later and almost seems an afterthought.

    It does look to me as if Adobe is offering up a business opportunity to competitors who want to focus on the smaller, but more numerous part of the market, as represented by NAPP.

  109. Adobe has never been customer centric! At least not in this century. I have been an Adobe Customer since Photoshop version 1.0. I have owned many pieces of software (legally) that they are only too happy to sell, until they decide to simply discontinue it. For example I was an original user of PageMaker, GoLive, Premiere (on the Mac), and older titles which they purchased from other companies then simply, one day, dropped. Too bad for their customers!

    I eventually owned everything inside of the Master Collection (at least once- sometimes twice) and finally got them to give me a master collection suite CS5.0 (at a full upgrade plus extra) so I could consolidate my serial numbers, even though they dropped GoLive from the package. I expected one Master Suite upgrade a year as there are large portions of the suite for which I have no use at all. (I don’t use any of the Flash Products and I don’t use DreamWeaver – I do use Lightroom, but then that’s not part of the Master Collection.) How long, by the way, before they discontinue all of the Flash Products now that Flash is not being supported on portable devices. (So why would I want to upgrade to version CS5.5, which appears to be predominantly a Flash upgrade?)

    I want the original “main products” updated in a synchronized fashion if I am a Master Suite owner, or I want a customized suite plan. Let me choose the products I need and forego the rest. What I am likely to do is get one of my relatives (a teacher) to start purchasing the tools I need at the educational discount on a yearly basis and forego all the Adobe crap. I’m tired of trying to play “fair” with software companies.

    Another point to consider. The current 1/2 upgrade still works on OSX 10.6, but when you break an upgrade across two tears you take the chance that a system upgrade in software will be necessary between the two upgrades. (According to Adobe this would only be a minimal charge for say a “Lion” upgrade ($29).) BUT, this kind of forced-system upgrade means the user may have to upgrade literally another $1000 plus worth of other software at the same time. But then that’s not Adobe’s problem, just the users.

    1. I made this reply another commenter — “I was just *forced* to upgrade to both CS5.5 AND a new MacPro tower. Thursday I got a stack of Indesign files CS3 could not open, and the client expected first updated layouts MONDAY. And now there’s CS6 lurking on the horizon. It’s bad enough that I can’t backsave ID CS5.5 files down to CS3 for my clients and vendors that still use CS3.”

  110. Hi Scott

    Unbelievable, there are lots of students out there and hobbyist who love to use Photoshop but don’t have the cash to upgrade each time a new version comes out. I just had a quick word with a group of 20 students and asked their opinion, several said they would look for alternate software, some said they would use Lightroom and some inferred that there are other ways of getting the software????

    1. Ed,

      If students have a valid college email address they can order from Academic Superstore. You can get CS5 for $194.95. Hopefully, CS6 will be in the same price range for you. The other option is to try GIMP. It’s free and depending on what type of work you do it may be sufficient. I hope this helps. Good luck


  111. Thank you Scott for your well thought out plan of action for Adobe to consider. I would hope that Adobe would come to the realization that their current approach is not in their best interest.

    Thanks again, you have restored my faith in NAPP.


  112. Scott – well said. Thanks from all of us who are devoted to Adobe products and would hate to put off upcoming upgrades for a few versions. Let’s face it, money is tight for all of us. While Adobe does have the right to make a profit, there are lots of NAPP members out there – we appreciate you speaking for us.

  113. Thanks Scott – Well said.

    I have upgraded to CS5.5 even though – I didn’t need to!!! I wanted to!!! – I have had great thoughts, and feelings toward Adobe and Adobe products. This decision could affect my feelings on future updates. I have many times made my decision on principle.

    I don’t need to say any more as you have knocked it out of the ball park. I support you and your letter 150%.

    I am presuming that Adobe reads your Blog or dose it give more clout to send an e-mail to Adobe supporting you and your letter.

  114. If you want a glimpse into the future see Netflix, see Bank of America. Both tried money grabs and both got burned. Netflix is now worth 1/3 of what it was just a few months ago. BofA has other problems but there $5 fee on debit card purchases caused many defections. Consumers will vote with their feet. I think Mr. Kelby’s suggestions, both of them, are very good ones that Adobe should immediately embrace.

  115. Scott,
    Thank you for bringing this to the attention of the community and for speaking up. I have been using Photoshop and Lightroom for years and, as you suggested, have always found Adobe to have customer focused upgrade policies. It seems they are pushing the lower income photographers to purely use LR, Elements or Aperture. I hope they reconsider – I like the flexibility that PS provides but I can’t re-purchase it over and over.
    Thanks & best regards,

  116. Thanks for a great letter, Scott. As a member of NAPP, I must say that I agree with everything you said. I do hope Adobe listens to their customer base. I can only speak for myself. I am a current user of CS5(upgraded from CS4), but I expect that will be the last version I purchase if Adobe decides to carry out this customer-unfriendly policy. I also own programs from Topaz Labs, Nik, and OnOne, and I can do a lot of amazing things without ever opening photoshop, and CS5 will continue to work fine for me for many years to come. I can only speak with my dollars, and if Adobe wants to treat its customers this way, then I can manage to spend my dollars elsewhere. For that matter, I moved to Lightroom from Aperture, and it wouldn’t be that difficult to migrate right back to Aperture. If you want to succeed in business, it matters how you treat your customers.

  117. Well said! I hope Adobe hears you! I for one have less disposable income these days and will have to make do with no upgrades if Adobe does not allow me more time to save up for the investment. Thanks for looking out for us Scott!

  118. hmmm…and those of us that have had economic difficulties…and have HAD to wait (unemployed for a year & a half) because we couldn’t afford to update, and still can’t even with that discount are left out in the cold!

  119. I could not agree more. I’m a graphic designer in a one man business. I’m currently using the CS4 Creative Suite Design Premium because I’m simply unable to upgrade with every new version. I just checked and the hit to upgrade to CS5.5 is $649. For my small business, this is too much of a hit to take on short notice, something that needs to be planned for, saved for.

    Regarding the $99 / month subscription plan, this too is an unreasonable expense for my small business. Especially considering that I have absolutely no use for most of Adobe’s products. I’d be willing to pay a smaller monthly fee to have just the software that I require: Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator & Acrobat.

    Come on Adobe! Don’t screw your loyal customers just for the mighty dollar (I’ve been using your software since 1994). Give us what we need, not what you want. In the long run, you’ll keep us all happier. Otherwise, I think I’ll be using CS4 forever.

  120. One issue that you didn’t raise in your excellent letter, Scott, is Adobe’s recent change in their version release timetable. It is my perception that the change in upgrade policy was deemed necessary by Adobe because they are going to be bringing out major versions less frequently (about every two years instead of every 18 months). In short, they still need the same revenue even with upgrades slowing down and users not being heavily motivated to upgrade to the 0.5 versions, which will be minor. Even the formerly user-hostile Quark will let me upgrade two versions (or about 5 years) back and have a promo on until year’s end that goes back even further.

    These 0.5 releases (for which they charge the same upgrade price) are the real problem in coming up with a coherent policy. Their old policy was simple to understand and basically forced you to upgrade every three years or so to keep the best pricing. Under the new release schedule, that upgradeable copy could be four years old — potentially a major loss in revenue for Adobe. Adobe’s new policy now forces you to upgrade every two years, which seems pretty customer-hostile and a large cash grab while offering less for your money. While tiered upgrades could be a solution, my thought is that Adobe could retain the same potential revenue stream by trimming the upgrade offer to 1.5 versions back rather than 2 full versions. As Scott suggests, let CS 6 be the transition: since there was no CS 4.5 (i.e. 6 minus 1.5), give CS4 users an upgrade path until CS 6.5 is released.

    Make no mistake, I do not believe Adobe should have changed their policy at all, since by doing so they are offering us less for the same money. If they wanted to change the policy, they could do it the App Store way (which, for the record, I generally don’t like): drop the price and offer no upgrade path, since the price is now similar to the old upgrade price.

    Glad to hear you speaking out about this, Scott. I’ve followed your work since Mac Today, so I know Adobe will at least hear you.

  121. Thank you, Scott for letting us know about this change and for writing this letter. I am one of the people that this affects. I am a CS4 user that never got around to upgrading to CS5. Never occurred to me that would leave me in this situation for future releases. I really hope that Adobe reconsiders this policy for CS6. As you stated, would be much more fair to give us all some warning and implement this change with CS7.

  122. Great post Scott. You have always been the loudest voice that I think Adobe listens to, outside of their walls. Thanks for standing up for those who couldn’t pony up the cash to the latest version. I know you catch a ton of flack for being in Adobe’s pocket, I think we can put those opinions to rest.

    To Adobe, please listen to Scott. It is a great compromise.

  123. What is it with these companies lately that are shooting themselves in the foot by not looking at the big picture and their loyal customers i.e. Netflix, Microsoft, and now Adobe. I understand that they have a responsibility to their shareholders but their ultimate responsibility is to the customers that pay for their products. Slip ups like this allow new competitors to slide in and take customers away … maybe a little competition is what Adobe needs.

  124. For those saying that may have to get by with Lightroom and Elements, remember that there are many who use photoshop for way more than photography. In that case, photoshop is almost irreplaceable.
    It was way cool to have Scott represent us like he has. Thank you!

  125. Thanks for writing this letter for us Scott, someone had to do it and I’m glad it was you. Let’s hope the accountants at Adobe listen to the message.

    Personally, I am one of the CS3 brigade, who originally bought the CS3 Design Premium package, so I have another upgrade dilemma, namely I can’t just upgrade to Photoshop CS6 as the bundle I purchased wont allow the upgrade of just one product. So for me it is upgrade the full package, which now I can’t as I’m CS3 or just buy PS CS6 as a standalone. both of which I can’t really justify in this current climate.

    What I would like is to be able to jump onto the subscription model from scratch, dumping all my CS3 products and using the full Monty Master package. Do you, or anyone else know if this is going to be possible?


    1. After 24 hours to mull this over, I think Lightroom and CS3 will suffice. I was going to purchase a full copy of Photoshop CS6, but if I HAVE to purchase, I’ll look elsewhere first. Adobe would’ve got my custom this release … Not now.

  126. This also sounds a lot like KODAK!

    In the Portrait Photography world there was a great product called ProShots. This was a program that allowed a great interface and workflow for ordering from photo labs from scanned negs and digital files. The program was supplied to photo studios for free. The labs paid for the use of the software.

    In steps Kodak and they buy out the company that created ProShots. Kodak then decides to charge studios $249 a year to use it. Photo studios balked and the labs quickly worked to design several alternative software solutions that they then offered to photographers for free.

    It did not take long and then Kodak had to shut down ProShots and even had to give refunds to the people who did subscribe. Where is Kodak today? They are practically out of business and they are currently selling off most of their patents to try to keep their heads above water.

  127. What if Adobe is thinking of changing the price for the software. Maybe they will reduce the entry level price to something like $300. Apple’s app store has really changed the price for some other software.

  128. Photoshop may become just like Windows XP. Look at how many people and entire corporations have refused to upgrade from XP. Windows has published 2 upgrades since XP and are soon to release a third, but these users (including me) are not paying to upgrade.

    Unless Adobe finds a way to stop you from using your current version, there is no way many people will upgrade. Also, many big corporations are not exactly doing well right now. Maybe they will decide that the current version is just great and they don’t need to upgrade because of this policy change.

  129. Thanks, Scott, for taking this stand. Your alternative approaches will hopefully give Adobe something to think about.

    If Adobe adheres to its current stand, I suggest that you consider additional steps that you could lead that might cause Adobe to reconsider their position. It is helpful that you’ve started this discussion with a firm, constructive tone. But if you are ignored, you should step up the pressure. You have many followers who will follow you. Please, don’t just drop this.

  130. Lets take a look at what happened to Netflix when the went and messed around with there pricing structure and services and did it without telling there customers,,,a loss of 600,000 customers (ouch0 Adobe could be really smart and take a lesson from history and buy doing so they won’t be dommed to repeat it.

  131. As far as you go in your comments Scott, your good. But what about Adobe’s very unfair pricing policy for people outside of the US? Last time I looked it costs in US dollar terms much more to buy an Adobe product in the UK (I assume the discs are identical to the US versions). No wonder many people are finding that if they can’t Pixlr it then they don’t try.

  132. Thank you Scott, it was just a matter of time time until someone else feels the pain.

    That statement warrants an explanation. I am in New Zealand therefore an international customer.

    The offer of discount is nice and I am happy to pay even if there was not special discount.

    I am not allowed to pay for an upgrade from CS4 to whatever in US currency or purchase from the US store online

    Instead I get redirected to the Australian store. The price in Australian currency is higher, maybe that is not all that bad ( for the same thing nothing extra yet ). I have to convert the Australian currency to New Zealand currency.

    The end result is for the same thing, nothing extra, I have to pay several hundred dollars more than someone who purchased Photoshop.

    The reason is people will put up with it. People will end up buying the product because they love it regardless of the principle and those that can will pass the cost on to their customers.

  133. Topaz has never charged for upgrades and are a fast growing company. Stop and think Adobe we have been loyal to you over the years. Be true to your customers and and reap honest benefits.

  134. This would have been the typical practice of Quark when they had near-monopoly of the design and production industry, now we’re seeing Adobe taking the sort of bully-boy monopolistic stance.

    Are they trying to boost their stock-value prior for a possible buy-out? Who would buy them – at one-time Apple might have bought them because of their content creation opportunities and selling more Macs, But now Apple is making much more from the consumer side it’s unlikley to be of interest to their core-business.

    Can someone start an Occupy Photoshop?

  135. Topaz never charges for upgrades and is a fast growing company with a loyal customer base because of it.

    We have been loyal to Adobe over the years and they may be the industry leader, But as others have pointed out how quickly that can change.

  136. I upgraded from CS3 to CS5 when it first came out because I had gotten back into photography in a big way as a hobby. Frankly, I don’t use Photoshop all that much in my workflow, though it’s wonderful when I do. The advance info on CS6 is not making me anxious to upgrade, and so I was planning to skip this version, and use my hobby dollars on other things. If Adobe does go ahead with this policy, then CS5 will probably be the last version of Photoshop I own. Most of what I use Photoshop for I can now do with Lightroom plugin suites that I bought for other purposes. I’ll bet there are a ton of other NAPP members and enthusiast photographers just like me. Yes, Adobe gets to make their business decisions, but then so do we as customers. And customers always have the last word.

  137. Scott,

    On behalf of the little guy, thank YOU!

    I’ve also written emails to various Adobe employees asking them to rethink this pricing policy.

    I’m praying they’ll fix this right away.


  138. It’s good to see someone as influential as Scott speaking out.

    But, while this particular policy announcement may be new, the overall attitude of Adobe to upgrades and their customers has been deteriorating for a long time, in my opinion.

    The synchronisation of the whole Adobe product range for the Creative Suites was the equivalent of a car being built to a price. The quality of the finished product ceased to be the primary driving force.

    International customers are charged obscene premiums for the same downloadable products as US buyers, and “Upgrades” are often little more than paid-for bug fixes – assuming the bug you’re interested in actually gets patched.

  139. I echo Dirk van der Walt’s comment. In the UK the price of Adobe products is ridiculously out of kilter.
    I quote Tom Arah from
    “At today’s exchange rate, US $2,599 should convert to around £1,575 for the full Master Collection, the $549 upgrade to £333, and the annual monthly subscription rate of $129 to £78. In each case I’d argue that that’s really good value.
    Instead the equivalent UK pricing to buy the CS5.5 Master Collection is £2,268, it’s £476 for the upgrade and £116 for the annual monthly cost. And that’s before you add in 20% VAT!”
    So the dollar is about 1/3 less the value of the GBP and in the UK we are expected to pay over 1/3 MORE. Why is downloading software in the UK any different to downloading it in the US? And I see even less difference if we have to move to the subscription model pricing. Looks like those “grey” copies of software that abound are becoming even more attractive . . .

    1. Dave… Really? Apple?! Be careful what you wish for… Carefully examine what Apple just did to their ‘loyal’ final Cut Pro users with the ‘upgrade’ to FCP X.
      The real answer might be for users to be stock holders, rather than Investment Banks…

      1. “Carefully examine what Apple just did to their ‘loyal’ final Cut Pro users with the ‘upgrade’ to FCP X.”

        What, slash the price and re-invent the product on a streamlined modern codebase? Yeah. I’ll take some of that in Creative Suite, thanks.

  140. Thanks for standing up for us, Scott. Many people who skip a version are still very loyal customers, waiting to upgrade for a more substantial set of improvements and features. This seems like a very short sighted move on Adobe’s part.

  141. I support your comments 100%. I have CS5 so it is not going to hurt me today. I find it hard to believe Adobe’s approach to it’s loyal customer base, bearing in mind that CS5 is interferer to other products out there,with HDR, noise reduction and sharpening and NIK Software control points. Adobe is already being overtaken by the competition this may be another nail in the coffin.

  142. Thanks Scott –

    Adobe has a problem: After telling my photography friends about the upgrade change I’m heard stories of problems when they contacted Adobe. The most common problem reported was the photographer had a legal, licensed PS program and attempted to place it on a new computer, but Adobe would not allow the transfer.

    Adobe should remember: No business will last if they continue to make interactions between the customers and the business a unpleasant visit.

  143. I upgraded from CS3 to CS5 not because I needed it, but to keep current. It hasn’t made that much of a difference in what I’ve done so far. I also bought LR3. I’m good for what I do. Thought I would upgrade every two upgrades but now I’ll just stick with what I have and not worry about it.

  144. Maybe Adobe knew this reaction would come but didn’t mind 3 or 4 hundred freaked out Cs4 customers quickly upgrading to Cs5 then to find Adobe changed it’s policy back.

  145. It seems that Adobe must have hired the same idiot who tried to put Inuit out of business, with his “new pricing” schema. One beautiful thing about capitalism and free society is that we CAN vote with our money. Adobe got kick in their corporate butt by Steve Jobs, and know they try to see if they can repeat the “experience”. Let them. There is nothing more humiliating like writing a “We were wrong, this will NEVER happen again…” I still keep the letter from Intuit and Netflix for the sentimental value.

    In a meantime, I do appreciate that Scott took a stand and explain to some marketing / sales “geniuses” at Adobe that this is not the way to go. I don’t know why, but just yesterday I was looking at another competing product, and liked what I see. I will milk my CS 5.5. as long as I can (no upgrade to 6 …. 4 sure), and later move to something better.

    Idea for Scott and other training providers. DO NOT create CS6 classes. Why would you want to waste your time and resources? Catering only to a very limited elite of highly skilled professionals? It makes no economic sense. You want mass market of enthusiasts who already own older versions of Adobe product lines. Let’s see Adobe deal with this “little” dilemma…”)

  146. Adobe can learn a lesson from Netflix on how NOT to go about a change that directly effects the customer and not without any pre-notification. Netflix lost 600,000 customers with that change. Like the old saying goes,,,”learn from the mistakes in history or you’ll be doomed to repeat it”.

  147. I do not think that Adobe should change from its plans based on users’ complaints. Adobe should change from its plans because the management should recognize that they are going to drive Adobe further into the ground. With such unappealing purchase options, we’re sure to see another 750 Adobe employees laid off this time next year.

  148. I already had my “rude awakening” from Adobe this year. I was one of their customers that purchased the full version of CS5 Master Collection. I am a Mac user and was not planning to upgrade my 2006 Macbook Pro (32-bit) until next year. It was serving my needs perfectly. I had downloaded and successfully used the 30-day trial version of CS5 on this 32-bit Macbook. Imagine my shock at finding that when I purchased the full version it would not run unless I bought a whole new Macbook (64-bit). Adobe was less than helpful when I inquired as to why the trial ran successfully in 32-bit. I kept getting the stock answer that I needed a 64-bit machine. Then why the hell make a trial version that runs in 32-bit???!!! If the 32-bit exists, then why not make it available? Oh, that’s right I forgot…IT iS AVAILABLE TO PC USERS. Thanks for supporting the Mac users who put you where you are Adobe.

    1. But you can force Photoshop CS5 to run in 32 bit!

      Quit Photoshop, in the finder, click on the Photoshop CS5 icon (not the folder, the icon) Get Info – command I. In the info box there is a place to check “Open in 32 bit mode” Restart Photoshop!

    2. you can run in 32bit its in the right click it in the applications then put get info and somewhere there it is change to 32 bit thats how you get to variations and light effetcs

  149. Scott,
    Thanks for this letter. It means alot to me that your working for us to see that we are treated fairly. I do use CS5 extended, but I know that out of the 450+ members of my camera club that they do not all stay current. I have shared your open letter with them so that they can become better informed. Thanks for all that you do on our behalf.


  150. Scott, well written – thank for representing us!
    There is an entire ecosystem of related products, tools, training, etc which revolves around the Adobe world. Adobe’s new policy will also have a tremendous impact on those products, companies and customers as well. I chose Ligthroom because of its relationship to the rest of the product line. Take away my upgrade path to Creative Suite and you’ve taken away the motivation to continue to use Lightroom.

  151. After many years of using various Adobe products including Photoshop since version 1, I cut them out of my workflow completely several years ago because of unfriendly, confusing, expensive upgrade changes and unresponsive customer service. They did not deserve any more of my money. Sorry to see they are up to the same old tricks. Good luck with them.

  152. BTW – why did you do away with Adobe Service Providers?

    We were on that scheme – and its missed…. are you just getting too greedy?

    Back in the 1970’s in the UK, the goverment set the top rate of Tax at 95% – so you got to keep 5p in every pound earned – and unsurprisingly people worked very hard at minimising their income to avoid paying tax.

    It was quickly found that as the percentage rates dropped, people didn’t work so hard at avoiding tax – so they paid up – and as a result the government got more revenue. It seems counter intuitive, but true. I am sure than so many people have illegal version of Photoshop exactly as it is so expensive….. I’d love to know what happened to Apple’s sales when Aperture dropped to a 1/3 or 1/4 of the price when it went onto the app store.

    As someone who has used photoshop for almost half my lifetime, starting with version 2.5 (not CS, but the original) I found that I didn’t have to upgrade at every version – so I went from 7, to CS2, to CS3 – which is where I’ve stayed. Now I’m probably ready to go to 5.5 or 6 – but will avoid as much as I can – and certainly will not change every computer in the business to the newest version. If however it was sold at a realistic price I’d have it on 4 or 5 machines…

    I read somewhere that for every legal copy of photoshop in use there are dozens if not hundreds of illegal copies. Charge a realistic amount and many many more people will buy.

  153. Scott! You are an inspiration… A perfectly written and conceived proposal.

    A man in the position you are in looking out for not even just the 70k+ NAPP members that obviously all own Adobe products (I’ve invested Thousands from Photoshop 4 right up to CS5, Premiere and Encore… Really, Thousands!), but also asking corporate America to do the right thing. There’s “the bottom line” but there is also right/wrong!

    Ultimately, Adobe can hurt their loyal customers and creative individuals that have made them what they are, or, they can be the customer friendly (The extended Adobe family) corporation we’ve always felt they were and adopt your extremely fair proposal! Particularly as since 2008, I know many who have put off purchases and upgrades as the economy has been challenging at best.

    Should Adobe ignore your suggestion given the current political / economic / corporate views of the masses, they will likely lose thousands of customers and badly tarnish their image as just another greedy corporation.

    Now… As the Super Committee has turned to a Super Failure, Scott… You’re desperately needed in D.C.!

  154. Yeah!! amazing… Like we care about what Adobe offer us those days! it’s just the same OLD architecture with useless addition, I stop upgrading Since CS3 and I’m happy with it, like CS6 gonna change my mind.

  155. Scott (& team),

    Thanks for the effort and well-reasoned letter. I certainly agree that a structured/graduated upgrade pricing policy makes more sense.

    Like some other posters, I have never thought of Adobe as “customer centric.”

    Thanks again.

  156. Well said Scott.


    While I agree with everything you said, the problem isn’t going to go away even if Adobe takes your words to heart and pushes this crappy upgrade plan off by one version. There are people now who had no idea about this and they won’t have any idea when Adobe goes from CS7 to CS8 and the outrage will start fresh.

    I see two real problems right now, the first is that with Lightroom, Photoshop isn’t needed as much by photographers. The second is that if they make the software too expensive, people will just “borrow” what they need and blame the “greedy company”

    I don’t see a solution…

    1. Alan, an interesting view.

      Regarding the expense of Adobe products, absolutely right. We at Evans Cooling Systems have Adobe software installed at thee different locations and have no budget for upgrades. We use Adobe and Autodesk products, but have sought out alternatives for the Adobe offerings as we prioritize our upgrade paths. There are Adobe alternatives we can live with and still use Quark in one location. For product photography, it’s Capture One! Corel has a great suite of tools for design as well. And of course our AutoCAD software (which has gone down in price, significantly, since we began with AutoCAD 9!)

      In such volatile times, Adobe is very unwise to deploy such a strategy. Many have already mentioned Netflix as an example, it’s not impossible for tech companies to stumble and fail. Adobe stock could plummet in this tricky market and the company worth slashed. I am sure Adobe could lower prices for all products and upgrades and maintain profits

      I do think, given the general state of the economy, waiting another upgrade cycle would help as, hopefully, the economy improves and hobbyists / enthusiasts / small business have more cash for such expenditures. Also allow customers too save.

      So… I believe there is a solution, but given the unlikely possibility Adobe would try lowering costs… I also agree with your closing thoughts.

  157. Adobe is a company, not your friend. Photoshop is overpriced, and they obviously believe that is a business model that works. So why not screw some more out of the customer? What are you going to do? You are going to buy it, and Adobe wins.

  158. I think the tiered approach would be best and I agree that timing is everything. I feel that your letter will speak for thousands of ardent Adobe users who either cannot afford to update each version or choose not to due to a lack of real change in the current version [PS CS5 was a major change and I do enjoy using it] or the changes made are not needed by the user. I do not know whether or not Adobe is trying to force people into the subscription model but it would appear to be a possibility. As a NAPP member, a member of Kelby Training and a follower on many sites, I applaud your action and I hope that the business people at Adobe read and consider making a change in their current proposal. Thank you, Scott.

  159. Well said Scott, I think Adobe has lost their sight of their customer’s thoughts.

    As a freelancer for Adobe I visit different design companies and agencies in the UK, and for these companies to be able to afford to upgrade every version of software is a huge expense, especially when you consider that they will have a number of licenses to upgrade. They seem to be done and dusted with photoshop promotion when you compare it to the promotion efforts for the digital markets, and as most of the digital market is going to be web-based for development, I am sure Adobe will find that developers don’t actually need their software – they’ll do it by hand!

    Adobe did exactly the same thing when they launched digital publishing suite for iPad. They ignored their small user market and concentrated purely on the big players; as a result the small user’s had to find other methods of digital publishing. These small users are committed to other options and Adobe now have to pull them back with a low price single edition because they realise there are so many more small/niche publications out there than there are national and international glossies…

    When will Adobe learn? How about setting up some sort of petition to show adobe our feelings and that if they stay loyal to us, then we’ll remain loyal to them!

  160. That’s not the only thing that’s unfair!
    In my humble opinion the 5.5 paid upgrade was a joke…
    This shouldn’t have been a paid upgrade.
    We were expecting cs6. Our VLA contract would have cover that…
    Instead we saw a dot version become a paid upgrade.
    Adobe is becoming greedy…

  161. If Adobe is really hurting for money, I’ll chip in for an Adobe Software membership card for discounted software at say 60% off the retail price new and updates. But they have to provide an Adobe for Dummies ball cap and none of this split pricing for 3D enhancements that only Cory uses and should have been a plugin from day 1.

    ps. Thanks, Scott, for telling it like it is. By the way does this mean I can sell all of my CS3/CS4 books on ebay for a higher price?

    pps. To Adobe: I have every Lightroom release and every CS release. You are just going to wind up selling CS6+ and LR4+ eventually at a discount. So take the lower cost with higher volume at the beginning of the product cycle instead of the end. This way The Photoshop Guys can pay for their kids tuition.

  162. I do not plan to buy cs6 because of the pricing structure with very little upgrade features. Instead, I will get a free download from Please go to and get yourself a christmas gift from adobe. Yehaaaa…..Accupy Wallstreet rocks!

  163. I usually only upgrade every other edition. I hope Adobe listens but doubt they will. Instead of upgrading my Design Premium, I will most likely just upgrade Photoshop.

  164. Great letter — addresses both Adobe’s needs while respecting customer decisions.

    Adobe took a bit of a beating when CS4 didn’t sell as well as they’d predicted. The reason, IMHO, is that there wasn’t a great reason to upgrade. I skipped it entirely and didn’t miss it at all, and then went straight the CS5. The lesson? Take customers not upgrading as the most sincere form of feedback possible — they didn’t want or need the upgrade. Want to fix that? Spend more time focusing on customers and delighting them in new releases — not flexing your pricing power. The latter simply minimizes total lifetime value of your customer base.

  165. I’m so angry at Adobe lately. I’ve been a customer for almost 20 years. I work for a non-profit and supply my own software. Recently I have had the unfortunate displeasure of dealing with their support and sales people. All their support is from India and I suspect their sales are also. My treatment was what you would expect when dealing with extortionists. Three and a half mind numbing hours later the problem was resolved with the following declaration, “We don’t support that version, buy a new computer and upgrade to the newest software”. I was in the middle of a television show edit. Infuriating. I will be upgrading to an Avid system and software. To bad there isn’t a suitable replacement for Photoshop. The online sales staff tried to cheat me three times out of the advertised price on upgrading to CS5.5. Such poor service and customer treatment. Adobe, SHAME ON YOU. you lost a lifetime customer.

  166. I learned Corel Paint Shop years ago, I upgraded it June of last year when the photo version came out. When I started college to get a degree in Photography they only use the Adobe programs. Corel and adobe’s photoshop are very simular and do much of the same things the same way, just that the names of some tools and techniques are different.

    Scott your trainings and books was valuable to me when I was learning Lightroom 3, and love the program now, I’m currently halfway through my Photo shop class and often refer to your trainings when I get confused by what my Instructors are trying to say. Not only is the two programs so simular, but there is a big cost difference. Not buying the upgrade Paint Shop X4 ultimate photo is only $99 Compared to Adobes price scale. The biggest difference I see is Photoshop has the camera raw seperate from the main program itself, with Paint Shop it is one program. Many times a year you can get the full versions of the program at big discounts. Right now until Nov, 27th you can get the Ultimate version for only $40 plus free ground shipping. The cost alone is a big factor, It is really easy to go from one program to the other because they do the same things, and if Adobe does go to the new scale I will go back to Corel even if it is not approved by the school. I do have the CS5 with the upgrade to 5.5 already, but I can’t afford to pay for the upgrade and school also. I know my current and future classmate are all in the same boat and can’t afford to buy the upgrades. Since the school uses professionals that are working in the field as advisors for the materials and subjects we are taught, it is important that all levels be on the same page. We are allowed to use Corel’s painter program in place of Photoshop already. I also know several Pro’s that use Corel’s programs.

  167. Thanks Scott for writing to Adobe. For you and your team; everyone who knows CS and has seriously followed your sites is able to use another graphic program, Gimp, Pixelmator, etc. So please you are not dependent from Adobe, the way you guys present is the most important, love to see your enthousiasm.

  168. After just having their corporate asses handed to them by Steve Jobs it’s hard to believe the senior management of Adobe looked at the results of Netflix corporate blunder and thought “Wow, what a great idea! We should hurry up and do that to our loyal customers.” Maybe this started as a drunk text that was mistaken for a serious suggestion? Perhaps someone slipped, fell, and bumped their head on the shiny, polished marble floor in Adobe”s HQ lobby (that we paid for)?
    Your well written comments are articulate and respectful of your long relationship with Adobe. Their decision shows how little they value that relationship.

  169. I go back to Pagemaker 1.2 on a Mac Plus.

    Adobe should remember why we migrated to InDesign instead of the more popular Quark Express.

    Quark’s customer service and pricing sucked big old rocks through tiny little straws.

    One could call (or email) Adobe and actually get a response.

    Will Adobe now fall to an upstart competitor? There are several out there.

  170. I usually upgrade every other version, personally, because there is not enough new features to make it worthwhile with every new version… I have to keep my expenses down. I would definitely look for an alternate solution if this stays in place. Photoshop is an expensive product, and I don’t mind paying out very few years, but being forced into every upgrade is, to my mind, unacceptable. I dont always need the new features being offered, but I may need the next set you come up with.

  171. Well, there is a great alternative to Bridge and a lot of Lightroom. Used by lots of sports photogs, too: PhotoMechanic. Then there are tools like Capture NX, Raw Photo Pro, Capture One, Bibble, and DXO. Personally, I think there’s lots of room in NAPP to put some tutorials on these.

  172. Mahalo Scott

    I just learned about the new pricing over the weekend and I was prepared to just stay with CS4 for the foreseeable future (read forever). Partly for monetary reasons but also because I upgrade on my schedule. Realizing, in the past, upgrade pricing from Adobe was limited in coverage of previous versions but this is extreme. Plus, I have no interest in a subscription. I’m old fashioned. I actually want my own copy.

  173. Well said, Scott. Thank you for speaking on our behalf. This coming on the heels of Topaz Labs offering a FREE upgrade to the latest version of Adjust looks even more like big business screwing the little guy.

    1. I almost totally agree with you Scott on this.
      Except I think Adobe should take a poll from their customers asking if they would like the option of choosing.
      As I do Not want this kind of subscription for updates & would like to say so!

  174. Thank you so much for your letter to Adobe, Scott.

    As a member of NAPP I can’t express my thanks enough for how you handle your responsibilities to all of the NAPP members as the president of our association.

    It’s easy to take a negative view of this new plan of Adobe. It’s easy to act out against them. But it is a huge challenge to calmly express your thoughts and (more importantly) offer your suggestion for a solution. It may also be the only real way to effect a change in a policy we don’t agree with.

    As photographers or Photoshop users we encounter unexpected situations every day. It’s especially easy to get upset when an unexpected expense occurs. But we are the National Association of Photoshop “Professionals”. And professionals conduct themselves in a certain way. I’m of the opinion that when a professional encounters a problem they work on finding a solution (not complaining about the problem). I’m hopeful that Adobe respects Scotts professionalism as he represents the thoughts of 70,000 members who will do whatever it takes to do our jobs and to be successful.

    It’s situations like this that remind me why I joined NAPP. It wasn’t because they have cool discounts (but I’m glad they do). It was because my opinion can be expressed directly to the people of Adobe by my associations president. If I wasn’t a NAPP member my voice would never be heard.

    Thanks again, Scott. And keep up the great work on all of our behalf.

  175. Plenty of businesses will upgrade software/equipment/cars/cameras every second or third cycle. Especially in the current economic environment. It’s plain irresponsible to the business bottom line to lock slavishly into the notifiable modern disease of Upgraditus. If the upgrade has obvious “must-have” features, then exceptions can be considered.

    Not only is this forced upgrade punishing the individuals and small businesses that form the backbone of Adobe’s client base, countries outside the US are forced to pay an outrageous premium over the US pricing. This double gouge is completely unjustifiable in a world where software is generally downloaded.

    Adobe used to be perceived as the good guys. Wow, goodwill and credibility are hard won over time, but can evaporate in a heartbeat.

  176. I am one of the users that will probably stay with CS4 and not go any further.
    When I saw the price for upgrades from CS4 to CS5.5 I almost fell off the chair! I can’t afford that kind of price, after spending almost as much to get to CS4 not too long ago.
    And the new options, to get a monthly subscription instead of a straight out purchase, are more expensive and even more confusing to me.
    I love Photoshop, but I am not made out of money, and I can’t keep up, especially with this economy and little work.
    Thanks for the open letter to Adobe, I hope they respond with some positive actions.

  177. I did not read all the earlier posts so I do not know if the point I bring up has already been addressed. This last decision on the upgrade path is just like what AutoDesk did to users about five years ago – virtually identical.

    AutoDesk as I suspect Adobe believes, they hold a large portion of their respective software markets so now they act as a monopoly. Both companies have restricted the number of generations ‘old’ that can use the upgrade to the most current version.

    My personal believe is this behavior cuts against the Sherman anti-trust monopoly laws (in the USA) and leaves bad feelings within their user base. I have seen AutoDesk abuse the customer relationship and I am braced for the same type of behavior from Adobe.

    Adobe will be make a huge amount of cash by making just this one business decision and writing a letter to their customer base. It is a business and they owe it to their stockholders to make a profit. But the company is alienating and abusing their huge customer and user base.

  178. Occupy Adobe? This is not the time in history to show how powerful a big company can be. There are alternatives – maybe not as good, but they exist. Even free ones.

  179. Um, I had no idea about the policy change, and upgrading software is not my list of assest expenditure for another couple of years. Looks like I’ll be stuck with CS3 for a lot longer and Adobe will have to wait longer to get more money out of me.

  180. Thank you so much for your letter to Adobe, Scott.

    As a member of NAPP I can’t express my thanks enough for how you handle your responsibilities to all of the members as the president of our association.

    It’s easy to take a negative view of this new plan of Adobe. It’s easy to act out against them. But it is a real challenge to calmly express your thoughts and (more importantly) offer your suggestion for a solution. It may also be the only real way to effect a change in a policy we don’t agree with.

    As photographers and/or Photoshop users we encounter unexpected situations every day. It’s especially easy to get upset when an unexpected expense occurs. But we are the National Association of Photoshop “Professionals”. And professionals conduct themselves in a certain way. I’m of the opinion that when a professional encounters a problem they work on finding a solution (not complaining about the problem). I’m hopeful that Adobe respects Scotts professionalism as he represents the thoughts of 70,000 members who will do whatever it takes to do our jobs and to be successful.

    It’s situations like this that remind me why I joined NAPP. It wasn’t because they have cool discounts (but I’m glad they do). It was because my opinion can be expressed directly to the people of Adobe by my associations president. If I wasn’t a member my voice would never be heard.

    Thanks again, Scott. And keep up the great work on all of our behalf.

  181. I think the tiered system would be completely fair. I own CS4 and would totally understand having to pay more for an upgrade to CS6 than if I owned CS5 but to have to pay full price? It just isn’t going to happen. I am a small business. I cannot justify in my budget upgrading every time for some cool new features that I may or may not use but can usually work out every other upgrade. With this new policy I don’t see buying a CS version again for a long time. Makes me so sad.

  182. Yes, Very well stated.
    To Val- AdobE id not trying to screw anyone. It is a matter of business and what they need to do to be profitable. I do not understand this whole screwing the little guy thing… Why would Adobe want to shoot itself in the foot with competition or clients… really ?

  183. There is a very simple solution to this. Stop upgrading. If all current Photoshop users hung on to their current version, how long would it take Adobe to feel the pain of no
    more profits from upgrades. I know it is corny but we hold the power over Adobe not the other way around. I was thinking of upgrading from CS4 but after reading this I will hold on to it until Adobe changes their policy.

  184. Yikes, yes! It’s bad enough being held hostage to Windows updates, but as a small business I just can’t accumulate enough money every year to upgrade my graphics software as well! Thanks for this letter–I hope Adobe moves on it.

    Heather Taylor

  185. I just noticed that onOne’s Perfect Layers component has a healing brush that works within Lightroom. This may be the last step in cutting the cord with Photoshop and just stick with Lightroom. So maybe I should thank Adobe for saving me money by not upgrading?

  186. Thank God LightRoom does everything I need to manage and edit my photos. I did buy CS5 but I’m not going to upgrade it. I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve launched CS5. I might as well uninstall it. I just hope Adobe doesn’t pull the same monkey business with LightRoom.

    Thanks for looking out for your peeps as Matt likes to say.

  187. For honest people that feel the developers deserve to get paid for there work and give them a large amount of money, This will make pirating the software all the more appealing. Then they wont get any $$$ at all… Just sayin..

  188. Adobe should realise that it has at least two tiers of customers. The big studios can afford to upgrade to each new edition no problem. However there are many many users like myself who for economic reasons only upgrade every second or third edition. They will simply give up on Adobe altogether and will transfer loyalties to a different product.
    I’m surprised that Adobe is willing to lose so many of its customers especially when the rivals (Pixelmator etc) are already encroaching on market share.

  189. Tsk, tsk… This sort of thing is what encourages piracy. They should also create education packages for universities in other parts of the world like Asia or Africa. Thanks for voicing our concerns. I hope Adobe listens.

  190. With the amazing apps on the iPad, does adobe not see that the days of exorbitantly priced software are coming to an end!?

    I have been on the upgrade path since v1.0, and I am getting fed up.

    I can use other software – or Adobe’s own Elements to get the job done. I don’t feel the love from Adobe anymore.

  191. Adobe currently has a tiered upgrade price. I was looking at what it is to upgrade now to CS 5.5, something I have chosen not to do from CS 5. The upgrade price is $399 for CS Web Premium 5.5 from CS Web Premium 5. Since we don’t do mobile application development the “improves” in the point release don’t warrant the expense.

    I do website development so I test cross platform which means I have Creative Suites on both my PC (primary system) and my Mac. I typically do not upgrade every release on my Mac due to cost, usually every other version but sometimes every third. Right now my MacBook Pro is running CS 4. To upgrade from CS 4 to 5.5 would cost me $799. Ouch, looks like that will be the last version on my MacBook.

    Knowing quite a few people still on CS 3 I checked what it would cost them for Web or Design Premium – $999. Which doesn’t seem like a bargain but the full suite is $1799. Something that a lot of folks can’t afford which is why they upgrade ever third version allowing time to set funds aside for the purchase.

    The new Creative Cloud subscription is $49.99 or $69.99 per user. That’s $600 minimum per year and you don’t get to keep using the software when your subscription ends. It isn’t clear if I’d have to double that to get the software on both operating systems or not from what Adobe’s announcment says. I’m not sure if I should consider myself lucky for having attended MAX this year or not since a year’s subscription to the Creative Cloud was given to each attendee since the way I read the Adobe announcment and the Creative Cloud license that at the end of the subscription year I’ll be SOL when it comes to future upgrade pricing on the CS suites.

    Sure Adobe is the undisputed leader in graphics editors with Photoshop, Illustrator and Fireworks – each is top of the heap for their respective target audiences. We all know and love what Photoshop and Lightroom can do with our pictures. Illustrator’s vector format makes for infinite scalablity and Fireworks is the perfect hybrid graphics program for the web. However, if Adobe insists on such dragonian costs associated with these programs and Dreamweaver I’m going to have to the time to serious evaluate their compeititon.

    I’ve already found Microsoft’s Expression Web to be a good replacment for Dreamweaver. Sure it doesn’t have the extensions available right now but at $79 for a competitive upgrade from any Adobe Creative Suite it doesn’t have to and as more people search for alternatives the extension makers will start developing for it too.

    I’ve seen a few folks mentioning other programs for photo editing that I’ll probably check out as well. Lightroom is getting more of the features that I have been using Photoshop for which may mean that a combination of Lightroom and another editor will be replacing new versions of the Creative Suite in the future.

    I hope Adobe heeds the comments in threads like this and what happened to Netflix when they tried to split into a streaming service aka “cloud based” and a disk service. As Netflix discovered you can only push your customers so far before they find alternatives.

  192. Thank you Scott for giving us the heads-up on the upgrade policy and speaking on our behalf. Even though I did take the upgrade path from CS4 to CS5 on the first day of release, it was because of their fair upgrade policy at that time. Some of us, like myself, are hobbist and do not sell anything to justify just any price of upgrade. Such a costly upgrade penalty for skipping a release would probably prohibit many of us from buying the next release. Scott is correct about this being an out of character move by Adobe. I know Adobe will not make the same mistake as a did a (formerly) popular DVD rental company did recently.

  193. Thanks for my renewed confidence in NAPP. I was getting the impression from the latest episode of The Grid that NAPP was so committed to Adobe for its existence that you would never buck against the new Big Brother aka Adobe. I doubt anyone at Adobe will read these so I guess it’s safe to remind others of a few things. Ask Corel Word Perfect if they remember Microsoft Word… Ask Quirk if the remember Adobe InDesign. My point… Be as greeded and arogrant as you (Adobe) like because there will be something else just like Adobe was the “something else.” I am already shopping for my alternative.

  194. Thanks, Scott. Also, many or most of us photographers are also users of Lightroom and we also pay for the upgrades to it. We spend most of our time in LR and occasionally need to go to PS for some touching up. If Adobe wants to keep photographers using both of their products, they will make upgrades on both products within their reach.

  195. Scott,

    Thanks for representing the ones who are not ready to upgrade due to we usually do an upgrade at every other one. I love Adobe but I will not be able to purchase the double upgrade.

    Sheila Sandifer

  196. Very well put Mr. Kelby,
    I, like anyone else, likes enough notice of a fundamental change to be able to prepare for it. Now, Adobe’s products are utterly amazing and I am tickled pink to see them making serious profit from their sale, as this profit is the source that funds the R&D, which, of course, in turn creates the really cool software. My primary concern is that Adobe might be considering going to some type of subscription or “cloud-based” system. I think they, and many others, are not fully grasping the fact that the so-called “cloud” is an absolute dream for hackers, the piracy, that they are currently concerned about is nothing compared to what will be happening very shortly with subscription or cloud services.

  197. I love how Adobe is trying to help customers “get current” by offering a 20% discount. Sorry kids but daddy can’t afford Christmas this year because I have to “get current” before the end of the year.

  198. Thank you, Scott, for sticking by your constituents!! I feel like Adobe has joined the 1%! I love Adobe products, but I’m going to learn to get along without them, because I cannot afford to continuing shelling out that kind of money.

  199. Wow.

    First, the first I have heard of the new policy is here in Scott’s letter. Kind of amazed I did not hear from Adobe as I am registered on at least half a dozen products including PS CS5 and Illustrator, not to mention Lightroom. And visit a number of Adobe forums weekly.

    Agree with all said that .5 upgrade was offensive and I did not make that move. I would have liked 3D for Photoshop, but not worth the cost difference for me so let that pass as well. I’m a hobbyist and I have to think there is a sizable market of us that are not pros and cannot write off their Adobe purchases. This is a luxury for me. Not a business tool.

    I have owned Photoshop 1.0, maybe 4, then 7 or 8 and CS3. Upgraded to CS 5 just for the content aware fill. But rarely upgrade unless a feature jumps out at me as “have to have”. Now, even that will be much farther spaced between. If ever again.

    Lightroom is another story. I try to stay current there and have paid for every upgrade If its affordable, it will stay current. Believe it or not, Page Layout is such a rarity for me any more that I still use PageMaker 7.0.1 just fine. If the suites were better priced for a hobbyist, I might have upgraded several apps at once and would be using InDesign. But the cost benefit is not there – for me.

    Even at work where I use Framemaker, its 7.1 because the upgrades are not compelling and too costly. And, I will never rent an app in the cloud. Ever.

    As others have said, poor timing. And has Netflix taught the industry nothing? Check their stock. I dropped my account the day they decided to take advantage of their users and have been happy streaming from Amazon, Blockbuster, Fresh Films and a few others since. Not missed.

    Someone will come along and take up the slack. Sure, Photoshop is a great program. But I imagine I can last with CS 5 for quite a few years before a feature catches my attention enough to seek out a deal. And by then, who knows what alternative will pop up encouraged by Adobe’s disregard for their customer base.

    Nice to have your voice speak out for us Scott. I hope they read these comments as well as your letter. The fact you spoke up is worth much more to me than the 15% discount my membership here brings me at Adobe. Good for you.


  200. As much as I like Photoshop CS5 , now that onOne software have Perfect Photo Suite 6 running as a standalone application with no dependency on Photoshop, the bulk of my needs are being met by Suite 6!
    Perhaps we now need a new Chapter of NAPP: NAPPS – National Association of Perfect Photo Suite :P

  201. As a new member of NAPP all I can say is THANK YOU Scott Kelby. The money I spent joining NAPP was worth every hard earned penny to have you in our corner! I am impressed.
    Love your books, seminars and NAPP . . and love the man that you are to go to bat for all us “little guys”.
    I am still using CS3 because I can’t afford anything else! In this economic situation I am lucky to have that!
    I did win an OnOne Photo Suite software package (yaah!) and it looks better to me every day! 90% of my editing is now in Lightroom 3 (a gift) and if I can’t have Photoshop . . . I’ll make due somehow! I certainly can’t afford ONE upgrade, let alone TWO.
    Are you listening Adobe? I bet your competitors are LOVING this . . more customers for them!

  202. I totally agree with this letter. It has been years of paying for expensive programs just to be out of date the next year and told to pay a significant amount to upgrade. To take that away is just going to mean more piracy. There are plenty of programmers that will take the time to hack the license gen.

  203. My thanks to Scott for always looking out for us practitioners, and keeping us informed. Scott’s ear is always to Adobe’s tracks, and keeping us informed makes my NAPP membership worth every penny. Real value.

    I mention value only to form a contrast with Adobe’s trend over the past several years. While in fact they have been releasing buggier and buggier products, their arrogance has escalated. I’ve found the once-every-eighteen-month releases to be less than exciting, and at a cost that just barely seems reasonable. Many of us considered the 5.5 release to be the product that 5.0 should have been. IF they are to go to annual updates, they really need to get their QA in order, and make sure THEY are delivering value that justifies the expense.

    We all know that Adobe products are widely counterfeited, but I have used a valid license since Photoshop 2. In addition, I have always tried to convince those who copied or ‘shared’ the software to buy a legitimate version, on the argument that they produced a good product and it was to our benefit to support further development. However, with their trend of decreasing quality and increasing greed, this argument is much harder to deliver.

    Adobe needs to return to listening to their loyal users, and delivering a product that is sound, stable, and worth owning.

  204. Most of us own and use and have purchased Photoshop and Lightroom. We pay for upgrades to both of them. I can’t afford annual upgrades that cost more than most other software original purchases. It is simple greed. I’m starting to have the same feelings toward Adobe that Steve Jobs had.

  205. The tiered system sounds the fairest way to do it, as the customers that upgrade from the oldest versions would gain the most added features, hence pay more.

    This new strategy from Adobe will drive more people to using pirate software, not because they want to, but because they have no choice. This will only hurt Adobe, the software industry, and annoy the rest of us that pay full price for CS5, Lightroom…..

    I don’t need to upgrade from CS5, I’m not really using anything more than I had in CS3 (other than the odd bit of content aware fill). So if Adobe go through with this plan, I won’t be upgrading for the sake of keeping up.

    It’s time Apple stepped up and had a go at an equivalent software. Look at the difference in price between Lightroom and Aperture.


  206. Dear Scott,

    Well said !

    We european people support this letter as well, as we already have to pay more than you do for the same Adobe products. There the graphic and photographic industries still use CS3 or CS 4 up to +60%. So i’m afraid that Adobe will lost 60% of its market in one time.

    In a crisis environment, Adobe politics is just irresposable.

    For my part, I use CS5 just because the previous computer did not support CS5. Moving into the last versions was already a substantial effort. I will not repeat it one more to the short term. Why should i do so, as the printing industry is asking us for 1.4 PDF ready ? No way, so.

    Thanks a lot you for your commitment !

  207. Hi guys, interesting read! I have just been chatting online with one of the Adobe UK sales team members via the instant chat option and they say you will be able to upgrade from CS4 and the like straight to CS6 with no penalty. CS5 / 5.5 seemed to offer very little over CS4 so I have stuck with CS4 to date – hopefully CS6 will be a full release and not another dot release!

  208. It’s even worse in Europe where prices are easily double than what you would pay in the US.
    Adobe can’t even put a price on subscriptions on their european site. Compare
    Transparency anyone? I don’t think Adobe realises you can screw some people over some of the time, but you can’t screw them all over all of the time.

    1. well said !!! I am so sorry for the higher prices you pay if you chose Adobe. Now would be a great time for another software company to try to “woo” us customers cause Adobe is sure making it easy to look elsware.

  209. Very well written.
    Was thinking of upgrading my CS4 to CS6 when it comes, but now I will remain with CS4
    which is enough for me. I use Nikon Capture NX to develop and fix my pictures in and basically only use CS4 when I will make enlargements and prints.

    Rolf H

    1. I wonder if they have been polling the next generation of Photoshop-like artists, and discovered they aren’t top of the heap any more. My eldest daughter had been on Photoshop for about a year, with several hundred works under her belt. She was dissatisfied at P’shop’s interface, researched alternatives that would allow her to do her work the way she wanted to, saved her money and bought CSI (I think). She spent $60. I can’t look at her stuff and see the difference between Photoshop work and her chosen application. And I do this stuff for a living.

      Adobe (or the heartless, clueless suits that now run it) is really out to lunch if they think the teen/20-something cohort will put up with this. Other tools will evolve, and they’ll blow away the output of the 20th Century mega-corp software companies. After all, how many ways can you make the math behind pixels & vector graphics proprietary?

  210. Right on, Scott! Let me add my voice to the 70,000 other members of NAPP and hope that Adobe will listen. This is not the way to treat loyal customers. Customer service has taken a huge nosedive from too many companies who have grown too large to see the little guy. I am glad that NAPP has taken the lead in this case, my estimation of you and my association has increased tenfold! Way to go!

  211. I agree with Scott’s open letter completely. I realize business is business but as a advanced hobbiest, there are no good options. I’m not going to spend $700/year to use Adobe software maybe a few hundred hours during the year. But as it was, I could spend $500 every 3 years to upgrade the Production Premium suite.

    I will be moving away from the CS Suite. I guess I will have to *downgrade* to Elements.

    As an alternative please consider in your business plans the advanced hobbiest who may only use the software 100-200 hours. Maybe once you are the cloud you can meter usage and pay in tiered plans based on how many hours you use the software.

    1. I’ve already downgraded to Elements. I had a suite and couldn’t upgrade just Photoshop. Now I use Lightroom with Elements 9. All of my Topaz Labs, Nik and OnOne plug-ins work. So far, I have only been annoyed that LR is geared towards PS, not Elements, but I am able, though not as pretty, to still round-trip. Even though there is no upgrade for Elements, when I want to, I’ll go to the big box store and buy a nice legal copy for less than $80. For now, I see no point in Elements 10 as most of the improvements are in the organizer that I don’t use. Too bad Adobe. It took awhile, but I became a fan and advocate of PS. Now I can’t afford to be.

      1. Agreed. The biggest cost in this policy change will not be lost money in upgrade it will be the good will in promoting/marketing.

  212. Interesting…we have been dealing with this from Autodesk for years…I am surprised that it has Adobe so long to go to this model… Really makes it hard on small businesses who may like to skip a release to save some money…
    Thanks for giving us a heads up on this… My boss will love this!!!
    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

    1. Ugh. The autodesk subscription for their $4000 software with annual releases that haven’t added much since acad2004.

      They really have you by the neck on that one. My small office was hit so hard by that, that we went to Autocad LT for some users, which turned out to be unusable as the “espress tools” weren’t available for LT.

      What a racket.

      1. Hi Darin & Mark,

        I’m curious how you use (importance/power) your Autodesk products vs. your Adobe software. We could not (easily) exist without Autodesk and have been with them for 20 years now. If needed, we could work with other non Adobe products (Corel, Phase One, Quark, Nik) to easily pick up if Adobe folded or priced beyond our budget. It’d be a shame, but the creative process would continue undaunted!

        I think the comparison is a little unbalanced as the Autodesk software tends to be rather specific and sells fewer units (increased cost) whereas Adobe software is sold to many (decreased cost) and can be used by so many. My niece has Photoshop, I don’t know any students, pre-college, who have or use AutoCAD (or even AutoSketch) and I don’t know of a PC that doesn’t have at least 1 licensed Adobe app.

        Our Autodesk software has decreased since we began with Acad 9 whereas Adobe has increased slightly – not trying to justify the cost of Autodesk software! It is very expensive! However, I’m willing to bet they have lower gross revenues in any fiscal quarter than Adobe, I do understand why it’s more expensive per unit. …Not happy about it, but understand.

        Adobe could easily lower costs per unit. I think it’s shameful they haven’t. On an aside, Quark was noted years back for their terrible customer support; well, sadly as Adobe is apparently outsourcing, their customer support is heading in that direction (with the exception of the Adobe forums… which rely heavily on customers helping customers).

        Ultimately, Scott, again – your open later (clap, clap, clap) thank you for taking a stand!
        Mark, despite my dialog above, I tend to agree with you… Software publishers are gouging prices.
        Darin, we do the same when we can, skip software updates and releases as the process is so expensive and often requires additional costs (hardware upgrades and hours lost to upgrade).

        All very discouraging! -sigh-

  213. I bought CS5 right after it came out so this really doesn’t affect me personally…however, i am not a fan of big corporations who only think of themselves and don’t care how their decisions affect the “common man.” Come on, Adobe. Like Scott said, DO THE RIGHT THING!

  214. Thank you, Scott!
    Personally, I would vote for the tierd approach as it would allow Adobe to retain more customers happy. I have been using Adobe products since PageMaker started. The thought that I might not be able to afford the next upgrade discourages me in a way I can’t express. The Adobe Creative Suite has been the backbone of my graphic design and photography business. I live in PhotoShop, Illustrator and InDesign all day, every day. I can’t imagine having to work without it… but this economy won’t support me doubling my prices jus to get it.

  215. I own a small design firm and we have survived through the horrible economy. I have been trying to keep my staff getting paid and trying to figure out how to upgrade as it is. There is no way I can afford to upgrade every year three licenses of adobe software, and I certainly can’t do it twice in a short time span. I wish I could and when the economy was better I did. I appreciate Scott’s plea to Adobe and I hope it doesn’t go on deaf ears.

  216. Hi everyone,

    That’s nice of NAPP thinking what Scott has written in the post above (although it would also be nice if we have given a link to the upgrade policy, anyway), but it would be good too if NAPP get together with their 70,000+ members and do some practical work against piracy. I believe they already silently promoting anti-piracy, so it wont be a new thing to deal with anyway. The piracy is hitting and hurting just about every developer, and Kelby Group and Adobe are no less. Yes, some would say hiking the software price would promote more piracy but this is one of the major steps Adobe can take to safe guard their interests.

    Again I like what NAPP have for the Adobe’s new upgrade policy but unfortunately I won’t be endorsing it. For myself endorsing that, I may as well ask Kelby Group to give me the discounts (on the upgrades) that make me afford their products. I make money out through using Adobe’s products and I think its the best and the only way for me to give back Adobe for what they have been giving to improve my workflow and my income for many users.

    For now, given that the talk of Adobe’s new upgrade policy isn’t a hoax (lol), lets not scare away Adobe’ think tanks, NAPP, NAPP members and other Adobe’s users.

    Thanks NAPP and Scott anyway.

  217. Amen, Amen and Amen brother Scott!

    Perfectly written letter. Well thought out and composed. I agree 100%. Adobe needs to keep the customers it already has while at the same time attracting new ones. Onerous pricing schemes that push away your customer base is not a good marketing strategy to accomplish either objective.

    I’m still using CS3 with Lightroom because it accomplishes about 90% of what I need to do. The other 10% I can accomplish with plug-ins and other programs. I’m still looking for a compelling reasons to spend several hundred dollars to upgrade my suite of programs. Raising the price or forcing me to upgrade twice isn’t going to do that.

    Adobe needs to learn just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

    Remember New Coke?

    Happy thanksgiving all!

  218. This is good. It’s gotten me to re-evaluate my workflow of LR to PS. I’ve been on the fence about trying Photomechanic, Capture One to Pixelmator for a while now…no longer on the fence. The end results do look better to my eye. Hopefully their 50% off offer is still good.

  219. Scott, you might as well start thinking about the open letter you will inevitably be writing when Adobe officially announces their subscription model in the not too distant future.

    I am guessing that’s where this is leading to …. e.g., a $500 annual Adobe fee for the “privilege” of using Photoshop CSx.

  220. It’s too bad Adobe isn’t as interested in keeping loyal customers as Topaz who has a reputation of developing terrific Photoshop/Lightroom plug-ins for amazingly low prices, but gives FREE upgrades as well. This is the kind of company I want to do business with. Adobe also needs to recognize the present state of the economy and the impact it is having on the photographers who use their products. GET REAL Adobe!!

  221. Scott:

    I want to add my thanks to you for writing this letter to Adobe and for supporting NAPP members and Photoshop users worldwide.

    Adobe may be missing an important point here with this new upgrade pricing strategy, as more competitors are hitting the market. Apple’s Aperture is now sitting at $79 at the App Store, a big difference from Lightroom’s $299 (or even $150 with the recent 1/2 sales). Even though I strongly prefer Lightroom’s layout and interface (I own both), if I were a first buyer, I might not ever make it to Lightroom. Similarly, Pixelmater 2.0 is now at 29.99 in the App Store and looks from its website to be a pretty credible entry into the market (plus, as a bonus, you don’t even need to change NAPP’s name!). Other postings have mentioned various other raw converters, cataloguing programs and the like. It seems like a bad business decision for Adobe to alienate users at a time when cost is so much of an issue and the competitors in the marketplace are gaining a foothold.

    A brief editorial comment. There have been a few postings (I haven’t ready every single reply) suggesting pirating software, and I just want to go on record on that issue. Pirating software is stealing, no matter how you might want to justify it to yourselves as being “OK” because you don’t like Adobe’s policies. Buy, or if you don’t want to give you money to Adobe, don’t buy. If Adobe does not hear the concerns of its constituents and you remain unhappy, find an alternative. (The GIMP is free, btw).

    Finally: Adobe could certainly learn a lesson from both NAPP and about providing value to its customers. Let’s hope they hear the message.

  222. Some companies only learn too late, that alienating their customer base decreases it’s size and spending to the point the goose that laid the golden egg is gone. With the digital photography craze/age, it’s no longer companies just with PO’s, it’s homeowners/housewives who can quite simply just choose to not upgrade as often.

    1. Lyle, absolutely!

      There are also some fine packages out there for hobbyist to migrate to if they choose not to upgrade. Any attrition Adobe will feel here will help competitors boost margins and innovation until there may be another $99.00 Paint Shop Pro that will compete with Photoshop. As for Lightroom, I actually prefer Capture One but that is more expensive. However, Capture NX / View NX are good apps competitively priced and powerful!

      I do not understand how such corporations can become so short-sighted, particularly in this economic/political environment!

  223. More corporate greed here. Banks are actually charging to cash YOUR checks now. Ridiculous!!!
    I will be looking for an alternative when Adobe has their hand out next time. Nikon NX is actually much better at editing my pictures than Adobes products, (which I use alot).
    If we all stop using their products, (and if prices are too high, we will) they will have to listen. Look at Autodesk, they have so much competition now that it makes no sense to even consider their seriously overpriced software.

  224. Like Teddy Roosvelt said, “The only thing wrong with Capitalism is the Capitalists”. I use Photoshop for my own personal use, so I don’t generate any income from it. That means I really don’t need it. My current version (Suite 5.5) might just be the last version of Photoshop I’ll ever own. And I bet I’m not the only one.

  225. Thanks Scott for standing behind and with us….

    They don’t seem to realize that it was US the Loyal Users that made Adobe…..
    Guess it is time to start looking at Corel and Gimp in a huge way…but I really hate changing software and workflows….

    I view software like any other tool…it is a tax deduction but you watch it….the Govt will no claim that software that is on the “cloud” is no longer deductible….for some reason….

    A not so Happy NAPP’er

    Art Scott

  226. I may not be an economic expert but in my opinion raising your price or changing your upgrade model at the last minute is always a good thing. ?_? Sometimes I wonder if these decisions are from a strong company confident in it’s business model or the decisions of a monopoly that wants to screw its customers one last time before the party ends. How bout this Adobe, if your going to screw us at least make us feel good about it. Raise the price of your Creative Suite a hundred dollars and then send me slick looking email promoting a $50 discount if I UPGRADE NOW!!! If there was healthy competition in the market Adobe wouldn’t get away with this.

  227. I have been paying to use Adobe software since the company started. I have every version of the major products, included the entire lineage of Master Suites. Yet now, I have had enough. Adobe has proven their allegiances lie not with individual users like me, but with corporate greed. Goodbye Adobe.

  228. Anyone that could post a link to the adobe page that say that it is not possible to upgrade from CS4 to CS6 please?

    Their live support clam it will be possible to upgrade from CS4 to CS6, but it might be someone that is not updated on the latest news?


  229. I am appalled at this change of policy. I have CS4 and was wholeheartedly planning on paying for the the upgrade to CS6, but the idea of being forced to pay to upgrade for only a possible couple of months before the newer version is released makes me want to not upgrade at all. If I have ‘survived’ with CS4 just fine then I guess I could live without 5 or 6.

    This new policy is hard to understand given that applications like Lightroom and Aperture do 90% of what PS does in a faster, smarter way. I find myself using PS less and less and charging more for something we could really live without most of the time at a time when Adobe should be encouraging people to buy and use PS seems insane.

    I am happy to pay for software and the day I paid my £600 for CS3 felt really good. I think this rather sneaky and silent change in policy is really enough to make me not buy PS ever again.

  230. Shame on you Adobe. You would be wise to think about this again. Read Scott Kelby’s letter. Netflix saw their mistake and did an about face after their customers let them know of their dissatisfaction. If you don’t rethink this you might lose more than you will gain.

  231. Seems like my first post did not get thru so trying again…

    Anyone that have a link to the page where Adobe say that there will not be possible to upgrade from CD4 to CS 6 please?

    Adobe live support say it will be possible, so would like to read the article where Adobe say there will be changes.


  232. Thank you for your letter. There’s no way I will ever use the proposed alternative i.e. Adobes forthcoming creative cloud subscription model i.e. pay a fee each month for years and years just to loose anything as soon as I stop paying. I’ll stay on CS3 as long as I possible can.

  233. If they actually made an application worth upgrading to then maybe there would be some justification, but many of the “updates” are often more gimmicky it seems. I use Illustrator as well, and that program, sans some bells and whistles, hasn’t seen an update for years. No it’s more seen some slap ons with duct tape.

    I’ll just keep gutting it out with my CS3 MC for now. As some have stated, AD does similar things- one of the reasons I’m switching from and AD product to MODO (

  234. This is Adobe shooting themselves squarely in the foot. People with older versions are less likely to upgrade. If they have to follow this path, why not make it incremental? CS2 to CS6 costs xxx, CS3 to CS6 costs xx, and so on.

    1. Speaking of Scott,,I know he was teaching in Seattle and most likley has not had time to post on his blog here,,,but I’m sure the next post will be in response to the overwhelming comments folks made here. I (for one) can’t wait.

  235. I wonder what would happen if they had competition? This opens the door wide for someone (Pixelmator, I’m looking at you) to find the funding to really compete in the Photoshop market. If Adobe doesn’t want the serious hobbyist I’m sure there are others who would love to serve that market. The OneOne suite is looking like a better investment all the time. It may be time for Kelby Media to branch out even more from Adobe products and change the name of Photoshop World to something like ImagingExpo. That might send a message. Of course if Adobe is a major sponsor that will never happen.

  236. Excellent points. I originally upgraded to CS4 when I added a Canon point & shoot and wanted to integrate Canon CR2 raw files into my Nikon based system. I’ve continued to use CS4 because CS5 won’t run on my G5 PowerPC. I considered upgrading to CS5 just to stay in the upgrade loop but it doesn’t make much sense to purchase software that’s only compatible with a computer I don’t yet own. Maybe its time to take another look at Nikon Capture NX 2 and confine my point & shoot camera choices to Nikon.

    1. HEAR YOU. I was just *forced* to upgrade to both CS5.5 AND a new MacPro tower. Thursday I got a stack of Indesign files CS3 could not open, and the client expected first updated layouts MONDAY. And now there’s CS6 lurking on the horizon. It’s bad enough that I can’t backsave ID CS5.5 files down to CS3 for my clients and vendors that still use CS3.

  237. I was actually going to upgrade my CS3 suite to CS5.5 recently, until I heard the rumors about CS6 in the works. I figured I would have to buy the whole program again with CS6, or pay another upgrade shortly after going to CS5.5 – which is NOT what I would like to do. I don’t mind paying for software that I actually use, but I do need to balance price with usage.

  238. Looks like CS4 will be my last Adobe product ever after being a customer for more than 15 years. Upgrade pricing in Australia is disgusting ATM with our $ at parity they want to charge $1079 vs in the US of $649 just so I ‘may’ upgrade to 6 for the same amount again if they even release a compelling product, which CS5 wasn’t.

  239. Thanks, Scott, for speaking up on this. I love Photoshop, however I haven’t upgraded since CS4 as I purchased it 6 weeks before the release of CS5 and Adobe wouldn’t upgrade me since the grace period was 1 month. They sold me a stale product and they didn’t care. I have learned to not buy software unless it is a new release! I’ve been waiting for CS6 and now they have pulled a fast one. I was disappointed that they only cared about their bottom line when I appealed to them. I lost respect for them and it will not feel good to give them my business in future. You letter speaks for all of us and I hope they listen.

  240. I’m wondering if GAG, AIGA or other graphic design professional organizations are adding their influence to this discussion. Anyone aware of other organizations taking action or pushing back against Adobe’s planned price increases/upgrade policies?

  241. Hi Scott,
    “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).” be understood as
    “In order to qualify for upgrade pricing when CS6 releases, customers will need to be on the latest version of our software” period.
    This latest version number may be 5 (Illustrator) or 5.5 (After Effects).

    This would rule out upgrading from program version 5 if there is a 5.5.


  242. Well said, Scott.
    This is what happens when a company has no real competition in the market place – they screw their users. This is a perfect example of why I’ve never gotten on the DNG bandwagon, Adobe just can’t be trusted and I don’t want to be a slave to them.

  243. As soon as Macromedia was acquired, Adobe became the de facto standard with little or no competition. Although there have been some innovative features added (Content-aware fills) it’s not nearly enough given what you pay. What Adobe really needs is COMPETITION!!! And an open mind from the design community to explore other tools not built by Adobe. 

    I still miss Freehand… As far as I’m concerned, Illustrator is junk compared to it.


    I was just placed in a position where I *HAD* to upgrade my Creative Suite from CS3 to CS5.5. I received a stack of InDesign files I *could not open* in ID SC3. That upgrade ultimately cost me nearly $6000. The $900 for the upgrade, and $4900 for the new computer to RUN IT ON, as my perfectly functional and pampered Mac G5 tower sinks into the digital dust of obsolescence.

    So imagine my startlement at the prospect of being FORCED to upgrade to CS6, within the coming year. Like many small studios and freelancers. We choose to take on very OTHER upgrade, and honestly, the CS3 to CS4 upgrades were not compelling. But since Adobe consumed Macromedia, Adobe has owned a near monopoly in professional class publishing and design applications. And have behaved accordingly. And for Creative Professionals, you are simply *not relevant* as a pro without Adobe products, established as across-the-board industry standards. There are some fairly capable Photoshop alternatives, but for print publishing, I don’t see myself sending my print vendors Pages, Word or MS publisher files with clean pre-press prep anytime soon.

    In the current economy, the freelance Designer is NOT a wealthy class. And more simply put, as Creative Pros, Adobe has us by the frakkin’ B**ls.

    But just like the misstep of Apple Final Cut Pro X was a windfall for Adobe Premiere, this may turn out to be a nice day for Quark.

    1. Adobe didn’t force you to buy a new computer. That was your call.

      Second, who actually pays five grand for a new computer? I work with photoshop and the rest of the CS daily, 24/7, pushing it to it’s limits, and I’m running the top-end 2011 imac.

      Total price: $1999.

      I’m just wondering what in the world you bought?

  245. Thanks much, Scott, for speaking out on the behalf of so many of us –
    I confirm not having known about the new pricing yet –
    … 70.000 NAPP members is certainly a good chunk of business revenue … I am not a member (yet, though hope to be able to afford it at some time), and am sure that I belong to a whole large additional business chunk that could either be lost or kept … pretty much every image of mine wanders through Photoshop, and I’d love to be a professional and earn my income with it, but if one ‘has-to-be’ professional to afford it, not only will Adobe loose, but also countless Photoshop-related websites and magazines that center around Photoshop tutorials, teaching, promotion, blogs, lectures, etc, may fade away from the popularity the software has grown into up to today – more than 20 years of creative image making history …. let’s hope for the best in continuity of our work –
    thank you kindly –

  246. Dear Adobe,

    As with many I am still using a 32bit platform and do not buy nor upgrade every 2 years hardware or software due to cost implication. So there was no reason for me to upgrade to CS5/.5 (point iterations Adobe are laughable excuse of an update and a way to squeeze more money out of your customers) but next year when I finally upgrade to a 64bit environment Adobe expects me to pay full price for their software all over again. I will not.

    Thank you Scott for your excellent open letter and years of superb enjoyable teachings.

    Jason Rayment

  247. There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.  ~Mohandas K. Gandhi. Thanks Adobe for being no different from the rest of greedy corporate America!

  248. Thank you for the great letter to Adobe, this company is not looking at the big picture.
    There are other editing programs to be had, and Adobe Photoshop customers will be checking them out. Adobe may want to re-think this decision

  249. I waited to upgrade from CS3 to CS5. There is very little difference between the two. In fact, I had to spend time turning OFF a lot of the new ‘features’ to make the app usable. If CS6 follows the same pattern I recommend taking a pass on upgrading. Even *if* Adobe manages to pullout a big release with CS6 I am going to side with SK here and skip it on principle alone.

  250. The reason people don’t buy the latest version of software is because people dont see the added value of that version. For me it take 2 full upgrades for the added value to be enough for me to update. Adobe, the solution is to produce enhancements people need. New UI, better 3D are not value added (3D shouldnt be in there in the first place).

  251. I can see competitors are just circling round the Adobe fan base…

    …if Nik Software bought Aperture and brought it all together in one package for Mac & PC
    …if people stopped using Dreamweaver because WordPress is too easy
    …if Quark enabled digital magazine production and distribution that didnt cost an arm and leg
    …if CoralDraw rebranded itself as a true competitor to Illustrator

    Could Adobe do a Microsoft?… yup its looking that way

  252. After years of purchasing Photoshop, Illustrator and CS4 (master suite) I could not afford to upgrade to CS5. Personal setbacks prevented me from upgrading. I even beta tested CS5, but I couldn’t afford the upgrade. Thanks Scott for speaking up. Adobe making money is one thing greed is another. Don’t the Adobe folks see what’s happening with Occupy Wall Street protests. Us working folks can’t pay everytime you make an upgrade which appears to be happening every six to nine months.
    Heck I couldn’t even afford to renew my subscription to NAPP this year, that’s how tough it’s been. Thanks again Scott.

  253. As a CS4 user who planned to upgrade to CS6 I’m disheartended to hear this. As I have the suite, it’s pretty costly to upgrade on the now-nearly-yearly upgrade cycle. If this becomes the way of the world, CS4 is going to be a long-time friend. I’ll find other tools to do what I need… upgrading (to CS12?) only when my OS no longer supports CS4.

  254. Adobe making bad business decisions. Must be nice being the smartest guys in the room. Too bad they’re showing their greed. Gecko was right until he went to jail…

  255. Great effort but Adobe’s greed is now on full display. Explains why the local photography school now offers a weekend workshop on GIMP. It baffles me to see Adobe creating a more restrictive and expensive pricing in these tough economic times. High tech isn’t forgiving of any misstep even by giants like Adobe. Remember wordperfect or coreldraw? A shift in the tide of popularity erased these apps from almost every computer.

  256. I originally purchased the full version of CS2 many years ago when Adobe offered it to PS Elements users for 65% off. I’ve upgraded from it to CS3, then CS4 and finally CS5 (all Upgrade versions). Each upgrade got progressively more expensive. So if I want to upgrade to CS6 someday when its released, I’ll need to pay full boat? That’s just plain nuts! Are they going to start doing the same thing to Lightroom users when LR4 comes out someday too?

  257. Oh for Heaven’s sake, Adobe products are too expensive either way to begin with. And you can’t even do the things in Adobe that you can do in Microsoft Paint. Yeah, yeah, Photo Shop has lots of cool features and tools, but seriously… You can’t even directly draw a circle. Oh, no, you have to draw a “path” first and THEN click around here, there, and everywhere else just to get a bleed’n circle. For thousands of dollars? That’s bogus.

  258. After reading the text from David Wadhwani (Adobe) on the new upgrade and pricing structure, CS5 may represent the last version of Photoshop (PS) I use. Adobe is moving towards cloud computing and non-perpetual, monthly licenses, neither of which interests me. However, this may be of great value for pro graphic art businesses. Time will tell if this new model is appropriate. Perhaps the “casual PS users” simply represent too small a market to make a profit from and that pro users who take full advantage of the “cloud computing” environment will find this a better product delivery mechanism. I wish Adobe all the best as I have truly enjoyed using their products these past 15 years.

  259. I understand Adobe are a public company but this is a company that pocketed a profit of $230.1 million last quarter up from $136 million in the year ago period. After that announcement they let go 750 employees!

    Adobe executive management are true scumbags in my opinion and I’ll be avoiding any purchased upgrade of CS5 to CS6.

  260. I’m sorry to hear that, Scott. I have a feeling that this is going to affect your business’ bottom line a lot when a lot of people don’t upgrade, and I feel your pain. It’s going to be super tough for you to write your column when they release CS PS6 trying to convince me and others why we should get CS PS6 at the full price in the horrific financial uncertainties we currently live with. If I were a pro that’s a business write off and no big deal. But I’d still think twice about spending that much money in this financial climate we are in.

    I use CS3 and have no compelling reason to upgrade, it’s perfect for what I need. I do think now, though, that I will give serious consideration to buying Aperture. I had been planning on getting Lightroom but now that’s going to be tough. I do not support businesses that do not treat their customers with respect and appreciation.

    Thank you for the heads-up, and for all you do for us, Scott!

  261. I hope you can change their minds. I felt CS5 was not worth the upgrade when it was first introduced and planned on making CS6 my next upgrade. Sounds like they are more interested in punishing users who don’t have the cash to upgrade to every release. I guess CS4 will be my last upgrade.

  262. Great letter Scott… this new pricing proposal by Adobe just adds to my anger with their international pricing sham for software downloads, which has international users being charged significant addition dollars when everything is being processed through the US anyway…. what a rip off.

  263. If Adobe had any business sence they would realise that if PS was sold at say $200 they would sell 10-20 times the number of copies. Do they not realise that there are more non professional, creative photohraphers out there than those in business. These artist photographers would upgrade every time if the price was right and Adobe would make much more from the sale of PS. There are still a lot of pirate copies for sale on the web for about this price and Adobe gets nothing from these sales.

  264. As a NAPP member – thanks for this Scott. Your suggestion is a good one in that Adobe is forecasting a reduced revenue growth of approximately four to five percentage points for fiscal 2012. Allowing a transitional upgrade could offset some of this. Ultimately however, they are laying off 750 people this year and shifting their business to a subscription model to “drive faster and more predictable growth for 2013 and beyond.”

    Personally I’m not happy a single license will be more expensive than multiple licensed users. If I’m subscribing from the Cloud, then why shouldn’t all the licenses be the same?

  265. They are obviously not happy with the amount of people who have upgraded to CS5.5. I am one of them that didn’t feel inclined to upgrade from CS4.

    Instead of blackmailing customers into upgrading, they should focus on giving us great features and compelling reasons for customers to upgrade. I simply didn’t find that with CS5.5. It’s pathetic behaviour.

  266. adobe just got done screwing me when i purchased my CS4 upgrade and i’m still feeling the pain. my upgrade turned out to be a full on brand new purchase even though i was a long-term customer with roots back to illustrator 6 and photoshop 3. as a freelancer, i only upgrade every two complete versions (4 to 6, 6 to 8, etc) since the half steps are pointless and the costs keep going up for a single step upgrade.

    scott, you should get this circulating around the web and graphics design groups as well. you’ll see your support numbers multiply like rabbits.

    this really sticks it to those of us who actually follow the rules and BUY our software.

  267. Thank you, Scott. I hope Adobe reconsiders this. I did not know of this change until I saw your post. I’m thinking I must have missed any email notice from Adobe when the change was first announced. Please keep us posted on Adobe’s response.

  268. As Adobe customers, we are going to be left between a rock and a hard place by this new pricing policy. If we are forced to stay with CS4 because of financial contraints and then miss the boat on future upgrades, we may find in a very short time that this no longer runs under the latest operating system when we upgrade our computers.

    As I see it, this policy will simply reduce Adobe’s customer base, not from the Corporates perhaps, but certainly from the keen amatuer or semi pro sole trader, who will be forced to look elseware for editing tools.

    Bad news, bad decision, bad timing.

  269. I am so glad Scott Kelby has been moved to take up this issue on our behalf with Adobe. Like so many new graduates not yet receiving an income from their art, yet working on portfolios and trying to compete with established professionals and large corporations, my investment in CS4 was budged to last 2 years. I was assured by the sales rep at the time that after making the initial investment, in the future I would only have to find the upgrade cost for the current version when I was in a position to take that step. If this policy goes ahead I for one will be priced out of the market. Not only will I feel cheated by Adobe but will be significantly disadvantaged with my portfolio development. Surely it is in Adobe’s interest to retain and reward customer loyalty in the hope that the small customers of today will be the big customers of tomorrow!

  270. I’m shocked that Adobe has not given us any time to prepare for their new steep price upgrades.

    I strongly support Scott’s suggested letter of pricing upgrades and I hope Adobe responds to them also. I love Adobe products, but if this policy continues, I will be forced to cease using their products.

  271. I’m a professional illustrator who does the bulk of his work in graphics apps other than Photoshop, but still needs Photoshop as a “hub” for converting the files from those other apps into print-ready CMYK files. My big problem is that, for my purposes, Photoshop was perfected back in 2003; from Photoshop 7 to CS4 literally the only thing they’ve added that’s been any use to me has been the screen rotate tool.

    The result is, I really don’t want to be upgrading at all unless I’m forced to by hardware or OS compatibility issues.

  272. Thanks for bringing this up Scott!

    I am an amateur photographer and CS4 user that likes PS well enough to upgrade every 2-3 version. Though I feel that PS currently is the tool that allows me to get my work done in the shortest amount of time, I would not be able to justify a significantly higher cost for keeping it.

    Though it will hurt a lot, I guess I may have to spend a lot of time in the future to learn advanced retouching and enhancement using some other (non Adobe) image editing software.


  273. Well said Scott. I have been budgeting to upgrade from CS4 to CS6. Now that I find that I have to do two upgrades to get there, I am feeling quite ripped off.

  274. Hi Scott
    Thank your for writing a most appropriate letter that I feel is totally representative of the vast majority of ordinary PS users. I have not always had the means to upgrade each time, in fact I have just jumped from CS3 to CS5, though I have every version of your books. I would probably have missed out a version again, but now feel I am being blackmailed into buying the CS6 upgrade by a company, who I too have remained loyal to. I have had a number of opportunities to buy pirate copies, but have always resisted as I am a firm believer in product and manufacturer loyalty, much is the pity that my past loyalty appears not to be taken too seriously by Adobe. Although I too understand that business is business and I am only a small fish in a very large sea, I am also sure that the points you raise in your letter to Adobe are valid for hundreds of thousands of users the world over, who must now be looking at what options are available to them in the future, and though given my age of 64, I may have continued as a customer for at least another ten years or so, now feel that with my upgrade to CS6, I will be saying a sad farewell to future upgrades, I am sure that, like you, I speak for many, and thank you for writing on my behalf to highlight the unfairness of the Adobe policy towards its customers. Kind regards
    Michael Doyle (UK)

  275. Or you could better spend your money and contribute to open source projects like GIMP, Raw Therapee, Inkscape, etc.., and never have to worry about BS licensing ever again!. Seems smart to me!.

  276. I used to always rush out and upgrade to the next version of the Adobe suites, not anymore.
    I have Lightroom 2 and CS4, I didn’t upgrade to CS5, or lightroom 3. I left Adobe and went with ACDSee Pro 5. it does everything I need to do at a third of the price.

  277. I just learned about this today at Thanks Scott for taking the time to write this letter. As a self employed photographer and designer I rely quite heavily on my copy of Creative Suite 3. It’s due for an upgrade but I can make do for the time being. With trading conditions as tough as they currently are I certainly won’t be upgrading to 5.5 at this short notice. I could, however, see myself upgrading to CS6 at some point over the next year or so if the upgrade window was extended and the cost kept to a reasonable level. I think I also speak for many of my pears who run small businesses and are keeping their heads down in an effort to get through the financial crisis in one piece.

  278. Thank you Scott for speaking out and bringing this to public attention. I agree with you that Adobe’s actions in this regard are heavy handed and likely to alienate large segments of their customer base, myself included. I oppose the policy change and call for Adobe to, at the very least, adopt Scott’s suggestion to holding off implementation until CS7, with CS6 being the “transition”.

    I’m a freelance photographer who purchased PS CS2 upon graduation from school and then upgraded to CS3 to gain improvements to ACR. Subsequent versions of PS have simply not offered enough added value and functionality for me to justify the cost of purchasing them. Being a “professional” photographer means making profit from my services and images, and purchasing expensive software with very few additional capabilities simply does not make professional business sense.

    As a result, my plan had been to upgrade to CS6 when it came out; to use my last chance at a discounted upgrade while hopefully getting a version of PS that had matured enough to by then provide tangible benefits which would make the upgrade worthwhile. Instead Adobe is trying to force me (on short notice) to buy two upgrades in short order or else be forced to pay full price as though I had not been a customer for the past 6 years.

    So I find Adobe turning their back on me, a loyal customer, and essentially penalizing me for not having purchased every iteration they launched. Perhaps if Adobe returned to their roots and began once again designing innovative and useful features into their software people like me would find real value in more frequent upgrades. I’m disappointed, possibly even disgusted, by Adobe’s policy decision and will seriously re-evaluate my work flow with the aim of eliminating Adobe PS and ACR.

    I oppose rewarding Adobe’s behaviour with continued sales. There’s capable competitors out there, perhaps it’s time to try them out (you never know, I might even come to like them more).

  279. Thank you Scott for speaking out and bringing this to public attention. I agree with you that Adobe’s actions in this regard are heavy handed and likely to alienate large segments of their customer base, myself included. I oppose the policy change and call for Adobe to, at the very least, adopt Scott’s suggestion about holding off implementation until CS7, with CS6 being the “transition”.

    I’m a freelance photographer who purchased PS CS2 upon graduating from school and then upgraded to CS3 to gain improvements to ACR. Subsequent versions of PS have simply not offered enough added value and functionality for me to justify the cost of purchasing them. Being a “professional” photographer means making profit from my services and images, and purchasing expensive software with very few additional capabilities simply does not make professional business sense.

    As a result, my plan had been to upgrade to CS6 when it came out; to use my last chance at a discounted upgrade while hopefully getting a version of PS that had matured enough to by then provide tangible benefits which would make the upgrade worthwhile. Instead Adobe is trying to force me (on short notice) to buy two upgrades in short order or else be forced to pay full price as though I had not been a customer for the past 6 years.

    So I find Adobe turning their back on me, a loyal customer, and essentially penalizing me for not having purchased every iteration they launched. Perhaps if Adobe returned to their roots and began once again designing innovative and useful features into their software people like me would find real value in more frequent upgrades. I’m disappointed, possibly even disgusted, by Adobe’s policy decision and will seriously re-evaluate my work flow with the aim of eliminating Adobe PS and ACR.

    I oppose rewarding Adobe’s behaviour with continued sales. There’s capable competitors out there, perhaps it’s time to try them out (you never know, I might even come to like them more).

  280. If this stands I will be done (finished) with Adobe. I am a CS4 owner and only can upgrade every other new version. So, with this announcement I am finished and complete with them, there are alternatives.

  281. Scott. Like you, I feel saddened by the prospects that have obviously “clouded” (no pun intended) Adobe’s business sense and the move towards this pricing model. Like many others have posted, I to am a firm believer and owner of many licensed products, not pirated software – but holding me ransom when as a business you have a monopoly is outrageous, and so I guess the end of my relationship with Adobe is rapidly approaching. Too bad, I love LR3 and my CS5 products, but being a Mac user, I guess I’ll put up with the marginally slower performance of Aperture, in favour of a much better UI anyways.

    The only thing that really saddens me more are the numerous Adobe employees that will see further corporate cuts at the expense of long-time employees since nobody will be buying Adobe products anymore….the writing is on the wall folks, get out while the getting is good!

    Thanks for having the ‘cahones’ to step up and draft the open letter on behalf of all of us.


  282. Scott, thank you for your letter to Adobe…I hope they’re listening. The new policy would be more palatable if they didn’t continue to speed up the version release…if new versions didn’t consistently need upgrades to plug-ins so that we can continue with our current workflows…or if upgrades incorporated new features that had more mass appeal. PS is an incredible product, but more and more Adobe seems to be turning a deaf ear to the broad audience of users; unfortunately, until a serious alternative is developed by another company, there’s little to do to motivate policy change.

  283. I have been on the every second version upgrade path since I started with Adobe. I find that it works well and there is enough innovation by the second version that I can justify the purchase of the Design Premium Suite each time. Currently I am on CS4. My plan has been to upgrade when CS6 is released based on the information that Adobe has been giving me on upgrading each time that I purchase it. As a small photography studio, I can use most of the software in the suite, but am not interested in paying for every upgrade, effectively doubling Adobe’s take from my profits. I was extremely disappointed by Adobe’s eleventh hour decision to charge me more. Also, the 20% discount on CS5 (which I don’t need anyways) is useless since I already receive that discount through NAPP anyways.

    I will likely wait until CS8 or so to upgrade now. It will cost me the same to do it that way as it did befo, but I will be two or three versions behind all of the time now. Joy!

  284. Thanks so much. I just upgraded to CS5, so this is a big financial whammy. If they change till a later version, will we have to buy CS 6 in order to upgrade to 7? Do you suppose you could also suggest to them that they offer student pricing to senior citizens? It gets rather difficult to keep buying new upgrades at full prices. Thanks again.

  285. This is a great letter and to wholeheartedly agree. Their subscriptions are ridiculously expensive and now they are forcing us to keep upgrading for features we don’t even need. (looking at you 5.5 upgrade). Does this mean that my CS5 Master won’t be upgradable to CS6 unless I pay $500 today for CS5.5?

  286. I hope Adobe takes a good look at the recent Netflix debacle. They lost almost a million customers and a lot of stock value when they decided to make a “good for business” change to their structure, completely disregarding their formerly loyal customer base. I discontinued my membership with Netflix, and am ready to stop purchasing from Adobe as well. I’m sure another, wiser company will come up with a product at a good price that can function as a sort of Photoshop replacement. It would be a good time for them to enter the market.

  287. Adobe has a big business problem – to risk their industry leadership and stop innovating. Rather than invest in making their applications faster, better and truly innovative they have off-shored development of their core business, cut development teams, marketing, support and training programs and invested in business optimization, such as subscription, instead. They no longer seem to understand customer value, releasing “me too” products and features, hoping brand recognition and a lack of viable competitors will carry them along.
    Take Apple for example. Each new release provides customers with a version that is smaller, faster, better and often cheaper. Each Adobe release is bloated, slower, more buggy and more expensive than the last. Where’s the value in that?
    I miss the old Adobe. Even though Steve has passed (RIP) it appears his values aren’t as forgotten as Adobe’s original founders – John and Chuck – who are still on Adobe’s board.
    Adobe, will you please wake up and embrace the customers and values that once made you great rather than casting about aimlessly, bruising your customers and damaging your brand and business in the process? You know better. But what’s worse is your customers do too.

    1. Bravo! Nicely articulated and I absolutely agree with your sentiments. Disheartening when companies become so large, they rid themselves of quality and tight innovation as they opt for bloated products, buggy performance and increased costs with the hope that ticker symbol ADBE will rise a few points on the Nasdaq. In their arrogance, they hurt and insult their customer base as they assume we don’t know better.

      On ADBE – sell, sell, sell!

  288. Thank you, Scott. My takeaway from this is:

    Adobe does a Netflix

    If Adobe does embrace the Dark Side, the company will be the Grinch who stole Christmas. Not cool. Moves like this beg for competing solutions.

  289. Scott was pretty brave to post this open letter, since (as we know) he is personally acquainted with Adobe management and staff and NAPP is built on Photoshop news and training. I suspect he had some heated back-channel discussions with Adobe and perhaps reached an impasse, thus leading to the posting of his letter.

    This is a bad time for Adobe to tighten the screws (which are already too tight for most users) and in the wake of the Netflix subscriber fiasco, even moreso.

    Reading the comments about this here and in various other places on the web, the general consensus seems to be that people don’t really need newer versions of PS, as current and even older versions are mature enough and there are cheaper (or free) alternatives that suit most folks’ imaging needs. Same with the other titles in the Creative Suite – alternatives are available. And since Adobe never fully integrated the apps in its suite (as, for example, Deneba/ACD did with the late-great Canvas, where bitmap and vector functionality, along with web and PDF output are accessible in a single page/document), locating and integrating alternatives should not disrupt one’s workflow too badly.

    I am also not a big fan of cloud-based subscription computing. The dumb terminal ’70s are over! Plus there are network access and security concerns with working remotely (ie, who’s looking at your images and documents overseas-?).

  290. They didn’t tell us any of this at the LA Roadshow during the Spring. The selling point was that most of the CS6 innovations were geared towards Premiere Pro and After Effects.

  291. I don’t understand what Adobe is doing. This policy isn’t a smart marketing move.

    I run a software development company that develops business management software for creative businesses. Until recently we sold our software on the upfront license model, and then charged a small upgrade fee when we released a new version (about every 3 years). Clients who were on an older version paid more to upgrade than clients who were on a newer version. This makes sense to me – always offer your clients a way to stay with the product and reward their loyalty.

    When we knew that we were going to be releasing a new version in the next 12 months, we always sold JobBag on the basis that the new version was included in the price and the client got the new version when we released it. We want clients to be on the latest and greatest version so we made it easy for them. I acknowledge that business management software is very different in nature to the products that Adobe sells, but it is still software and the policy is a marketing choice – with emphasis on CHOICE.

    The software industry has used the sale/upgrade fee model for years but that is changing with the introduction of Software as a Service (SaaS), and it sounds like the mooted Creative Suite product for the cloud might go in that direction. Even so, there’s nothing to stop Adobe from offering an upgrade to that product for clients with older versions, in fact by not doing it, they are putting up a barrier to their clients, which doesn’t make sense. Some people don’t upgrade to every version, and shouldn’t be forced to.

    Adobe, it’s not smart business to alienate your customer base like this. I know times are tough, its tough for everyone. You are putting up barriers to entry/upgrade by introducing this policy. It’s not an incentive to upgrade, its an incentive to look elsewhere… I’d suggest someone takes a look at this really quickly.

    Scott, congratulations, that was a beautifully written letter, and one that CEOs of software companies should welcome. You represent your members well. Keep it up.

  292. Regardless of actual value, I for one always thought that Adobe’s pricing policy was ruled first and foremost by corporate greed, so this change to the upgrades hasn’t taken me entirely by surprise. I’m sure they did the sums of how many customers they expected lose vs how much more $$ they expect to be able to extract from the remaining customers. Whether they’ve done their sums right, time will tell.
    In the end, users can whinge and moan but the market will decide.
    Still, it’s nice that Scott is trying to appeal to the common sense… of a corporation…

  293. Scott,
    THANK YOU for representing us; the hobbyists, photography enthusiasts, and Adobe devotee…until these recent developments.

    Bank of America listened to their customers. I’m hoping that Adobe will heed your words.

    Otherwise, this CS4 user, and recent retiree who now has the TIME but not as much MONEY, has reached the end of the road upgrading my Adobe products…I may never feel the glee of using the content aware brush first hand. :(

    Carpe Diem,
    Barb Carrier

  294. Scott, through the years I’ve seen representatives from Adobe in many podcasts, webinars and the like that you’re associated with. And I bet by now you’ve spoken with at least a few of them regarding this topic. Would you mind giving us their response(s) and their names so we can have some real clarity on the upgrade issue going forward, and the opportunity do some financial planning. I for one would like to know ASAP if Adobe’s current stance is cast in stone or might become flexible so I can budget accordingly either way. Thanks very much, Scott.

  295. My guess is they shot themselves in the foot creating Lightroom, and many of their customers who would normally have sprung for Photoshop don’t anymore. So now they have to make some money. Nothing wrong with that mind you, but it certainly narrows their market at $700.

  296. i totally agree! ADOBE we know the term “planned obsolescence” don’t screw with us. i pay for your great products but you WILL NOT FORCE ME to do so every 2 years.

    you are beginng to try to force updates. indesign cs 5.5 is a great example. to open documents in cs 4 or earlier you have to export a markup file…

    stop fucking your customers!

    1. To my dismay Adobe’s strategy of obsolescence caused me to upgrade my Photoshop to CS5.5 when CS4, which had worked perfectly on 64-bit Vista wouldn’t work on 64-bit Windows 7. There was nothing compelling in the new version for this Lightroom Centric user, I just needed the healing brush and layering capability I had in CS4. Compounding the issue was horrific customer support through multiple layers of a poorly integrated telephone system. The truth is the software is mature, and there seems to be little left to accomplish beyond speeding up processes and ensuring compatibility with the latest hardware. This is hardly worth the amount they want to charge.

      Perhaps we’ll have to Occupy Adobe.

  297. Thanks Scott, if you hadn’t post this I would have never known! I also fallow Jack Nack’s blog, and there is no mention of it there! I have been a faithful Adobe costumer for many years now and feel completely betrayed! I simply can’t afford to up grade every time there is a new version of a Creative Suite! Well, CS4 seems like the last version I will have bought, the watered down version of Adobe products just don’t get it. I guess it time to try to find another program, and they are out there, just not as good!

  298. I’m hoping this comment will add my name as a ‘petition’ to Adobe. Hopefully the 70,000 of us will persuade Adobe they will lose badly if they do this. I’m a freelance web builder and I’m an instructor who teaches PS in web development settings.

    If this goes through. I won’t upgrade to CS6 (From CS4). I’ll save up and wait for PS7, abandoning the Creative Suite altogether. In the past I might have been forced to upgrade in order to work with others who’ve upgraded, but I’m not worried about that anymore – many of the ad agencies, development and design firms I work with and train see no reason to upgrade now, they won’t see any reason to do it if they need to buy the full CS instead of buying an upgrade.

    And more damaging to Adobe – I see many CS users abandoning CS altogether, and going ala carte with the 1 product they need, finding alternatives for others. If Flash isn’t already dead, this decision will hasten its disappearance from the Web.

  299. I’ve been using Photoshop for over 20years and will stop upgrading if this absurd policy takes effect. Adobe must not understand that photographers are fighting this recession just as much as they are! Upgrades are done only if the product and services are sufficiently justifiable from a business standpoint not from a mandate by a corporation. Maybe this is a good thing to help the competition start innovating and improving their products giving us all more choice in what we use for image editing. Good luck to Adobe if they continue this policy I think it will make the Netflix fiasco insignificant.

  300. Well, Adobe has always been *the* most greedy software company around. Nothing new there. Of course, you don’t get the full effect in the US, but here in Europe upgrades are already double the US price – for exactly the same English version! But I have to admit that this tops it all. Only upgrading 3 versions back was bad enough (customer-friendly companies do it all the way back), but one version, that’s just a joke. But then again, that’s what you get with no competition (but since Adobe isn’t Microsoft, nobody cares).

  301. Very well said, Scott!
    One thing I would like to add. US customers are happy to get Photoshop starting at 610 $US and an upgrade for 140 $US. Here in Germany we have to pay 895 Euro (1202 $US) for the full version and 246 Euro (330 $US) for the Upgrade (all these prices are taken from amazon). Now that is a difference!! I feel a little bit robbed ;-)


  302. Netflix all over again… Ever since Adobe bought Macromedia, the company attitude has changed to their authorized trainers and now that attitude is extending to their customers.

    I agree with Scott’s solutions–wait for CS7 or continue with a tiered upgrade path. If Adobe IS going to stick with the current CS5/5.5 or nothing upgrade plan, it would be nice to know what is going to be in CS6 to justify the cost. Maybe users WILL want to wait a few more versions before re-purchasing if the CS6 features are not of interest to them.

    Also, another issue with some users, it’s not just the software upgrade–sometimes it means buying all new equipment. For older PowerPC Macs, it’s a given; for some Windows users, they may need a Windows 7 64-bit upgrade with new equipment.

  303. This is what happens when a company doesn’t have any credible competition: They blackmail their customers. If Adobe wants me to upgrade, then they should do it by offering me a great product.

    Instead of trying to come up with a mutually beneficial arrangement with their customers, it appears that Adobe is trying to squeeze them. Look at the pricing plans for the DSP–you can’t use the software to build the product without them inserting themselves as the door keeper (a very well-paid door keeper at that).

    I think the end game is move us all to a subscription model, which, I think very few people want.

  304. Hey Scott,

    Thanks for speaking out for us. As a photographer, photoshopper and programmer who uses adobe products, I wish someone at your caliber and association with adobe would speak to them about their funny way of dealing with flash / flex as well. Adobe must have a change of management, they suddenly do ALL THE WRONG THINGS with little announcement or warnings. Anyway, cheers !

  305. Thank you Scott for expressing to Adobe the frustration we are all feeling. Your letter is well stated and very diplomatic.
    I also wish they would give a discount to upgrade if you have the whole CS5 Suite.
    Please keep us informed when they respond to your letter. 70,000 members should count for something!

  306. Hello,

    I think Adobe was pretty kind to allow “3 version back” upgrade. Not so much company do such things.

    However, moving from the old polivy to the new one, so quickly, so hard ist just un fair. I want to keep buying Adobe product just when I wish, when I need. I do not wish to “rent” my software monthly.

    To Adobe, as far as I see a such policy would be fair for “traditional” sales:
    – Upgrade from previous version to new one (CS5.x -> CS6 ): user pay 25% of the full product
    – Upgrade from 2 previous version to new one (CS4 -> CS6 ): user pay 50% of the full product
    – Upgrade from 3 previous version to new one (CS3 -> CS6 ): user pay 75% of the full product



  307. Dear Scott!

    Thanks for that Letter!
    Also i know many professional photographers, that plan seriously stop working with photoshop and change to another pixelediting software.
    This would be bad business, losing that typical standard – but sometimes it’s the only way to show a company, that they lost the right focus.
    I see some parallels to Quark XPress (Once the Leading Company in Layout-Software). They were some years too long too proud – so the day came, that more and more customers changed to Adobe Indesign.
    I’m sure, that was not just because of the great workflow, Adobe offered – in first, it was the fact, that there was a cheaper alternative way to quark.
    Some day they fell so far, that their only way was to spread cheap old versions with public computer magazines and offer cheap updates from version 5.x to 8.x (!) for cheap money to get some (!) of their customers back.
    Maybe Adobe needs the same lession.
    The Quark case shows, that in the end the customers will decide, where the company’s way will go….

  308. Inspiring and moneysaving creative professionals worldwide will pay for updates they never enjoyed in the first place. Maybe it’s time for the audience to go elsewhere.
    To all Adobe shareholders from our balcony: Booooo

  309. Here’s the problem. Even if we boycott, eventually the operating systems on new computers will go forward and unless we stay with our old machines and OS’s, Photoshop won’t be available for our new and better digital cameras. Camera manufacturers won’t open up their RAW formats and as they upgrade, we won’t be able to use our old versions of photoshop UNLESS we have the latest version of Photoshop. We’ll be stuck with the camera manufacturers camera software for RAW conversion and/or have to get CS6/7/8/8, etc.

    As a professional photographer, I’m now struggling, because everybody’s a professional and if the tools I use become unaffordable, I’ll be stuck.

    I personally know Julieanne Kost and I can’t believe that she’d go along with this. It will be interesting to see how the Adobe non-financial and corporate evangelists will try to spin this. Adobe has no competition, and to me, this is a prime example of corporate greed. I’ve bought and paid for PS since vs. 2.5.1 and have upgraded at every version.

    To me, Photoshop is represented by Russell Brown, Julianne Kost and a few I know I’m forgetting that are the voice of Adobe. Now Photoshop is starting to look like Microsoft of the computer world…….I hope now that some company will try to take on Adobe like Apple took on Microsoft. See what’s happened to MS and what’s happened to Apple.

    Hard to think that a 20 yr. loyal Adobe user is now wanting bad to happen to Adobe. If I had Adobe stock, I’d be selling it. Shareholders should start a massive sell off and see if that shakes them.

  310. You hit the nail on the head, BUT what ADOBE is doing is exactly what KTO did over a year ago. I had a membership in KTO because of the more or less constant Photoshop related tutorials. Then, the PS tutorials stopped and a clear focus developed on photography. No more PS tutorials. All photography tutorials. That’s not what I signed up for. So I did not renew my membership, and WILL not. For my needs I love Goodbye KTO.

  311. I also will not be upgrading if this policy remains in place. For the last 16 years I have been upgrading Photoshop every other version and I was waiting for CS6. I am a very loyal Adobe customer and proud of it. It seems that will change. I will survive without Adobe, but will they survive without customers like me.

  312. Thank you for this letter concerning Adobes new upgrade policy, you are perhaps the only fish big enough to get the attention of someone who can reconsider/ rework the policy into something that won’t price all of us little guys out of the market.

    I am just a serious hobbiest, I save my pennies for years just to afford the “last greatest product” from Adobe and this new policy would definitely mean that I would trudge on with my CS4 until some other more affordable software surpassed its capabilities.

    I love PhotoShop, we all do … and that admiration to a degree leads to customer locality that can’t be purchased. But sadly, once that customer loyalty is lost it is rarely regained, I hope Adobe will look at this with objective eyes when reconsidering the new policy.

    Thanks again, sincerely

    Paul Latinette

    1. Extremely well put Paul. You speak for many, many Photoshop owners/users within the user-base community. If Adobe does not act in a reasonable and responsible manner- toward their loyal user-base; professional and amateur alike!; they will find a rude awakening at the loss-of-sales ledger.

  313. “and I am not suggesting in any way that we intentionally don’t buy Adobe products”

    Wow, Scott. You need some knee-pads to go with that?

    My respect for your integrity just dropped to zero.

    Writing a blog post doesn’t change things. Action, or non-action (such as not buying a product – changes things.

  314. Bad move Adobe.
    I am a pro user and have been using Photoshop and Illustrator since they came out.
    I use them everyday…really everyday, they are my hammer and wrench.
    But I am using CS4 as I am still on a Mac G5.
    So this is the situation I, and I imagine many others, are facing.
    1. I have been patiently waiting for the new Mac Pro to come out, so when (and perhaps ‘if’ considering some of the rumors of Apple ditching the Mac Pro that floating about) I upgrade my computer, I then have to factor in a full price software upgrade even though I have been a loyal Adobe user forever.
    2. Math. So we are looking at $3000 minimum for the box and $1900 for the software. $4900 upgrade, wow. I guess that’s what loyalty buys ya. I do pretty well in my job, but that is a big financial hit, especially since it was not planned or plan-able. Trust in Adobe had previously allowed financial planning of my software purchases.

    I need these tools and I am not going to rent them. I can handle 0% downtime, let alone the privacy and security issues of a “cloud.” A career carpenter does not rent a hammer or wrench.

    Trust is the most important attribute of a company, product, or service. Adobe has taken the first step away from my blanket of trust. If this pricing policy is enforced, then a big part of my trust in them has eroded. I will begin to look elsewhere for my tools. I will absolutely leave if CS becomes a full time cloud model. I left Quark and many others, Adobe is not immune.

  315. Dear Scott and all at NAPP,

    What I see happening to Creative Suite users this week speaks to why the organization I belong to has a class action suit against Adobe Systems, Inc. As a Photoshop user since 2.0, I understand the upset but I am also the user of Adobe Illustrator’s only significant competitor on the Mac platform, Macromedia’s FreeHand MX. Frankly, I never thought I’d see Adobe turn on its own customer base like this upgrade policy has; toward competitors, yes, customers, no.

    Perhaps the 70,000 at NAPP will have a greater influence on persuading Adobe than the 7000 members at After two years, we’ve resorted to taking Adobe to court, alleging it has “violated federal and state antitrust laws by abusing its dominant position in the professional vector graphic illustration software market.” Our case is in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California as I write this.

    — Mark

    1. Hope you win, hope you win, hope you win!!! Adobe either feels too poor or in the contrary – too good. As journalist at a photography site, I know there are plenty of people still using CS2, 3 or 4. They ask sometimes, if it is really worth to upgrade PS, because they hardly can afford it. So… probably they won’t upgrade anymore.

  316. Thanks Scot for doing this.

    I know I going to find it hard myself upgrading from CS5 little long if I had to buy a full copy of CS6 from CS4 if I had it. (only start back with Photoshop again with CS5 after my last copy I bought was Version 4) long time but that how long it took me to save up to get a new copy.

    And many thanks for NAPP and Photoshop user TV


  317. Well put Scott, I just found out about this on and was shocked. I usually skip a release of Photoshop. If I had found out after CS6 came out that I was in the cold, I would have been furious. Now I am just anoyed. I have to admit I am considering what to do. CS4 could still be my last version of Photoshop. Please consider Scott’s sugestions so I can stop wondering about my future as an Adobe customer.

  318. CS4 master collection user here and I was waiting to upgrade to CS6. No way I will upgrade now. Already paying almost double here in Europe compared to US and they expect me to upgrade to CS5.5 first and then CS6 straight after! SCREW YOU ADOBE!

  319. I totally agree with the comments mentioned in the above open letter and would like to add that this is bad move economically for Adobe. Sure they want to sell more product. That’s business. But, when price outstrips how much people are willing or able to pay, then sales plummet. Sometimes it is better for a company to charge less and bring in more customers than become an exclusive community that few can afford.

  320. They must have also changed pricing scheme for corporate licenses because department heads at the place I work received email stating that as of 2012 only staff where Adobe software is “essential” will be able to keep Adobe software. Most likely pre-press will stay with Adobe, but all designers will be migrating.

    I suspect this will be significant loss for Adobe since the corporate license must have been very expensive (thousands of employees worldwide, print and web).

  321. Scott – very well said. Thank you for stepping forward and saying, in such a direct, yet diplomatic manner, what many in the Photoshop-user community were thinking; not just since this latest rug-jerk-action, but for a long time.

    As a very-very-long time Photoshop user (since v 0.87 w/my little BarneyScan) and not a member of the NAPP (something I may reconsider… maybe?) – I appreciate your openly frank letter to Adobe.

    I would like to think Adobe will look at the loyalty of its many long-time users as a real asset that just should not be abused: regardless of corporate growth. But, I am optimistically cautious and not holding my breath.

    We, who use Photoshop on a daily basis, are quite frankly hooked on it. But, if necessary we will maintain an older computer system and use our ‘older versions’ without the new tools, in order to keep going. It’s not fun being ‘left behind’ as technology advances, but in hard economic times, it’s what we must do. It would be helpful for corporates to realize their adjustments need not cost their loyal user-base any more than they too, should burden in difficult times.

    We also know there really isn’t an alternative to Photoshop. There are just lesser quality, extended, productive-deficient tools that will frustrate us as we attempt to do our work. So, your use of the word ‘hostage’ was quite appropriate. Quite painfully true.

    I, for one, hope Adobe has some serious wisdom talking in their other ear as well.

    Thank you.

  322. Thank you, Scott, for standing up and out front for all Adobe users who are like me. I can only justify upgrading every other time and certainly not two times in close succession. My days of moving up may be over. Such a sad situation.

  323. A comment or addendum … This afternoon (11/28/11) I spent 4 hours getting connected to Adobe’s Photoshop Customer Support. Told them and they confirmed I have CS5 Extended. As to the $600/year, they stated:
    The Annual Fee is ONLY for support. Does NOT cover cost of any upgrade.
    As the individual with whom I spoke did not have English as a primary (or secondary, in my opinion) language, I did ask for confirmation several times and did get that confirmation each time. The $600 is a maintenance agreement only and does not cover upgrades (sold separately). Or so says Adobe Customer Support.
    I did not ask if this fee would include faster response to a telephone inquiry….
    Thus it would appear any one may buy the next release, but the annual fee will not count toward a purchase.
    So – Who’s right; this time? Thanks for any further help.

  324. Well it must be nice to own Photoshop, but I for one can not afford the the program and never have, though it would be nice to.

    Adobe recently laid off a few hundred employees since their bottom is lagging with the increased competition in the graphics apps department and this recent move by Adobe is to prop up their bottom line and keep their shareholders happy, so I really can’t see your whine since it’s the people running CS4, or CS3 are the people that Adobe is after to start bucking up and upgrade by paying full price.

  325. What am I missing. The $50 a year subscription buys you ALL of the creative suite apps and the mobile apps! You don’t even have to have an active internet connection to use the CS apps installed on your machine?

    Why buy static upgrades when you can get it all for $50 a year with auto upgrades and version monitoring?

    The licensing issue is only for those who still want to buy a license the old way…which seems dumb.

    1. You are missing that the $50 subscription rate is a monthly NOT yearly fee. You only get the $50/month rate IF you agree to a 12-month contract. So, $600 a year to get everything.

      It’s only a good fit for those that bought the Master Collection at every upgrade cycle.

  326. What is really frustrating is that Adobe not long ago changed their upgrade policy to the last three versions! Since Photoshop 2.5 I had upgraded every odd version – but when their policy changed to the last three I was set to upgrade every third version and financially planning on it.

    Now at near the end of the life cycle for version 5 they change to a last version only upgrade policy violating their previsouly established policy. Because I’m not sure if I will upgrade to CS6 and CS5.5 is a known entity, combined with the 30% discount today – I upgraded.

    If they stick with their one version upgrade I will weigh my options and probably find alternatives. If they change their new policy now because of all of the customer kickback I will be irritated as I already upgraded based on the new policy. Either way Adobe – you’ve shot yourself in the foot – how quickly can you recover?

  327. Scott, well stated. Adobe is not thinking of their customers on this one. I myself I have CS3 on my production box, and on my laptop CS4, the reson why I’ve not upgraded is cost of business vs. return on investment. I would have to buy 3 copies for my studio, and I use most all Adobe products (Master Catalog) and that cost would be over $9,000. As I look at it that’s not a cost my shop can afford in this “new economy”. As I see it Adobe may just make my decision in business…look at other products that meet my business needs at lower cost.

    They’ll also create a bigger black market by doing this too. Hackers will find a way to beat the system and that will loos Adobe even more market.

    Someone at Adobe’s not being smart on this one and they will alienate their customer base very quickly… The proof will be the first 3 months of sales, then lets see what they do. Look what Netflix did, they could consult for Adobe easily.


  328. This new license politics will be no more than a trial from Adobe. It will break their necks cause they will not sell a lot this way. Also a lot of people will be going illegal. They already are. A lot (and I mean: A LOT) of professional photographers are using illegal versions of Photoshop to sell their photographs. Not a good idea but due to the extreme licensing prices Adobe is asking for in Europe.
    The problem is not Adobe but the system of shareholders expecting growth.
    Product cycles are growing longer (that is why Adobe wants a monthly payment) and there are not a lot of true inventions. The CS4/CS5 is a good version to stick with for the next couple of years. For the latest camera models (RAW) you use other software or DNG-files.

    Adobe is just finishing itself with this politics and they will change that back in no time. Just watch it…

  329. I think that what may seem to be a canny business decision on Adobe’s part, an attempt to nail down its customer base, so to speak, as well as speed up its revenue stream by forcing upgrades, is no such thing. Not only is the economic climate adverse at this time, but, as noted by Scott Kelby and others, there is a not inconsiderable pool of customers who simply cannot afford to upgrade at the pace Adobe is trying to impose, and/or don’t want to be at the mercy of a subscription plan and yield up control over their software budgets. Adobe is due customer loyalty only to the extent that it provides workable options to fulfill ther various conditions and needs.

  330. I can’t help but feel that Adobe is following in the footsteps of Netflix and it will take an equal uprising by Adobe customers to Adobe’s new upgrade policy just as it did with Netflix’s customer base to wake Adobe up. Let’s face it: There are alternatives to some of Adobe’s Creative Suite products. To allow a company to hold you in an “upgrade purgatory,” is not being customer centric or customer friendly. It’s called Coporate Greed.

  331. Thank you Scott for sending that letter. I only want to express my concern, because in germany the smalest suit is about 2900 Euro, 3650USD. I cannot spend that money and I will stay with CS4, but my favorites become Nikon NX2 and all the other applications on market, with more customer friendly offers. Fritz

  332. As you may have already guessed — Adobe, like many of the credit cards in your wallet — is never at a loss for impromptu revenue streams — and in this case by unilaterally (and some might say quite cunningly) rethinking your position in the upgrade food-chain and access to the “Cloud.” Of course shakedowns like this are customarily executed by guys named “Jimmy da Fish” or equally colorful representatives of the local criminal class — but let’s not reduce this to a crime — obviously, they know where you live — soooo just put the cash (in small, unmarked bills) in a brown paper bag behind your trash container tonight at 8PM and everyone will have a good night’s sleep. (OBTW Adobe is probably toooooo polite to ask, but is all your insurance paid up? You know, you can never tell when something awful might happen)

  333. Doesn’t Adobe realize that not everyone can afford to pay for upgrades to Photoshop. I for one will now search out an alternative. What bothers me is that as a Photoshop customer & all my purchases of Photoshop are registered – why was I not told about the new policy. I found out by accident from a friend. Thank you Adobe I will remember your inconsideration to me & all your customers.

  334. This recession strikes everyone differently. I can’t wait for your new product, but several of my friends are really struggling. One losing his studio, another his job, another had to move out of town. With my bills I could only afford the upgrade. Any more money would make me very sad because I too would have to live without the new version. Please do what you can for my photographer brothers and sisters.

  335. Thank you Scott! I will be one of the ones that will not continue with Adobe products if this policy doesn’t change. I’m currently using CS3 because I cannot afford the upgrade. I hope Adobe will listen.

  336. I could not believe that Adobe would pull such a stunt! I am a CS4 user, and yes, it will be my last upgrade for quite some time, if ever at all. Thanks for nothing Adobe, after spending countless dollars on your products, this is our reward!? It will be a very long time before I ever even consider another Adobe product again.

  337. I am a web designer hobbyist that has clients. I do it all. I need all the tools. This year I added into my repertoire photography, a kind of value added service. I purchased upgrades as they have come along knowing I needed the best to do it all by myself.

    I decided I would upgrade from CS5 web to CS5.5 by the end of this month because Adobe was offering a 30% discount on upgrades. Well an astute customer service agent informed me that the discount does not apply to CS5 users, only CS4 and below. Well, the first thing I blurted out without thinking was “hey this sounds like Microsoft!” I didn’t know about this new Adobe policy and it sure isn’t posted anywhere on the product pages. I am not part of a large company team. It’s just me. The cloud experience is just too expensive. I am already set up with good hardware.

    Adobe Media Encoder forum users have been complaining for months that this product is failing them, lots of users. Adobe finally announced that they were closing the book on it and have left many users hanging. Users range from big production houses that need to encode 24 hours a day to casual users like me. Since they never could reproduce this at their end they finally said it was driver upgrades that weren’t updated. It worked for some but not others. I found this whole attitude by Adobe very odd. But now I understand what is happening.

    Thanks for bringing this to light.

  338. When Netflix raised their prices, lots of folks left, then they tried to change the way they had their business set up and so many folks complained, that they dropped the idea. maybe if enough folks complain about Adobe raising the price to where many of us just cannot afford it, they wil listen to what Scott has to say. His letter was very well thought out and written. In this economy where so many of us have had to close our galleries or lost our jobs, losing the ability to use the tools we need to survive because we cannot afford them is not a good thing. I support what Scott is saying 100%. I for one am still using PS CS2 and have been saving up to be able to upgrade, but to have to come up with $699.00 is more then I can afford …

  339. When Netflix raised their prices, lots of folks left, then they tried to change the way they had their business set up and so many folks complained, that they dropped the idea. maybe if enough folks complain about Adobe raising the price to where many of us just cannot afford it, they wil listen to what Scott has to say. His letter was very well thought out and written. In this economy where so many of us have had to close our galleries or lost our jobs, losing the ability to use the tools we need to survive because we cannot afford them is not a good thing. I support what Scott is saying 100%. I for one am still using PS CS2 and have been saving up to be able to upgrade, but to have to come up with $699.00 is more then I can afford …

  340. As a graphic designer and photographer that has been practicing for over 30 years, as the owner of a firm that has been purchasing Adobe products since the very beginning of the digital publishing revolution, I think you’re being way too easy on Adobe concerning their ‘new’ planned upgrade path.
    Adobe has been sliding from the customer centric company that brought us all kinds of tools to make life for designers and photographers easier to the mega corp that doesn’t give a damn about the small businesses that help them achieve their current state of near monopoly over production in the creative arts. It has been happening for the last decade – a slow descent into the realm of ‘I’m too big to care’ that I’ve seen with the decline in customer service.
    Check out the info on Dan Margulis’s Color Theory group about Adobe’s financial situation vs the state of management’s stock options to see why the need for revenue immediately.
    Sad to say, but I don’t think any amount of reason will influence the decisions that have already been made.
    I for one am sick of paying upgrade prices for several licenses of the CS suite that only contain interface enhancements on most of the packages inside just to keep ‘up to date’.
    CS 5.5 may just be the last…

  341. I stopped the Adobe upgrade mania at CS2, and the only reason I upgraded was because I wanted the convenience of Text on a Path. Otherwise, even the old CS2 upgrade offered very little for me. Welcome to the digital world where companies want to suck every last dime out of users by enticing them with more whiz bang.

    And just a comment directly for your Scott. I stopped getting your magazines when you left me in the dust promoting all the new whiz bang instead of helping foster true creativity that could be accomplished with basically any flavor of the product. I’m not some schlep looking to put kittycats on Mars with Photoshop. I work in the retouch world where real work is done. And no new filter or feature that has come along in versions CS3 and up will enhance that workflow. No piece of software will help me of my clients get it right in camera from the start, no filter or piece of software will properly analyze and enhance or repair an image where it needs help. So I’m done with whiz bang. I did want to start playing around with some HDR stuff and found that my old CS2 will not support some of the new plugins such as those from TopazLabs. No problem for me – I went and picked up weenie Paint Shop Pro X4, and the new stuff I wanted is supported there. While Paint Shop Pro is a royal pain in the butt to use for me coming from the simplicity of Photoshop, it was the nest decision for me. Sorry, I’m not on Adobe’s Gravy Train any longer. And oh yes, Bibble Labs takes care of my raw processing needs just fine. PS pro a little deficient in that area.

    Thanks for writing the letter though. While I’m sure your own commercial agenda is partially at stake, it’s good to have a reputable voice weigh in on this.

  342. I would recommend to everyone to take advantage of the rebates and upgrade to CS5 and then lets boycott Adobe buy stop buying there products we need to let them know what we think and the best way is through their wallet

  343. What is really going to be interesting is when the new CS6 arrives. How are the Photoshop Guys gonna play this card. Are they going to tell people that they really need to go out and be taken by Adobe? Do they try and sell the average user like myself, that I need to upgrade so as to have the latest and the greatest worthless new features that Adobe seems to think we need? I am at the CS 4 level, that is where I will stay. I will look for free-ware, or if need be, I’ll look into pirated software. I am not going to renew my NAPP membership because I can’t afford it right now. Money is tight Adobe, sorry you missed the memo!

  344. well, i’m a unlucky cs4 user and i’ve just upgraded to cs5.5 without really want to upgrade in the moment. i’m not sure if i ever would by a software twice – i hink many agencies and freelancers as well. i don’t need every new little feature, but once you have invested in a software you only want to keep it upto date. it seems like a bad trend to tie the customers to their products. adobe, please be fair…

  345. I agree with you 100%, Scott! It’s time those shareholders tighten their belts… around their necks and not around consumers empty wallets. Adobe is pushing the envelope at a time when wants are being set aside for the nece$$itie$ of life. Chill out for a year or so or I predict your current plan will end up being a hole in your foot!
    Best of luck!

  346. Thank you Scott for voicing this “new pricing policy” by Adobe. I for one, hope Adobe listens and I think thousands of others will agree this new direction from Adobe does not help any photoshop users and will forever tarnish the Adobe name and reputation.

  347. Sorry Scott but the problem is not solved by “wait until next year to price-abuse us customers.” The overall PRICING NOW is the problem, and it is suicidal for Adobe. In 1995 PS was an awesome product and the only game in town. Adobe deserved the price we all paid. Not so today.

    2011 there are many great products and Adobe long ago amortized the development costs. Charging the RIDICULOUS 2011 PRICES is no way appropriate, and switching to high subscription prices is just a con.

    Unless the cost of upgrading changes (and I do not mean simply postponing the new upgrade scheme) I have upgraded the Master Collection for the last time. The prices Adobe asks are just too high. E.g. with PS at $700 while apps like Pixelmator are $49 and GIMP is free means Adobe is just flat ripping off its long-time pro users.

  348. Thanks, Scott. I hope Adobe will hear you. I am one of those photographers who still has both Adobe Photoshop (CS4 at present) and Lightroom 3. If Adobe forces CS6 purchasers to buy at full retail, it will sadly force me to finally opt for Lightroom only for financial reasons – but as long as I can upgrade, I would like to keep both packages. Sounds like your “warn us up front” approach is a reasonable compromise.

  349. It may already be too late for Adobe. As a British CS user the cost of their software is already appalling in comparison with others. I had bought both Adobe and Macromedia Studio, and continued to CS3 because I needed Dreamweaver developer (which they suddenly dropped without notice) and suggested we use a CMS instead of writing our own. I did upgrade to CS4 Design premium instead of the master collection because I bought Apple Final Cut studio instead as it was better value.

    When CS5 came out it just didn’t have enough to warrant the upgrade, so for the first time I decided not to upgrade, as the economy is so poor. It is not just the software cost, it is training costs and time it takes to get up to speed on the new versions. Having been forced to use free open source software by Adobe dropping me in the lurch, I found it to be good, much more professional than I had assumed. When the decision came I also chose Aperture over Lightroom which were evenly priced. Aperture is now nearly four times the price of Aperture 3 and i’m very happy with it.

    The other problem is that the software is very mature, its hard to think what could usefully be added to most of the packages. Most people can get by quite happily with features of CS4 for enough years that Adobe will have long since gone bankrupt. Also Adobe are looking badly managed, look at the Flash fiasco!

    Adobe will become like Nintemdo, my kids had a DS and when I look at upgrading the games are up to 40 times more expensive than iOS games so they are getting iPod touches soon! Decision made I’ve talked myself out of buying Adobe again, and it feels good, the more recent the upgrade the less value for money it has felt.

    So what for the future? My guess is Apple, Quark or some other publisher will now have enough time to come up with a rival suite of software for about a fifth of the price. Perhaps Apple or MS will buy Adobe when they hit the crunch and discount the software to revive it, but I don’t trust or like Adobe any more and they are holding a banana to my head not a gun!

  350. I completely agree with Mr. Kelby and I feel grateful that he has voiced his opinion. I attend a DallasISD school and we are currently on CS4 and there is no way that we will be able to afford CS6 from these current options. From what I have read, there are two things wrong with Adobe’s new plan and that is:(1) the absurd prices and (2) the time limit. If we are on any version older than CS5, we have to upgrade (although there is a 20% discount until the end of the year (which isn’t long)) then from there we have to upgrade again to CS6 (which means that we don’t even use CS5 for a sustantial amount of time which is really a waste of money). Our other option is just to purchase the whole CS6 product for the price of $699. Both of these options are just impossible. I feel that both of Mr. Kelby’s ideas can be beneficial to Adobe and Adobe users (especially the “warn us up front”. If Adobe goes ahead with their current policy, I think that they will lose many loyal users (which isn’t good for either the customers who no longer have the best programs or Adobe who no longer have as much profit and customers). I hope that Mr. Kelby’s letter gets the message across to Adobe.

  351. What would Adobe do if everyone flat out refused to purchase future upgrades or software period? It’s a cycle that Adobe better think about that way. If no one purchases future upgrades, then related businesses such as commercial printers won’t have to change what they have. If everyone goes into stasis then Adobe will have real financial problems. People will start developing/using other alternatives and Adobe will lose its monopoly on being virtually the only “industry standard” software.

  352. With their latest announcement I decided to drop Adobe as my software of choice (at least in terms of ever upgrading it). I’m fortunate in that I don’t absolutely need the “pro only” features in the CS versions, though I preferred using them due to other features and have bought CS3 and 4 in the past. I will be switching back to Paint Shop Pro now however, which can do most of the same things at a much lower price as a result. I didn’t particular like it when Corel took that program over (not a Corel fan), but this “chess move” by Adobe was handled incorrectly and left a very bad taste in my mouth. They lost me as a repeat customer as a result. I’m not sure who fathered this idea at Adobe, but they certainly made a bad choice.

  353. As a current Master Collection CS4 user, I have to say that unless Adobe (at least) takes the advice offered here and begins this policy as-of CS7 instead, they’ve permanently lost a customer.

    It was my intention to upgrade to CS6 when it was released, but if that means paying around $1200 right now for CS5.5 and then another $500-600 or more for CS6 sometime next year then I have no intention of buying either; period.

  354. Thank you kindly for the ‘heads-up’ because I (as most) was not aware of any of these things …but I have checked & verified them. Needless to say, Adobe has lost my business. I know it won’t hurt them a bit nor do they give a hoot. However, it is NOT middle-class Americans (or any nation) with oodles of cash to blow on “tools-of-the-trade,” therefore, there will emerge (hopefully) an entenpreneur who will take their screwup to the bank …and their business will plummet. I hate greed. This is a “play for money” and NOT in the least “assisting” their most loyal customers. Must have turned Communist huh?

  355. Imagine the ripple effect that this is going to have. I use CS4, will definitely not be upgrading to CS5 or CS6, ever! Whenever I did upgrade, I usually bought 3 or 4 new books that offered tips and help with the new version. Those are purchases that will not be made anymore, simply because I won’t ever need them. I can get by just fine with CS4, and newly downloaded GIMP. It really doesn’t now matter to me what Adobe decides to do. They have shown their true colours and have forever lost me as a long time user. I have truly enjoyed the books written by Scott, Dave & Matt, it’s a shame that I will not be buying them anymore. There is a wonderful supply of free software out there that works just fine and will do the very same things that Photoshop does for the average user. Some ask for a donation, I do donate because of the time and effort they put into their work, and unlike Adobe, they really appreciate the money that we send to them. Good luck with this Scott, Adobe will do what they want, and to hell with the consumer! Sign me, a former Adobe customer.

  356. We’re moved on from Adobe, Photoshop, and its Creative Suite, happily. Turns out that creative people don’t need thousands of dollars of software to be creative. We get by just fine on free and lesser-priced tools. Who knew!

  357. I agree with Mr. Kelby. I am a current student at Irma Rangel YWLS (Dallasisd). My school focuses on math, science, and technology. Therefore, we incorporate the Master Collection CS4. If we were to follow the new policy, then not only will it cost the district more money, but it would be impossible to upgrade with the time constraints. I feel that Mr. Kelby’s plan on CS6 being a transition version to CS7 is a smart move. Adobe has always been aware and concerned with their customers and I would hate for Adobe to lose their users because of your new policy. Hopefully, you will reconsider your new policy with the suggestions that Mr. Kelby has given. I believe by doing this your customers will not only be grateful but they would admire you for doing so.

  358. We wouldn’t have known if I didn’t read this request. We rushed to save 30% and ordered 2 copies of Design Prem. only to find out the previous version we had was volume licensing version that couldn’t upgrade to the retail boxed version. Well two hours later and I am still trying to get through to return. I can call sales and get right through. I had done the schedule call back a few hours ago. They called with the automated message and hung up before I spoke to a live person. It would be easer and take less time to steal this. Maybe sticking to CS4 isn’t all that bad. I wish their executive would take the time and see things from the user point of view once. Just once call into customer support and see how long it takes.

  359. The real problem is you as the customer. You’ve been overpaying for this stuff for YEARS, and now that the market has been brainwashed to believe there are no real competitors, Adobe has been handed a monopoly on this software segment. The real answer here is, step out of your comfort zones, learn new software, and use one or more of the “many” other products that are available for much lower pricing (Xara or Illustrator for example) or for FREE (Gimp, Inkscape,, etc.).
    Simply put, this will force Adobe to lower pricing, or at least do what they should have in the first place, which is invest development time in making a “substantially” better product each cycle, rather than buying out tech and/or investing in web technology development that they want to corner the market on, while trickling in cutesy features on the core products.

  360. I’ve used Adobe software since 1992. As soon as I was able to afford my own computer and software, I did and worked hard to keep up with the changes for the companies where I’ve worked. Also, I’m a computer animator so I’ve had to keep up with pretty much the master collection and all of the other software/hardware related to my job. I’ve done all of that out of my own pocket. In the time since I graduated college, in 1996, job requirements have increased, salaries have decreased and I’ve continued to “do the right thing” while companies got volume discounts.

    In 2006, I was “let go” from my the last design company I worked for and I can’t find a full time job (keep in mind this is coming from an award winning, published and exhibited artist with decades of experience).

    Adobe is doing what all of the other “big boys” are doing: edging the little guy out. The only way I’ve been able to keep up my skills is by upgrading when I could (my last master collection was cs4) and fighting for whatever freelance work I can get without being completely low-balled. I don’t work in an environment that is conducive to cloud computing or subscription based design software either. As a small, independent freelancer I don’t have a budget for it either. Between extremely modest studio rent, hardware, software, etc. I don’t think I am going to keep up and I am sure I am going to be told by many that I am “living beyond my means”.

    At 40ish my suspicion is that I will be trying to find a path to a new career somehow. Pretty sad that something I worked so hard for, often working 80+ weeks for something I was passionate amount for not much more money than a typical office worker with high school office skills.

    Unfortunately, it will also hit all of the organizations that I currently support though. I’ll no longer have a web site, various association memberships, training subscriptions and materials, assorted design publications…

    When I think about it in relationship to the big picture it is just a sign of the times. For example, Wal-marts popped up all over with “affordable” import goods and now those are priced as much as their former US made predecessors. They’ve made me tired and drained me of the passion to fight for something I’ve worked hard for more than half of my life. Maybe the shock (or reality) has set in that I may not be able to get where I want to be doing what I love. Maybe I will feel differently in the morning, but I doubt that.

  361. Another of Adobe’s pricing policies that leaves a bad taste in my mouth is the upgrade to CS5.5 from CS5.0. The only software that is new in the CS5.5 Design Standard package is InDesign 5.5. The other packages in the suite are still v5.0. The cost to upgrade is about £344 in the UK. The cost to upgrade just InDesign 5.0 to 5.5 is just £110. Upgrading to InDesign v5.5 from Creative Suite 5.0 is not allowed. So Adobe charge £110 to upgrade InDesign alone, but an additional £234 for effectively upgrading just InDesign if you happen to have the full Creative Suite. So the reward for customers who have a whole suite of Adobe products and have paid more into the ownership is to rip them off royally.

    And Adobe wonder why people pirate software.

  362. The problem is, not only upgrading policy. Main problem is the “cloud” that hangs over our heads. I mean cloud computing.
    No way, I won’t go for “cloud” model.
    Now I own licence for SC5.5 suite (I use PS and AI the most) and PS5EX. I have to consider, what I have to do. And it depends from Adobe policy details. For me, the most importanat is inter-mandatoty_upgrade period, not a version numbers. Also some rules like “gracial period” are important.
    If I’ll be forced to upgrade more frequently than once every two years (no gracial period), I’ll definetely quit upgrades for CS suite (going for competetive vector program). If upgrade will be done in a year plan – i’ll quit upgrading Adobe at all.
    But if it happened to be clear, that Adobe is going into cloud scheme only – i will stop looking for their’s newer products. As I said – no cloud for me!
    BTW – who knows, what will happened to LR and using/upgrading model… Luckilly. there’s more competition to choose from. But I’m almost sure: no “fresh” PS = no LR in my system.

  363. If only professional photographers used Photoshop, I might agree with you Scott. But there are a LOT of non-professionals who use Photoshop. I’m a very serious amateur photographer. There are at least two professional photographer friends of mine who’ve tried some of my lenses and other equipment because, as an amateur I don’t have to do a cost/benefit analysis on anything I buy. If I like it or want it and can afford it, I’ll buy it. I’m also lucky to have some extra income that lets me play like this.

    There is also going to be more serious interest in Photoshop alternatives. It might be the biggest 800 pound gorilla in the room, but there are some alternatives. Some Linux geek friends keep telling me that GIMP is awesome, but never seem able to actually show me how it works, and Photoshop just keeps me happily making great photos without having to program it myself to get cool plug-ins.

    One other implication is that with a serious increase in price there WILL be a commensurate increase in piracy. I’ve got at least 7-8 boxes of Photoshop in a closet. I’ve always been legal since I switched from Aldus Photostyler to Photoshop. But I know at least two or three serious amateurs who’ve pirated Photoshop. It’s hard to justify $600-700 when you’re a high school or college student just beginning to get serious. And educational prices aren’t really cheap enough for most students either.

  364. Two nights ago I read Scott’s letter in PS User mag. I’m using Ps CS4 currently and usually upgrade every other version. I’m as Mr. Gerecht describes himself, a serious amateur. 

    I just got off the phone with Adobe sales. I was told I’ll be able to upgrade my Ps CS4 to CS6 at the upgrade price and not have to purchase at the full price. 

    I won’t be able to upgrade my Illustrator CS2 or InDesign CS2 to CS6 at upgrade pricing. So I purchased Illustrator CS5 today. I’ll try to purchase InDesign CS5 this summer. And then when Ps CS6 is release, I’ll upgrade to that.

  365. Scott: 

    Full disclosure – I used to work for two software companies. One was an Adobe competitor, and the other was purchased by Macromedia, who was subsequently subsumed by Adobe. I started working with graphics software before the launch of Windows 1.0, and I still have PTSD over editing batch files with EDLIN. 

    Adobe is following in the footsteps of a host of other companies that have become large, fat and happy on great products, but then lose their way (which generally starts to happen when they go public) and begin looking at their customers as cattle. Adobe is not unique in this regard, but the simple fact is that there are no, viable alternatives to Adobe products for much of what we do as graphic designers. 

    When Adobe purchased Macromedia, they killed FreeHand, despite an agreement with the government NOT to do so. Now they’ve moved from a relatively reasonable upgrade path model to one that is bent on forcing all of us to pay a monthly fee to ‘rent’ their products. Their end game is a subscription model. But why would I want to subscribe, if it forces me to keep the subscription going, simply to have access to archives of work I’ve already done? They are moving from vendors to pushers, and are attempting to move us from users to unwilling addicts. 

    My business depends on Adobe products. Is there a viable alternative out there to Photoshop? Illustrator? Dreamweaver? I don’t think so. At least not now. But consider what happened to Quark when they stopped listening to their customers. For that matter, look at Microsoft. Windows may still be the dominant platform, but Mac sales are growing by leaps and bounds. And as iPads replace computers for consumers, Microsoft will matter less and less. 

    I see nothing good coming of Adobe’s move. They have a virtual monopoly on graphic design products. But if they continue down this path, that won’t last. Someone will take the opportunity to come up with killer products and lure us away from Adobe’s grasp. The more they ill-use us, the faster that will happen, and the more willing we will all be to leave Adobe in the dust. 

    I have friends that work at Adobe. Many of them worked with me at other companies. They’ve seen this cycle happen elsewhere. I hope their voices will be heard within the company. But I fear that those in power will not listen, and Adobe will someday soon be an also-ran, or will be itself subsumed by a company that still cares more about their customers than they do trying to eek out additional profits. 

  366. You know, if Adobe chooses not to change this new policy. I will not be upgrading. I can’t afford it now, but I do tend to make arrangements and save for it every other version or two. There is no way I can afford the “new policy”. Wonder if their paid marketing department has thought through this. I mean really thought through it. When those of us stop upgrading and they see what it is really going to cost them in the end, then they decide to revert policy. They will have to figure out a way to get us back on board. Because, as for me and I am sure many others. I am not going to buy a new full version to get back on board. They will have to re-work into their policy for upgrades from older versions or simply keep their software and lose customers and money. I am looking for better and possibly cheaper alternatives!!

  367. Just imagine the speed at which GIMP could surpass CS6 if enough intelligent people contributed.  Contributed everything from lists of requirements to interface and design suggestions all the way to project management and code writing.  Wow, what a day….

  368. Yes I simply wont pay as much for a new PS version as I pay for a very well specified Dell or HP desktop.  I can understand businesses paying these prices for software but not private consumers.  No way.  I use PS CS right now and I’ll stick with that until I wear holes in my HD.  From now on when I need to change photo editing software it wiill be Gimp or Elements or Corel,or others for me depending on the sophistication I want.

  369. thank u mr scott ,u r great..
    can any body tell me why i can not visit adobe site from syria
    just because i am syrian whereas u in your country  pretend that u r with freedom and humanity,dear mr scott i say that not to u because i believe u and NAPP R GREAT

  370. Adobe is the most obnoxious, unfair software company around. I can think of no other company that rapes their customers like they do. Plus, CS4 was an abomination on the mac. Premiere useless, Encore a buggy crashing joke, After Effects a rare shining gem (with stupid audio bugs), and Photoshop the old standard, minus a couple new invented, and stupid bugs. (did you include those to make us buy 5.5?).

    I would be more than happy to blame Apple for the war between these two companies, until I see the way Adobe acts on a regular basis. Well, Adobe, I’d sooner run CorelDraw on a new PC, or in parallels before I’ll ever send you another dime for any reason whatsoever. You are a horrible, horrible group of selfish scum, and you deserve to go bankrupt.

    If you want me to pay full freight for CS6, do me a favor, and actually upgrade the software this time. I downloaded your supposed 3D tools and they were a joke.

    Flash is done, Premiere can be beat by Avid or FCP, and AE can be replaced as well, since you include almost nothing fun in it, unlike Motion, which is a pretty good particle program, though no Red Giant.

    Meanwhile, Blender and a host of 3D offers more and more for less and less. I’m looking hard for Pshop’s replacement, all because you are run by a bunch of greedy marketing dorks. AU REVOIR ADOBE.

  371.  Freehand was a cool program. When I moved to Illustrator I thought it was a pile of garbage in comparison. Freehand also migrated into Photoshop territory, which is why it was killed.

    Laugh as you might, CorelDraw was a very useful program back in the day, with a few features, like programming patterns on a grid I’ve yet to see anywhere else.

    At this point, Photoshop should be a miracle with every graphic feature any software ever offered, and yet, they not only overprice the release, but they insist that you buy plug-ins for a host of stuff as well, greasing that side of the deal as well.

    I’;m 100% done with these people. I’ll run Red GIant elsewhere. There are other compositing options. The people that run Adobe need to be run into the Ballard Canal.

    1. I have Freehand still alive on it´s own machine….

      I would say, for 90-95% of my jobs it´s even good enough.
      (and I often have to open very old files – 12 years or older – Would be a poor man under this “cloud” distribution model)

      And: also would say it´s even faster than Illustrator after 12 years of Adobe Development.

      They pump up their products with useless gimmicks and are even not able to synchronize their GUIs in a time horizont of now 10 years or more now…

      That´s my sight of their “GREAT updates”


  372. Man you guys forgot one thing. If you live outside the US you pay USD=any currency. For me it would be 600GBP instead of $600. The pricing policy outside the US is ridiculous and should be addressed as well.

    1. Why is the pricing nonsense happening??
      Why would I pay GBP600 when the US pricing is US$600, Whats wrong with them
      Its insane, cant they stop robbing us in daylight!

      1. I absolutely agree, what the hell is this pricing issue with Adobe??
        Why would anyone pay USD=any currency
        Are they trying to change the stock-market fall….

  373. A load of loyal customers have just been priced right out of the game. This is a company that has forgotten it’s core users. It’s forgotten why it started and all it can see now is how can I get into the pockets of my customers using us as cash cows. Adobe need more competition. Buying and killing Freehand was the beginning of the great big laugh at our expense.

  374. Adobe is killing itself slowly. I don’t know any other company that is so reckless. Check this out:

  375. Perhaps the best path to ‘recovery’ is to stop begging Adobe to change its pricing policy and start investigating viable alternatives for all NAPP members.

    The only problem with my suggestion, though, is that the association would have to change its name, if successful. LOL!

    I did quite a bit of investigating on my own behalf (there is no way I can legitimately buy these products, which I need for my everyday work and my days of using pirated software are long gone, along with my youth) and came to the conclusion that my best bet is to subscribe to the $29.00/month cloud service.

    I think it’s an outstanding, fair price for all it offers.

    I have paid, await May 7 with great excitement and realize that’s the problem: Adobe products are just too damn good!

    We hate the only woman that can make us happy.

  376. Totally agree! I bought CS 5 three weeks ago but was informed that I am not eligible because i bought it from a store off ebay. That blows if i would have known I would have bought it from Adobe. Is there anything we can do? Let me know!

  377. I cant wait until Adobe has some competition and we have alternatives. Adobe has become to big for their own good. That makes them arrogant and abusive to its users. I am about to move to capture One or Aperture just so I don’t have to use any Adobe products. And as soon as I find an adequate substitute for PS, I will move too. I will NOT upgrade to CS6. 

  378. They have forgot how we from FCP drop them (apple) like a bad habit, when they treated the consumer like cattle. I’m very unhappy right now, I feel like I traded a cow (FCP) for a hand full beans (Adobe).

  379. I am a CS5 Design Premium person that looks like I’m done upgrading to any more Adobe CS any #. Yes the new features are great but I’m tried of lining Adobe’s pockets & with the way they do business. I am also one of those 70,000 members of NAPP.

  380. Scott – you have always been a champion for all of us working professionals out here and I happened upon this post after an online chat with Adobe and attempting to upgrade. I was attempting to upgrade from CS2 to CS6 and noticed there was no option to do so. As Tech was online in the pop-up window, I asked why not, and surely there was some workaround, especially in this difficult economy. Apparently not, and my 15 years of ardent Adobe loyalty have just gone out the window. There are plenty of comparable and cheaper products out there which we’ll be switching to. As you said, Adobe isn’t our friend, it’s a business. Well, we’ll be taking our business elsewhere from now on.

  381. And Scott, while you’re at it, perhaps we could hear how Adobe justify the price of £190 for the upgrade here in the UK whereas it’s only $199 in the US, a considerable difference.  Many, many users in Europe and Australia have been very concerned at this pricing policy which has not justification.

  382. For me, a CS5 user,  I have also been shocked at the lack of support for the clunky Adobe Business Catalyst CMS, a poorly designed, expensive and, evidently, deeply unpopular and abandoned product. Adobe appears to have scrubbed every negative BC forum comment along with support solutions from the web. At least I’m lucky to have CS5, my first legit version. It makes me feel creepy that I am in a better position than those who have been loyal buyers for years. I am absolutely sour on this company and admire Scott Kelby’s leadership in this customer relations debacle. I feel like we’ve all been punched by our best friend

  383. Just want to add my +1 point here. Or my 2 cents. Euro-cents that is. Which doesn’t really matter as long as it’s 1 euro = 1$. Or worse… 1 euro = 0,6$ …you get my point. I feel Adobe thinks I am a cow and should be milked just because I live in Europe. Yeah Adobe, we re rich over here.. bring it on!

  384. I have been using photoshop elements 6 for five years on my old pc. I am now the owner of a mac, what is the logical next step upward after using the elements six

  385. Basically with CS3 Web Premium, I have a very expensive coffee coaster as the bugger won’t even install after Windows Service Pk 3… I’m going to put it in a package and send it back to Adobe.. maybe they can use it as it isnt of any use to me, small business owner who has always been keen on their products

  386. I’ve loved Adobe Systems for years, but recently I’ve arrived at the conclusion that they really don’t care about solving problems with their software.  The standard Adobe excuse for bugs in Photoshop is “It’s Apple’s fault”.   Currently, with CS6, whenever I save a file, there is no longer a preview thumbnail icon associated with the file.   When I’ve raised this issue with Adobe, the answer is always “It’s a Mac OSX issue.  When I go to Apple, they say its an Adobe issue.  For what we pay for this software, we certainly deserve better than this pass the buck Catch 22 excuse.  I wonder if Adobe and Apple ever bother to talk to each other for the sake of their user bases.  Seems like they don’t.

    1. Gee I heard it was all Windows fault…Just got off of 2 more hours with Adobe tech support myself…nothing solved. With me it’s Acrobat and CS6. I feel the need to assure Adobe this obsession with coding to prevent software piracy will resolve itself with little effort on their part. If you can’t even get the programs to work with your paying clients I feel sure no one else is gonna want them either. Must be their new strategy…

  387. In Australia it gets worse as we have to pay 60% more for the same product as they do in the US. Adobe is single handedly alienating the Australian community. This is clearly discrimination on a grand scale and Adobe should recognise that customers have a habit of not forgetting that when the opportunity presents itself.

    1. Totally agree. Adobe’s markup in Australia for a downloadable product is criminal. But it is their loss. I’ve been wanting to buy PS & LR for over 3 years ….but I will NOT pay three times the price compared to US & UK markets. Their greed has cost them not only my business, but any upgrades I’d have bought too and potential customer loyalty long term.. This new announcement shows how Adobe have totally lost touch with the real world.

  388. I was grateful to see this letter from Mr. Kelby.

    A rational voice speaking for those of us who have been faithful users of Adobe

    I am so frustrated with Adobe at this moment I could cheerfully sue, and I’m not even dealing with the unadulterated greed this new upgrade path is demonstrating. I respectfully submit to Adobe that I am a customer and as such should receive some consideration in this marketing equation.

    I love my Adobe products but nothing is irreplaceable, not even Photoshop. I feel I am being forced to make a decision I would prefer not to make, but if all I have left to me is voting with my pocketbook, as pitiful as it may be, then vote I will.

  389. I’d like to also mention that i had no choice but to upgrade because I purchased a Canon EOS 6D. The raw image format for my new camera was not supported by CS5, and CS5 prevented me (and two adobe ‘professional technicians’ from installing the updated Camera Raw which stated that my camera’s RAW images would be supported. The only solution given to me by adobe was to either wipe photoshop and reinstall or upgrade. They had zero guarantee that wiping my program would work and would likely be more post installation clean-up than an upgrade. It was ONLY because I was forced to upgrade at gunpoint or be forced to edit in the clumsy raw editor that came with the camera and DNG converter etc and then save as jpg and then open again in CS5. The thought of that kind of clumsy workflow made me twice as mental as the $199 i had to pay (not inc tax) to upgrade.

    Then lo and behold, the upgrade didn’t like being installed and I had to have tech support get on again. By the way, Adobe charges $39 per tech call because I was ‘only’ a CS5 customer.

    The technicians spent more time getting my stats and repeating what i said (I also tried doing the online chats for the other BIG problem with my new CS6 install) than actually solving a single problem. And I”M not the Adobe Professional Technician. It took 2 calls, a tech who got into my pc to double check and me insisting on answers from a supervisor to find out that Adobe PS CS6 does not include thumbnail previews for my new camera’s images (I’m windows 7 and 64 bit). MAC users have the thumbnail previews but us Windows lowlifes don’t merit it. Canon and Adobe blame each other. Canon says ‘the 6D does generate thumbnails, it’s just Adobe is not completely reading the file” Adobe says, ‘Canon never provides the raw image file data, we have to buy the cameras at our expense (boo hoo?) and reverse engineer the PS translation. When asked when this will be tweaked to include windows users i was told ‘It doesn’t come with it in CS6. Yes, Mac has it but Windows does not.” I said, ‘someone must have access to the file info because Mac users have it so why are the thumbnail previews not there for the Windows users? “It does not come with it. Sorry to the inconvenience’ was typed back to me. I didn’t want to spend $200 to upgrade at xmas time, i have kids to shop for. B ut if i didn’t, my new camera would more work to use, instead of the happy new thing it’s su pposed to be and of course I found out, I’d have to cough up $700+ to upgrade to CS7 down the road, which i would have to likely do because of some new piece of equipment or because Adobe will refuse to support he version i had.

    I was repeated told to post my questions about the thumbnails on the adobe forums, where my question was first chided for using too many CAPS, then my complaint was moved to a totally unrelated forum, which I then contested. WHy is it so hard to get help, get an answer, and get the product i was forced to buy?

  390. Well I am now in the position you just spoke about, and am beside myself. After 15 years of paying for upgrades when I was able to afford it, I am now stuck no upgrade path from cs4. I was on the phone with adobe for over an hour. I even offered to upgrade to cs 5.5 then be able to upgrade to 6 when I could afford to. They said no, I can go for the cloud, basically renting the apps I want to use. I think I am done. 659 to buy photoshop??? I can not do it. I missed the so called deadline by a few weeks. I can not afford to buy it now. As a long time member of napp, they said I could get a 15% discount for the cloud service, which is 360 dollars a year, to rent software, forget it. I am beyond disgusted with such a blatant lack of concern for us long time users. So as of now, there is no more photoshop for me, which basically means I no longer need to subscribe to napp for my 99 per year. I have no other option. I sure wish I did. Customer support could have done something..anything to make an exception and allow me to upgrade to 5.5 for 199 less my napp discount, but they would not I am very sad to say..Thanks Scott for trying and speaking out for us loyal customers

  391. I agree, I have thousands of dollars of all products purchased through their site with my napp discount. I subscribe to all newsletters and get e-mails from them almost daily and not one e-mail said anything about last chance upgrade now. Not one

  392. I don’t want to pay monthly for Adobe software. I want to buy it once and choose to upgrade in a year or two. Upgrading every year or paying every month is the same as buying the new EA NHL game every year… but being forced to do it. These guys change stupid stuff and don’t make enough improvements to justify this.

  393. I was late to the party on this one and discovered just the other day that my 15 years of loyal upgrades (up to CS4) was worth poop…..! Adobe gave me one solution which was to buy into the cloud solution which was ok but with little loyalty recognition it felt like they were ripping me off. After all I only want CS6.
    I discovered however that if you have always bought hard copies you can still upgrade to CS6 from CS4(or3) as long as you buy a pre December upgrade version. I bought mine last week Feb 20. It worked seamlessly despite all the Adobe advice re “no route to CS6”.
    I hate the fact I had to do this. Adobe you lost a loyal customer and your advice was wrong. Shame on you.

  394. This makes me sooo angry. This is what happens when there’s no market competition. Adobe is second only to Apple in not giving a crap what customers say – they take us for granted. But offer a viable option, and we’re gone. Samsung is eating Apple’s phone market, and I hope that another competitor figures out how to make a game of it. NO company is too big to take down. AT&T thought they would rule the long distance market, and…oopps, cellphones happened. But if you want to do something, try and work with alternatives, just try it once and while. Let’s make them sweat…and NEVER forget how they treated us!

  395. Willi Mueller, Gemany

    First we are very happy, that we can always pay a bit more. Second as a longtime user of Photoshop (now CS6) and Lightroom (now LR4) I am really not amused and I will never agree with this system, not because I cannot afford ist, but I don´t like the dependence on Adope. I really like CS6 and especially ARC 7, but I am sorry Adope never in a million years.

  396. Great! I hope Adobe will receive more of this letters.
    Their politics are absolutely not acceptable.
    Adobe smells cheap and ugly since May 6.

  397. Having bought CS6 (version 12) I would have expected to receive the non-Creative Cloud portions of upgrades to the product. Unfortunately, Adobe has decided that customers who have been with them for 30 years aren’t even entitled to upgrades for the version they currently own. That’s wrong, it’s disingenuous, and it’s going to come back to bite them someday.

  398. Scott – If only you’d have known how draconian that unfair “upgrade” policy was to eventually become to loyal customers (personally PS/AI 1991 and upwards) – especially in Europe where the CC price is nearly 3x the US exhange-rate price for the EXACT SAME product! A fellow designer I respect and admire is near to retirement and he cannot imagine having to fork out the price of a “rest-of-life-rental” for this software just to open and view his latest work once he has the time to sit back and do it! After all … we helped to finance the development of these admittedly great products over the years!
    Dissapointed is the biggest understatement I can use in this situation as modesty and respect for your blog readers prevents me from saying what I really feel!
    Kind regards – SW

  399. Hope you win, hope you win, hope you win!!! Adobe either feels too poor or in the contrary – too good. As journalist at a photography site, I know there are plenty of people still using CS2, 3 or 4. They ask sometimes, if it is really worth to upgrade PS, because they hardly can afford it. So… probably they won’t upgrade anymore.

    CPI: Clipping Path India

  400. Mr. Kelby. You were way to polite. Adobe has gotten greedy, plain and simple. They no longer give a hoot about their customers because they have no competition so they have us over a barrel. I used to love Adobe. Now I despise them. It has been a long downhill slide with that company over the past 5 years.

  401. I agree 100% with what Scott says. He has a fantastic suggestion too. I believe its all about greed in the long run. Another company will come along, and put out something even better sooner or later, without the greed and subscription. It will happen. Adobe made a huge mistake.

  402. Adobe surely must be spyware, you can get so many PDF readers that do exactly the same thing yet are less than 1/10th the size in MB. What are they up to?

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  403. Hello Scott, I’ve just read your open letter and thank you. If you can help in answering a couple of questions I’d truly appreciate it. I’m looking to purchase Photoshop with a portion of my student scholarship received.

    The thing is I know I’ll receive a discount should I purchase as a student, but I don’t believe the program will belong to me – the license will be under the schools. I want a program that will be mine after I’ve graduated as well I don’t know what to purchase for my needs (basically being able to manipulate photos for class projects or project I may be putting together for proposals or a client. My field is advertising and marketing by the way. From your article, I need to purchase at least CS6 or CS7 I get that.

    With all of the additional monies Adobe is making considering monthly rentals, Additional fees for upgrades, full purchases, I have not been able to locate one Photoshop contact to correspond. Can you help? My e-mail is Thank you