If you’re attracted to Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription service and use Lightroom, after months of “coming soon” it’s available now. Also see Adobe’s Lightroom and Creative Cloud FAQ.

Am I subscribing? No, at the time of writing (June 2012) I’m still thinking about it – and also still thinking about upgrading my CS5.5. If anything Adobe have pitched the pricing at such a level that it has left me sitting on the fence and unable to decide either way.

A few factors push me away from the idea and towards upgrading. In descending order of priority they are:

  • I don’t like the idea of my files becoming uneditable if I ever stopped paying
  • In principle I feel subscription models reduce the vendor’s incentive to innovate, whatever they promise. When unsubscribing means the loss of the ability to edit my files, haven’t you got me by the goolies? Sure you’re not going to get lazy? And of course, extend this to the monthly fee. Where’s the incentive to control your costs? Why not hike those fees once I’m trapped?
  • Over the short term (18 months – 2 years) it looks like you’re better off upgrading – see Postscript below
  • I don’t like a $1=£1 exchange rate – there should be worldwide pricing
  • What’s the benefit to me of access to programs like Muse, Premiere Pro or After Effects which I wouldn’t ever use?
  • While I have some of the Touch apps, I never actually use them

On the other hand, these are what’s tempting me:

  • Can install on PC and Mac.  I may be odd and/or mad to have both a Mac laptop and my main Windows 7 machine, but I’ve always felt that Adobe’s restriction by operating system was as iniquitous as trying to stop you using a 2 machine licence on a Dell as well as an HP. So while it’s really a case of the subscription service eliminating an unnecessary annoyance, for me it’s a plus.
  • I do use a number of Creative Suite apps and know I would take advantage of certain features in the CS6 software.
  • I’ve some interest in Typekit and in the Digital Publishing Suite.
  • While I like the idea of cloud storage and synchronisation, I’m happy enough with the free version of Dropbox, have already forgotten what Google’s cloud drive is called, and would sell my grandmother rather than waste any more time trying to make Apple’s iCloud, Photostream or otehr iFlavour-of-the-month do exactly what I want. Adobe’s cloud storage might be a better solution.
  • Over the long term (10 years) it looks cost-neutral (it’s a much better deal for those who are buying new Creative Suite customers). Too long term.
  • I might suddenly discover a use for Premiere Pro or After Effects

As you see there are some pretty solid pros and cons for me, and the decision is so marginal that I’m not sure which way I’ll jump. I don’t know of many people who have subscribed to the Creative Cloud, and those I know split into some whose choice seemed obvious and others who surprised me. What about you?


First year discounted £27.34
12 mos
Monthly subscription £46.88
12 mos
Cost over two years £890.64


To upgrade CS5.5 Design Premium to CS6 would cost me £354.24. Assuming a 2 year cycle between releases, the Creative Cloud would be much more expensive at £890.64. So a difference of £540! Would I spend that much with Adobe on the other apps and the services which are bundled with the subscription? Somehow I doubt it. So why would you go to the Cloud if you have upgrade rights?


Eventually I decided to upgrade.