Slimp: Adobe Cloud Dilemma

Slimp: Adobe Cloud Dilemma

By: Kevin Slimp

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Facts you should know about the cost of Adobe 

I’ve written a couple of columns related to the Adobe Cloud. Still, I’m stopped several times at every speaking event by publishers wanting to know if they should upgrade.

CS6 suites are available for individual purchase via electronic software download on Customers must pay with a credit card and will receive an individual serial number and download. To upgrade, buyers must already have a CS5 or 5.5 license.

Box covers for InDesign Cloud, InDesign CS5.5 and InDesign CS6.

Box covers for InDesign Cloud, InDesign CS5.5 and InDesign CS6.

Unless your paper needs to purchase a CS6 version of InDesign to match other users in the workflow, it really doesn’t make financial sense to purchase CS6 instead of subscribing to the Adobe Cloud.  Here’s my thinking:

– To purchase a full version of Creative Suite 6 Design Standard, which includes InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Acrobat, the cost is $1,299. Adobe claims an upgrade is available from CS5, but after 30 minutes, I’ve still not been able to find it on the site. Versions before CS5 are not upgradable.

– The cost of an individual license of InDesign CS6 is $699.

– As of this writing, Adobe is offering a promotional price of $29.99 per month for a subscription to Adobe Cloud, which includes any software newspapers might use, including InDesign, Photoshop, Muse, Illustrator, InCopy, Acrobat and dozens of other titles.

– A subscription for an individual application, such as InDesign, is $19.99 per month.

– Files from InDesign CC (Creative Cloud) can be saved so they can be opened in previous versions of InDesign.

How does this all pan out? Users can subscribe to InDesign CC for three years for the price of purchasing a copy of InDesign CS6. Three years is probably about the time you’d give in and subscribe to the Cloud anyway, if not sooner.

For $30 per month, anyone with CS3 or higher versions of the Creative Suite can upgrade to Creative Cloud for the next year. So for $360, you would have access to just about everything Adobe offers for twelve months.

Let’s assume the price will go up to $50 per month after a year. That adds up to $1,560 over the next three years for access to the entire Adobe Creative Cloud collection. If you purchase just Adobe InDesign (as an individual subscription) over the next three years, your cost (at $20 per month) would be about the same as purchasing InDesign CS6 today.

I know it’s confusing. But I don’t get a dime from Adobe, so I have no reason to mislead you. Here’s my official advice. Take it for what it’s worth.

1. If you have Adobe CS6 and have no reason to make additional purchases (no new computers being added to the mix), then keep what you have and look into an upgrade in a year or two.

2. If you have CS5 or 5.5, consider upgrading to the $30 per month plan (for the entire CC suite) or $20 (for InDesign only), but don’t stress about it.

3. If you have CS3 or 4, go ahead and subscribe to the Creative Cloud while they are offering the $30 per month introductory pricing.

4. If you have Adobe software prior to CS3, give serious consideration to upgrading to the Creative Cloud. One of the risks of waiting too long to upgrade is that it becomes more expensive to get software when you finally have to have it. At the moment, you should be able to subscribe to the Cloud for $50 per month (normally $70 per month).

If you use QuarkXPress, that’s a “whole ’nuther” issue. Let’s leave that for another column. For the moment, that should give you enough information to begin dealing with a potential upgrade.

One more thing: make sure your hardware can handle a software upgrade. Most of us already have hardware that can handle Adobe Creative Cloud, but be sure to check before making a purchase.