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Give consumers options

By Jean-Claude Elias - Dec 10,2015 - Last updated at Dec 10,2015

Can you imagine, because hybrid cars present obvious advantages, not to have the option to buy a regular car today? Hybrids are great but are not yet an absolute must, at least not a legal obligation.

Similarly, can you imagine, because Cloud computing brings excellent functionality, not to have the choice to work locally on your computer but in the Cloud only?

Imposing their ideas by force, not giving you a choice, is what some players in the IT world are trying to do. 

Microsoft, otherwise known for some arm twisting tactics in the past has been very reasonable over the last few years and is giving consumers the option of working in the Cloud or locally, of shifting to Windows 10 or staying with Windows 7.

On the other hand an IT giant like Adobe, famous for its Photoshop software, among other excellent products, is now drastically limiting your choice to use its Suite that also includes Illustrator, Acrobat Pro, Premiere, Dreamweaver, and a few others. It seems like the only way is to get the company’s Cloud based products. 

This is what Adobe seems heading to with its Direct Cloud or Creative Cloud concept. In other words, you cannot buy a new Adobe license for a product that you would install and use on your computer independently of the Internet. Moreover what you pay for is not anymore a lifetime licence fee but a subscription and that has to be renewed on a yearly basis.

Whether the fees are too high or not remains debatable. On average it is about JD400 per product per year, but the company offers a global subscription for about JD900 per year and that gives the consumer the right to use all the company’s products. If you are an enterprise and need two or more of Adobe products (Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, for example), you may find the deal acceptable. If you are a home or small office user and only need Photoshop, the deal becomes much less acceptable. The company stresses the fact that all licenses previously paid for earlier versions will be duly honoured and will remain valid for a lifetime.

I have spoken to several Adobe users in Jordan. They are more annoyed — to put it mildly — by the fact that they have no choice but to work with a Cloud-based Adobe module than they are hurt by the expensive yearly subscription system. Again, this is true for the newest versions.

Yes, Cloud computing is a trend. Yes, Cloud-based products present excellent functionally for the user and allow for a better control of software piracy from the supplier’s end. Yes, Adobe has the right to protect itself against pirates. However, all this doesn’t justify depriving the consumer from an otherwise viable option.

The fact that Photoshop — to name only this one — is a superb, truly superior photo processing product is undeniable. It is really one of the rare software products that do absolute wonders with your photos, that come with countless features and that are nearly perfect, if there has ever been anything such a perfect piece of software. To go back to the car-computer analogy, Photoshop is the Rolls-Royce of photo processing software.

With all the new constraints, however, a good number of users may be put off by the deal; especially that there are acceptable replacements and that come free. GIMP for example, does most of what Photoshop can do, at least for typical user, and comes legally free. Admitted the graphical user interface is not as nice as Photoshop’s and some of the very sophisticated functions are not available, but GIMP will satisfy more than 80 per cent of the population. Again, it is legally free to download and install.


In the end it’s about alternatives and choices and not about being for or against the Cloud, or not willing to pay software license fees. The more options you give consumers, the happier you will keep them.

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