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About Microsoft and Adobe Cloud subscriptions

By Jean-Claude Elias - May 17,2018 - Last updated at May 17,2018

Software makers are fighting a constant war against piracy. Surely, they cannot be blamed for that. After all they are no non-profit organisations; they are in it for the money-making business.

What can be debatable, however, is the method some of the major players the industry are trying to adopt, mainly by making their products available to the users through online/cloud subscriptions and usage of the software, exclusively, without any possibility for the user to pay for and acquire a one-time, permanent licence to install on their computers. Such subscriptions are to renew (and to pay…) monthly or annually.

Whereas Microsoft strongly pushes its Office 365 online subscription for its ubiquitous Office Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc…), it still leaves you the choice to buy a permanent local license for your computer — fair enough! Besides, those who decide to go for the online subscription enjoy the advantage of always, automatically having the very latest version of the product. Again, the choice here is fair.

Adobe, on the other hand, has completely stopped selling one-time, “perpetual” licences for its excellent Adobe Creative series, since 2014, that consists, mainly, of Photoshop and Illustrator. There is simply no other choice left.

The Series is referred to as Adobe CC, where CC stands for Creative Cloud. Note the importance of the word “Cloud” here. With Adobe you have no choice but to work in the Cloud. Unless you still have an old, permanent version on your computer like Adobe CS6, for example, are living perfectly happy with it, and have no intention to upgrade at all.

Whereas the cloud subscription concept in itself is understandable and acceptable, and of course goes with the global trend, it hurts on the Adobe side a bit more than it does on Microsoft’s. The two reasons for that are: Adobe does not give the consumer any choice, the subscription price is too high for the typical home user.

The average personal subscription for Microsoft Office 365 is $100 per year. On the other hand Adobe charges $10 per month for Photoshop CC only, $21 per month for any other single product in the Creative Series, and $53 per month for a membership that covers all the software modules of the Creative Suite; this is $636 per year.

Adobe justifies its prices by saying that its products are usually used by professional photographers and graphic artists that make significant money in their trade by using the CC products, and therefore can easily cover the expense of the subscription. It may be true.

Although software piracy has significantly diminished over the last five to ten years, it is still a major concern for giants like Microsoft or Adobe.

According to, two out of five copies of software used in the world are unpaid, i.e. are illegal. The figures date back to last year, as there has not been any update this year. Surprisingly, the Middle East is not the worst region in the world when it comes to software piracy. Not surprisingly, China is the worst. Surprisingly, the USA is the second country on the “bad guys” list!

It remains to be seen to which extent the Cloud membership concept for Microsoft and Adobe products actually contributed to reduce software piracy in the world. One thing is certain, users who go for it must definitely have a fast Internet connection, otherwise the experience of using these products online may prove to be frustrating.

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