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Adobe Adds New Choices With the Adobe Creative Cloud; Changes Upgrade Policy

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Earlier this week, Adobe revealed some new details about the Adobe Creative Cloud, a new initiative that they believe will "radically redefine the creative process." It will allow users to purchase a subscription for most of Adobe's products for about the same price as your current monthly mobile phone plan. In addition, Adobe also announced some changes to their upgrade policy. In this article, we'll explain what this means for you and how it may affect your plans to upgrade to the next version the Adobe Creative Suite.

What exactly is the Adobe Creative Cloud? The Adobe Creative Cloud is a subscription service that will give you access to every tool that is currently in the Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection such as Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, After Effects, as well as all the apps that are currently in beta such as Adobe Edge and Muse.

You will also have access to the following touch apps including: Adobe Collage, Adobe Kuler, Adobe Carousel, Photoshop Touch, Adobe Debut, Adobe Proto and Adobe Ideas.

In addition, they are also giving members access to the Adobe Publishing Suite for building interactive publications on tablets, and even access to cloud-based fonts from their recent acquisition of Typekit. You will also be able to use their community collaboration features to share your work with other creative cloud members.

Membership to the Adobe Creative Cloud will cost you $49.99 per month for individuals and $69.99 per month per seat for workgroups, both for an annual plan.

What does this all mean? It means that you will be able to rent Adobe's tools for a monthly fee and use them in the cloud. Subscribers will be able to use any of Adobe's tools anytime, anywhere, on any computer.

Update: It appears that many of the Adobe apps will not be cloud based. From the FAQ page:

The components included in the Adobe Creative Cloud membership are accessed in multiple ways and are not all “in the cloud.” First, the Creative Suite products will not be cloud based; in fact, the CS applications, Adobe Edge, and Muse will continue to be installed directly on your computer just as they are today. You will not need an ongoing Internet connection to use these products on a daily basis. The Adobe Touch Apps will be downloaded onto your tablet from the Android Marketplace or the Apple App Store. The Digital Publishing Suite and Business Catalyst services are accessible on the Internet. And lastly, the file syncing and sharing features will be in the cloud.

This may be exciting news for those of you who would like to use the latest Adobe apps but can't afford to invest in the full suite of products, but what about those of you who would prefer to install a local copy of the software on your machine?

The good news is that Adobe will still stick with their current licensing model. So if you would like to purchase your own local copy of the software, you'll still have that option. The change will be the way in which you can qualify for future upgrades. In order to qualify for upgrade pricing for CS6, you will need to be using CS5 or CS5.5. If you're not using those versions, Adobe is offering a 20% discount through December 31, 2011 on CS5.5, which would then qualify you for upgrade pricing.

What Does This Mean for You?

Adobe has certainly given us some new options to choose from. The Creative Cloud is an exciting new product that will give us lots of flexibility. Cloud users will never need to upgrade again as long as they maintain their subscription to the cloud. You will also get all the benefits associated with working in the cloud: all your Adobe apps on any machine, across all platforms, both Mac and PC, anywhere in the world. And don't forget all the touch apps, Typekit, and more.

While there certainly are some new added benefits of the cloud, those of you who prefer to work locally may be at a disadvantage, especially if you chose not to upgrade to CS5. Their new upgrade policies mean you'll have to upgrade to every new version if you don't want to pay full price for the full version of the suite the next time around.

What Do You Think?

Tell us your thoughts. What do you think of these new announcements? How will this announcement affect you? Will you be more likely to upgrade? Will you subscribe to the cloud or do you prefer the traditional licensing method?

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