Why the Cloud frees up Adobe, and why others might follow.

by Walter Biscardi

Had a great discussion tonight with a bunch of colleagues and one particular topic was brought on by a small statement that Al Mooney said last night at the Atlanta Cutters meeting. It was something along the lines of “as a publicly traded company, Adobe was legally unable to continually provide updates to the users like they will be able to with Creative Cloud.”

That really didn’t make any sense to me, and if you look at the various Creative Cloud discussions most folks there don’t understand it either. “If you can offer it in the Cloud then why can’t you offer it to perpetual licenses?” One of our group who knows more about the inner workings of publicly traded company said he was probably referring to “new features” vs. “bug fixes.” I asked him to elaborate and here’s the gist of what we discussed.

A publicly traded company has to report to their shareholders and there are laws and rules governing the release of products, especially when it comes to “new products” vs. “free updates.”

A “New Product” in the case of pre-existing software would be a new feature. Let’s use the Feathered Crop in the Adobe Premiere Pro CC as an example. That feature does not exist in any previous version of Premiere Pro. So that by legal definition is a “new feature” and as such if you only sell your software with a perpetual license, you cannot simply “give away” this new feature. You must release it with an accompanying fee. It makes no sense for a company as large as Adobe to simply release one new feature and charge all the users a fee. Then the company would literally be “nickel and diming” the user community to death. So instead, you put out an “update release” that bundles a bunch of new features with an accompanying upgrade price. The users finally get those new features they want and Adobe satisfies the legal requirements to release New Features.

A “Free Update” in the case of pre-exiting software would be akin to a bug fix. Something that is an issue with a feature within the application that is not working as intended or is having unintended consequences for the end user. Adobe is free to address those and release updates to address those issues at any time. read more...

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