I've been arguing for years that Photoshop is insanely overpriced and as the cost of software has steadily dropped the problem has become more and more pronounced. The app model that the world is clearly moving to has us paying far less for software as cheap simple apps like Pixelmator, Acorn, Fx Photo Studio, Flare, Analog and many others sell for pocket money prices. Even Adobe's own Lightroom makes spending £600+ on Photoshop hard to justify.
Despite this Photoshop has been seen as the defacto photo editing standard for years and for good reason - nothing else can do what Photoshop does. But I teach a lot of photoshop and photography courses and the dirty little secret is that a great many people using Photoshop do so illegally. Why? Because it's way too expensive. Among those that do have legal copies it's very normal for people to be one or two versions out of date.
Cue the recent announcement from Adobe's David Wadhwani that to qualify for Photoshop upgrade pricing you'll need to be on the previous version. So you'll need to own CS5 to qualify for an upgrade price to CS6. As far as I'm concerned that's putting a gun to Photoshop's head and pulling the trigger.
Until now you've been able to upgrade Photoshop from any of the 3 previous versions. Many of the people I teach who own Photoshop rely on this and upgrade every second or third version - particularly because each product version tends to add comparatively little that's compelling to the feature set.
Adobe's answer is that you can subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud which gives you access to all their creative suite apps plus some other products and services that you didn't know you needed, all for the low low price of $49.99 per month. Yes month. And here in the UK that'll probably £55 per month if Adobe's previous over seas pricing is anything to go by. Well it's the wrong side of the line for me. It's just too much and I won't pay it. I don't like software subscription services at the best of times but this is extortionate. And I'm pretty sure most of the people I teach would just laugh at the price.
Adobe seems to be moving in completely the wrong direction here. They should be giving those huge number of pirate users out there a way to go legal and stay legal. Everyone else seems to have figured out that if you make your software cheaper then you make more money. But Adobe is so caught up in corporate sales that consumers are being priced out of the market.
Time for some video reviews of affordable Photoshop alternatives.