Adobe has change of heart for CS6 upgrade pricing

Stung by customer criticism, Adobe announced that CS3 and CS4 customers will be able to upgrade to CS6, not just be forced to move to a subscription plan.

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertise Processors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, science. Credentials
  • Shankland covered the tech industry for more than 25 years and was a science writer for five years before that. He has deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and more.
Stephen Shankland
2 min read
Adobe Creative Suite CS5.5

Adobe Systems has responded to complaints about its Creative Suite upgrade prices with a new option for customers who bought earlier versions of the software.

The company, which plans to release its CS6 software bundles in the first half of 2012, had offered upgrades only to those who'd bought CS5 or CS5.5. That raised a ruckus, especially after Scott Kelby, president of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, griped about the upgrade pricing in an open letter.

Adobe's now changed course with an upgrade offer for CS3 and CS4 users, too. That offer, though not yet detailed, will run through the end of 2012.

The upgrade pricing is for those who want perpetual licenses to Adobe software. But the company is trying to steer people toward a new subscription plan that's the backbone of a new service called the Adobe Creative Cloud.

Before Adobe's change of plan, the subscription would be the only way that customers with CS4 or before could get the CS6 software.

The subscription plan offers monthly or annual rates that entitle subscribers to anything from Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, or Premiere Pro individually to the full Master Collection that's got the whole kit and caboodle. Also included is 20GB of online storage space to share and synchronize files, access to the TypeKit service for Web fonts, use of the Digital Publishing Suite to turn content into iPad apps, and the Touch range of apps for Android and iOS tablets.

John Nack, an Adobe principal product manager, bemoaned the situation today in a blog post:

What sucks is that the very real advantages of subscriptions (most notably, faster access to feature improvements) have gotten drowned out by the perceived disadvantages. The whole story is clumsy because Adobe hasn't announced a CS6 version, or any real details about pricing, etc. Now's not the time for that (sorry-I wish we could share more right now), so I can only ask for your patience. Subscriptions will be more interesting & attractive than you might think, so please stay tuned.

The subscription cost today ranges. Annual Photoshop subscriptions cost $29 per month while month-to-month ones cost $49; Master Collection costs $129 per month for the annual subscription or $199 per month for the month-to-month rate.

In comparison, Master Collection without the other Creative Cloud elements costs $2,599 new or $899 to upgrade--at present.

It's tough to make such a profound pricing change for software that's got such a long history and that people are accustomed to owning forever. Adding some incentives to the mix--new features or lower prices--is really the only way Adobe can allay the concerns. So it's good to hear that there could be a bit more carrot and a bit less stick to this program.