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Adobe Creative Cloud is Paradigm Shift Milestone

Adobe's new Creative Cloud software plan is a paradigm shift for the company. This service, which is $600 a year, allows a single user access to their entire collection from any capable machine. The long history of Adobe's relationship with users and software licenses has finally reached a new era. Easy to understand, comprehensive, and a true real-time relationship, redemption is at hand for the company recently on the losing end of a battle for the relevance of Flash.

I have been using Adobe products since Photoshop 4.0, which 16 years ago was hands down the most pirated software on earth. In many ways, the massive pirate distribution of Photoshop in particular was a component of the growth of the web. Adobe's brand exploded out of the design haus and into the mainstream amateur designer and photographer market. It was in those years that an entire generation of customers would come to specialize in their products and love them dearly — in spite of not having paid them a dime.

Later in life, this massive army of college kids, entrepreneurs, and hacks ended up becoming employees at companies that bought legitimate licenses for them. The rise of Flash at the turn of the century only cemented Adobe's place as the fulcrum of modern digital creation.

And the pirating continued. Adobe struggled mightily to solve this problem. It was much deeper than a technical or legal solution, because they knew their place on the top as most-pirated was possibly an incredibly valuable brand position.

At last, in 2012, it appears they may have found a solution. Slashing their price point from $2,600 for shrink wrapped "Suites" (which just sounds like — and usually is — "excess baggage") to a friendly-sounding $49 per month, the entry point just became realistic and attainablefor the freelancer, the small business, and the enterprise agency with 1000 licenses.

Cloud-based software subscriptions and downloads are nothing new. But for Adobe — and the model in general — it's an evolutionary leap.

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