OT: Subscription software is bad for biz (RANT)

Cliff Etzel wrote on 7/2/2014, 11:16 AM
Although I have been using Adobe's post production software for the past 3 years, I was part of a study group 4 years ago when Adobe was exploring the idea of subscription based software only. One of the comments I made to the people doing the research/study was that there would come a point where creatives like myself would be in the middle of a project, and all of a sudden their software would just quit working. Well, it has happened as of this morning.

Software that was working as of yesterday no longer works today because Adobe's so called Activation has failed - which I find ironic since I was using said software yesterday and for the past month.

And Adobe's solution for Tech support? Send me to the community Forums which are of no help whatsoever.

Now I have a documentary project sitting in Premiere Pro CS6.0.5 that cannot be accessed. This may very well be the lynch pin that sends me back to Vegas Pro - especially with version 13 on the streets. I"m hoping the import of my premiere project file translates over smoothly as it was nothing but initial cuts after having used pluraleyes to sync audio

Anyone else who's running a mixed environment of Vegas and Adobe Apps run into a similar situation?

To say I'm frustrated is an understatement.



PeterDuke wrote on 7/2/2014, 6:55 PM
I thought CS6 was licensed and activated forever while CC is subscription. I have never had any such issues with CS6.
JasonATL wrote on 7/2/2014, 8:00 PM

What kind of activation issue?

I started using Adobe CC a little over a year ago because Vegas Pro had become so unstable for me. Adobe CC worked reliably for me for about 14 months.

A little over a week ago, I tried opening Premiere Pro and the software said I needed to "Renew your subscription". Knowing my account was paid and in good standing, clicking "continue" brought up a screen that verified, "Your subscription is active." Clicking continue from there brought me to the, "Renew your subscription" page. A dreadful loop that I couldn't get out of. "Chat" with support tried to help, but 2.5 hours later, the problem persisted. The "resolution" from that chat was, "someone will contact you in 2-3 days." What?! So, I called them. A very nice young man was actually helpful. In less than 20 minutes, he diagnosed the problem to be on Adobe's authentication back-end server. It being a Friday, he told ,me that the tech team responsible for that server would take up the issue Monday. He promised to call me back, which he did. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,... every day, the problem had been escalated. Finally, a week later, the problem was fixed.

I saw similar activation issues when I went to Adobe's forums. Problem is, they are very vigilant about locking threads that become somewhat negative and the number of threads quickly pushes problems off the first few pages. But, I could see that I wasn't alone in the issue. Others were having authentication/validation issues. Still, their "status" page for CC showed that everything was operating normally. It clearly wasn't, as I was unable to use software that was installed on my machine and that I had already paid (as recently as a couple of weeks earlier) to use.

While not a defender of a subscription-based software, the price for me was reasonable considering the tools I used and the upgrades that were made... assuming I could access the software. Never mind the issue of "once you stop paying, you can't use the software." Now I'm concerned that I can't access it even when paying. I had to go a week without access to CC. Unacceptable.

They did promise to credit my account for a month. But, the monthly fee isn't really the issue, is it? It is the confidence that paying customers have that they will be able to use the software installed on their machines.

I've kept my subscription for now. But, I'm no longer as confident in their model and the second time this happens to me will likely be the last time.

Thankfully, Vegas Pro 13 is more stable than VP 12 for me. Still, Adobe's encoder is so much better... when I can access it.

DavidK wrote on 7/2/2014, 8:29 PM
I switched from Adobe Premiere CS6 to Vegas Pro 12 when Premier CC came out. I didn't like the idea of renting software. Best move I ever made. For me Vegas 12 has been solid for me for over a year now. Not a single crash.

I have a few friends that, at first, went the Premiere CC route. The biggest complaint they have had is constant activation issues. I have gotten two of them to switch to Vegas and they are much happier now.

Steve_Rhoden wrote on 7/2/2014, 8:39 PM
So you left Vegas Pro because it was a bit unstable for you JasonATL ...
And you went to Premiere Pro CC, Because the grass looked greener...
Premiere Pro CC then now becomes unreliable for you...
Now you are returning to Vegas Pro to try version13....

Im sure there is a lesson somewhere here to learn, (smile)
farss wrote on 7/2/2014, 9:32 PM
With 2.5 million or so CC subscribers it's clearly not bad for Adobe's business.

I'm no fan of this subscription thing either because of how my business works or more to the point lately doesn't but as more and more vendors switch to it I fear it's something we'll all have to learn to live with somehow.

Steve Mann wrote on 7/2/2014, 10:29 PM
Steve - it's called schadenfreude.

Bob - as I've said before, the subscription model means the software maker has run out of ideas for compelling new features, which is what drives upgrades. No new features = fewer user upgrades. So, hold their work for ransom and call it a subscription.
Tom Pauncz wrote on 7/2/2014, 11:05 PM
+1 Steve Mann...
GeeBax wrote on 7/3/2014, 12:33 AM
Also remember the subscription route takes care of people who 'share' their licensed software with other people. A compelling reason to go that way.

But not for me, I don't have any Adobe product other than Reader, and if that goes subscription, then Adobe will get the single finger salute from me.
ushere wrote on 7/3/2014, 3:46 AM
+ 1 and another +1

i hang around the ps and ae forums because i quite often pick up some useful tips / hints / ideas / etc.,

they are abuzz with assorted problems; activation, bugs (especially so with maverick i gather), and more.

i have every intention of keeping cs5.5 (for onlocation alone, prelude is a waste of time in this respect), and cs6 for the foreseeable future. i cannot imagine what is in development, but since i'm not into raw or 4k (yet;-)) i'm doing fine with them. and apparently cs6 is 4k ready, if needed.

my +'s above are heartfelt indeed - as a indie producer i want my tools around ALL the time, ie., between projects, and functioning when i need them.

one day i'm going to have a serious play with davinci 11, but i can't see it ever replacing vegas for the work i do.

one happy 13 user....
TeetimeNC wrote on 7/3/2014, 8:41 AM
As of April, Adobe shares have spiked 81% over the previous 12 months— far better than the mere 37% rise in the NASDAQ during that time. This article attributes that to improved profits from their new software as a service model. That kind of increase may be hard for other software companies to ignore. On the other hand, we can hope SCS is seeing a substantial increase in sales due to the departure of disgruntled Premier customers.

Steve_Rhoden wrote on 7/3/2014, 10:10 AM
Rise in shares yes, thats why other companies see this with
big googley eyes and jumping on the boat.
I think that news is gonna take a turn for the worst some time in the future.
riredale wrote on 7/3/2014, 11:34 AM
If the stock has soared and there is as of yet no negative press about the model crashing, yet it IS crashing and people are very upset about it, perhaps it's time to short the stock.
Kimberly wrote on 7/3/2014, 11:38 AM
As of April, Adobe shares have spiked 81% over the previous 12 months—

Yes but after the initial conversion the analysts view that as "annuity revenue." What will Adobe do to create "new" revenue? It's the growth that drives stock value . . .
rmack350 wrote on 7/3/2014, 12:21 PM
It's also steady revenue, which probably makes it much easier for Adobe to make projections.

Adobe's product line is so broad that it probably warrants the infrastructure to try (and fail) to to maintain subscriptions. It seems to me that SCS might look at the costs and decide it's not worth it to go to a subscription model for a half a handful of titles.

On the other hand, they could probably do the job much better after having seen Adobe's problems. Pay ahead two months and give the software a full month to connect to the server for renewals, or even offer 6 month or 12 month "deposits" with monthly renewals to add one additional month, giving you 5 or 11 months leeway to get a subscription snag ironed out. And just refund the balance of the deposit on cancellation.

The problem for some editors and also some large facilities is that you need your NLE to remain consistent over multiple years. If you work on a doc for three to five to ten years you need to be able to lock your system to guard against updates, and probably be able to run a second installed seat where you can test those updates.

Quassos Music wrote on 7/3/2014, 8:48 PM
I may be old fashioned, but I like the idea of buying a product, and to feel that I have some ownership over how I make use of it - and I hate the idea of renting anything.

I bought the apartment where I live, because I wasn't into the insecurity of renting. I bought MS Office 2010, because i didn't want to rent Office 2013.

I am sure that in the right circumstances I might have bought some Adobe products, if their sales policy was acceptable to me, but I will never rent Adobe products!
ushere wrote on 7/3/2014, 9:24 PM
i might be being a bit dense here (i am everywhere else ;-)), but:

since i have no interest in subscript. software i haven't really investigated it to any major extent, but i gather it's a monthly thing?

in my earlier post i opined that as an indie producer i don't necessarily use my software every day / week / month. so what happens if i have a subscript. for a month, do the job and then let it lapse. a couple of months later the client wants a minor change. do i have to re subscribe and pay a months sub to add say a comma to a graphic?

this is purely out of curiosity since i the only thing i subscribe to is the nyrb....

Steve Mann wrote on 7/3/2014, 11:25 PM
"As of April, Adobe shares have spiked 81% over the previous 12 months—"

This would be expected since the corporation only looks to the next quarter, and their next quarter's projections look good. But in the next few years people will move on, pissed off at Adobe system problems or using another NLE after multiplying the monthly ransom out a couple of years, but with no new features, the Adobe model is doomed because there won't be many new users. Revenue will stagnate and the stock will suffer. But it will take a few years.
Steve Mann wrote on 7/3/2014, 11:36 PM

The Adobe model works like this: You agree to pay the ransom either monthly or yearly, and Adobe lets you download the software to your PC. About once a month, the program phones home to verify that the protection money has been paid, and if it has, you get another month's usage. If you are an occasional user and let the account lapse, then you cannot edit your projects. In your example, yes a minor change requires another month's rent.

What does Adobe offer to the user? Initial lower cost. If you need AE once a year, then the rental model is probably good for you. If you need it on a daily basis and upgrade with every release like a lemming, the model works for you. But if you are like many other users and don't upgrade with every release unless there are new features that you want, then do the math.

What compelling new features has Adobe offered to get new users?
GeeBax wrote on 7/4/2014, 12:07 AM
[I]What compelling new features has Adobe offered to get new users?[/I]

Probably none. My accounting software was a subscription model, but this year I contacted them and asked for a price to own it. Not surprisingly, it was about the same as a year's subscription, so I paid.

I then got an email from them (QuickBooks/Reckon) saying that because I was not in the subscription model any longer, I would not be entitled to the Exciting New Tax Tables Upgrade.

I could barely contain my disappointment......

JohnnyRoy wrote on 7/4/2014, 2:22 PM
> "As of April, Adobe shares have spiked 81% over the previous 12 months— far better than the mere 37% rise in the NASDAQ during that time. ...That kind of increase may be hard for other software companies to ignore"

If other software companies follow them, the "house of cards" will come tumbling down! Think about it for a moment. How many pieces of software do you have installed on your PC? 10, 20, maybe 30 applications? Think about having to pay 30 vendors a monthly fee! It's not sustainable. No one can afford all of their software to be a subscription so what will happen is people will buy less. Instead of video editors owning Premiere Pro, and Media Composer, or Final Cut Pro, and Vegas Pro, they will pick one. It will be very polarizing. It will be very bad for the software industry. Everyone will lose including the software companies.

TeetimeNC wrote on 7/4/2014, 3:18 PM
[i]>If other software companies follow them, the "house of cards" will come tumbling down! Think about it for a moment. How many pieces of software do you have installed on your PC? 10, 20, maybe 30 applications? Think about having to pay 30 vendors a monthly fee! It's not sustainable.{/i]

JR, at this point I'm not really paying Adobe any more for the monthly rentals than I was for the upgrades I was doing. Typically I would update Lightroom every year, and Photoshop/After Effects/Illustrator every three years on average. I am comfortable with the value proposition and with the improvements they continue to make with the products. What I am not comfortable with is the inability to gracefully back out of the subscription model and retain the ability to service past projects created with Adobe products. This is where I feel I am being held hostage. What I would prefer to see Adobe do is allow us to continue to access/edit existing projects but not create new projects when the subscription ends. This, to me, seems like it would be fair to all parties.

As for the 30 or so other programs I have on my PC, I think there are probably only 10 or so where the subscription model would be applicable, and again I would be ok with a subscription model if there was a satisfactory end-of-active-use strategy. For example, consider Microsoft Office. If I were in their subscription plan ($70-$99/year) I don't think my cash outlay over time would change much. But I wouldn't consider the subscription option unless I could continue to access existing email/spreadsheets/documents after ending the subscription.

I hope some sort of suitable end-of-active-use option becomes available in the SaaS model.

GeeBax wrote on 7/4/2014, 5:45 PM
Jerry, Microsoft Office is not a good example, because you can get open-source equivalents that will open the MS documents for free already.
Tewt wrote on 7/4/2014, 5:55 PM
And Microsoft even offers their own free version online with a free Outlook email account, 7Gb of storage included. As long as you don't need advanced features, the online versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint offer plenty of functionality for the average/occasional user.

I hope SCS stays away from the subscription model. I like the pricing and 'owning' the functional software for life.

TheHappyFriar wrote on 7/4/2014, 7:59 PM
There will never be all NLE's doing a paid subscription model. Blender has a built in NLE, for example, and that's free. So we'd end up going to one where there was a pay structure we like. Remember, Blender didn't really become viable until the big 3D apps pretty much eliminated the smaller guys (or bought them up). So, if the major NLE's go subscription, a smaller one will get bigger from increased user base.