Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Software

Adobe's Strange Software Giveaway: Goof, Or Clever Marketing? 385

Posted by timothy
from the all-leaks-look-like-plants dept.
dryriver writes "Yesterday, Adobe put up a mysterious webpage from which its now seven-year-old CS2 line of products (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Premiere and others) could be freely downloaded by anyone. The page even included valid serial numbers that will unlock the CS2 apps for anyone who wants to. This strange 'giveaways' page at Adobe.com quickly went viral on the internet after a few tech bloggers reported on it. An Adobe spokesman said initially that the CS2 downloads are for existing owners of Adobe CS2 software only, who may not be able to activate their software anymore, due to the CS2 activation servers having been shut down by Adobe. But the internet at large took this webpage as meaning 'Free Adobe CS2 Software for Everyone,' which was probably not what Adobe had in mind. It seems that at this point, hundreds of thousands of people have downloaded their 'free' CS2 products and installed them, and started using them. So Adobe is in a bit of a PR pinch now because of this — Do you tell all the thousands of people who have downloaded CS2 products in the last 48 hours that 'you cannot use these products without paying us'? Or do you accept that hundreds of thousands of people now have free access to seven year old Adobe CS2 products, and try to encourage some of them to 'upgrade to the new CS6 products'?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Adobe's Strange Software Giveaway: Goof, Or Clever Marketing?

Comments Filter:
  • by pbhj (607776) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:12PM (#42520433) Homepage Journal

    I don't actually find a problem with that; if someone gives me a piece of free-gratis software and it has a simply click-through nag screen then that seems reasonable to me.

    Surely that would be the only point to such a promotion for a corporation, give people chance to become accustomed to Adobe products and encourage them to upgrade to a paid install.

  • Reality check (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:16PM (#42520495) Homepage

    Millions of people are already illegally using more recent versions of the CS suite.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:16PM (#42520499)

    Adobe has been used practically as a case study of the side-effects of piracy to ensure their lock-in. Students pirate Photoshop/CS because they can't afford it, and when they get into the workforce employers suddenly have legions of employees who know how to use Photoshop/CS, making it an attractive choice for licensing because nobody has to be trained. Thus Photoshop/CS continues its reign as the de facto standard, and Adobe gets to set their rates to target the businesses with money without having to worry about the hobbyist market (which is notoriously fickle on legal purchasing of software anyway).

    The higher-ups (or the middle-ups) probably saw that the time was right to spike that userbase a bit, that's all.

  • Not on modern Macs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jtseng (4054) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:21PM (#42520575)

    It's made for PowerPC Macs, so the rest of us using Intel Macs are out of luck. :(

  • Re:The latter. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by war4peace (1628283) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:38PM (#42520839)

    I'd say the target for Adobe isn't the regular user, and never was. The target is comprised of companies which are involved in graphical design, artists and the like. It's pretty easy to cross-check an artist's name (publicly displayed) with whether they have bought an Adobe license and then engage them to see how can they go legal in case they are using Adobe products.
    My gut feeling is that Adobe messed up. It wasn't intentional.

  • Re:The latter. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Admiral Llama (2826) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:44PM (#42520923)

    Says you. Adobe Lightroom is easily worth every penny.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:46PM (#42520953) Journal

    their key servers are down.. do you think they even have stable code for that one?

    Did you suspect that Adobe had stable code for one of their products even when they released it?

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:52PM (#42521043) Homepage

    Adobe has run out of compelling new features to add their main line of products. Sure, there are new bells and whistles in every new release of Photoshop and Illustrator, but the CS2 versions (and even a couple versions back from that) will let you achieve the same results as the CS6 results, just maybe with a little more work. It's not their fault, really; it's the quandary of having a mature set of products. So pretty the main reason anyone upgrades these apps anymore is because they no longer work (or work quite right) on the latest operating systems from Apple and Microsoft (e.g. CS2 for OS X is PPC-only and requires Rosetta, which has been discontinued). That's part of why Adobe (like Microsoft, which is in the same boat with Office) is pushing for a subscription model for their software (rent it by the month) rather than the traditional buy-it-once approach.

  • Re:The latter. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <(mojo) (at) (world3.net)> on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:53PM (#42521057) Homepage

    Even if I had the money to burn I wouldn't install it because of the terrible system-invading DRM. Another case of the Pirate Bay version being better quality than the official release.

  • Re:Windows 7 64bit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by omnichad (1198475) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:56PM (#42521117) Homepage

    Ignore that - it only takes a little effort to get it working.

  • by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @02:04PM (#42521269)

    Adobe has been used practically as a case study of the side-effects of piracy to ensure their lock-in. Students pirate Photoshop/CS because they can't afford it, and when they get into the workforce employers suddenly have legions of employees who know how to use Photoshop/CS, making it an attractive choice for licensing because nobody has to be trained. Thus Photoshop/CS continues its reign as the de facto standard, and Adobe gets to set their rates to target the businesses with money without having to worry about the hobbyist market (which is notoriously fickle on legal purchasing of software anyway).

    The higher-ups (or the middle-ups) probably saw that the time was right to spike that userbase a bit, that's all.

    The fact that adobe's products are usually superior to their competition (such as GIMP or paint.net vs photoshop) has nothing to do with it, right?

    If your theory were correct, then Pro Tools would not rule the audio world - Adobe Audition or some other free or less expensive software would. Pro Tools has much greater copy protection mechanisms and is not frequently pirated while (as you have pointed out) CS is. Yet somehow Pro Tools is still the de facto standard. If you search for comparisons of the two you will find many comments from professionals even indicating that protools is inferior yet is the one to use. Just as photoshop is a de facto standard for image editing despite high prices, so is Pro Tools for audio. In both cases I would submit that it is because each was vastly superior to their competition for a very long time. In both cases, as time has gone on the competing software has come close to matching the capabilities of the leader.

    My point is that your assertion that Adobe leads image editing due to high rates of piracy is not accurate. There are other far more obvious reasons for things to be the way they are.

    Cheers to adobe for supporting customers who previously paid for a product and still want to use it rather than forcing those customers to upgrade. Other software firms could take a lesson in this regard.

  • Re:The latter. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @02:06PM (#42521313) Homepage Journal
    This is more of a problem with Illustrator than Photoshop, admittedly. There were at least two versions in a row (CS3 and CS4) that would smash object groups into clipping areas simply because the document's version number was newer. Although I've also seen Photoshop do some weedy things with text layers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @02:10PM (#42521381)

    If it was a real problem, they would have at least pulled the download links. However, a day later, you can still download everything. Obviously, not a mistake.

  • Re:Goof. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @02:20PM (#42521541)

    Except that they have official statements on the forum stating that you are NOT legally entitled to use the software unless you had previously purchased it from them.

    "found a download on their site" isnt "obtained a license".

  • Re:The latter. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @02:23PM (#42521615) Homepage

    "It's pretty easy to cross-check an artist's name (publicly displayed) with whether they have bought an Adobe license and then engage them to see how can they go legal in case they are using Adobe products."

    You're assuming that licenses are registered using the same name the artist uses professionally. A freelancer might use the name of the LLC that they formed for tax/liability purposes. The non-creative tech guy for a large firm might put his own name in. For that matter, you're assuming that artists consistently have their name legibly attached to all of their published work; if it's freelance work-for-hire (a huge portion of Adobe's user base), that's actually pretty unlikely.

  • Re:Goof. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheTerseOne (2447418) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @02:28PM (#42521691)

    "found a download on their site" isnt "obtained a license".

    But "Found a download on their site with a valid license displayed right next to it" is.

  • by dhalsim2 (626618) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @02:30PM (#42521729)

    I've been following the events closely and was trying to figure out how this will affect the industry. What has gone down is clearly a goof, not a marketing plan. Some say that it will help sales of CS5/6; others say it will hurt them. My best estimate is that the net effect on CS5/6 sales will be close to zero. However, as parent stated, if Adobe doesn't walk back their "permission" to use CS2, they have effectively killed off Elements. PS has the much higher price tag, but I'm sure that Adobe makes much more money off of Elements due to volume.

    Elements: dead
    Paint.net: dead
    GIMP: dead on Windows
    any other photo-editing software already struggling to survive: dead

    Aside from PS, the other big release was Acrobat 8 Pro. This is really bad for Adobe, too, as there are no free, _usable_ tools for creating PDFs. Acrobat 8 Pro has everything most people would need to create PDFs, so this particular goof will definitely hurts sales of the modern version.

    Adobe is between a rock and a hard spot: kill major sources of revenue or take on a PR nightmare. If I were them, I think I'd take on the PR nightmare instead of losing Elements and Acrobat. Let's see how this plays out.

  • by jeti (105266) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @02:33PM (#42521793) Homepage

    If you need some legal photo editing software at your company, but it's not justifiable to buy Photoshop, you can now use this old version for free. That kills the competition with cheaper products. And if at some point you need something more powerful than this old version, you're probably going to buy a new version of PhotoShop instead of learning to use a new software.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @02:43PM (#42521953)

    It's just that they accidentally made the download links available to everyone.

    They sure aren't in a rush to 'fix' it.

  • by filthpickle (1199927) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @02:45PM (#42521989)
    I think that the niche that Paint.net fills is still there...even if PS cs2 is free (still up in the air). I could have warez'd photoshop whenever I wanted before this...it just wasn't worth it. Paint.net does everything I need a photo editor to do. I am sure there are plenty of people that it doesn't work for...I am also sure that there are plenty that are the same as I am.
  • Re:The latter. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by X0563511 (793323) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @02:50PM (#42522065) Homepage Journal

    I'd prefer the DRM over the trojan(s).

  • by omnichad (1198475) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @03:23PM (#42522549) Homepage

    And before you say it, CS2 has hit EOL. I have no reason not to disable update checking.

  • Re:The latter. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brett Buck (811747) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @03:31PM (#42522689)

    the only good thing about GIMP is that it's free. Otherwise it's torturous to use. No way is it a real competition to photoshop (which is slightly less torturous) Yes, I know I could go in and help fix it but my first step would be to delete all the code.

            Brett

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @04:13PM (#42523261)

    Blender has had its UI completely redesigned. I think it's one of the best designed in any kind of 3D software now.

  • Re:The latter. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nyctopterus (717502) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @04:38PM (#42523621) Homepage

    Yeah, take that people with a different skill set!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @07:17PM (#42525521)

    Oh, for fuck's sake. How many times will this need to be explained to the slow of thinking? The problem with GIMP is that it lacks features that are absolutely vital to professional graphic designers and professional photographers. It's not about the the GUI. It's not about keyboard commands. It's not about the host OS. It's about the basic goddamned feature set and how it works under the hood .

    I'm an open source fanboy. I grew up on Linux. I run Slackware as my main desktop OS and compile my own packages, for preference. But when it comes to my photography, GIMP is not an acceptable substitute for Photoshop. Until GIMP has those vital and basic features, I'm going to stick with Windows and my education-licensed copy of Photoshop.

  • by Cederic (9623) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @08:15PM (#42526069) Journal

    The problem with GIMP is that it lacks features that are absolutely vital to professional graphic designers and professional photographers.

    Which is why many professional photographers use Adobe Lightroom. It's better than Photoshop for most photo post-processing activities, including the stuff you do to 90% of your photos as a matter of course.

    I have GIMP and Paint.NET and I've used Photoshop and there's only a couple of things that I can't do in Lightroom that I'd want to do. Contrast masking was one, but Lightroom v4.x removed the need for that (with its excellent highlight/shadow sliders) and the other is HDR - which you can acquire far cheaper software than Photoshop to do for you, or use the layers and transparency masks within any of the three products to achieve manually.

    I almost never need HDR though, and even when I do I rarely have a tripod available so it's just not worth paying money for.

    A lot of professional photographers do have and use Photoshop, but a wedding photographer just wont have the time to go through 2000 images in Photoshop. It's not designed for that sort of workload.

    Photoshop basically adds some very nice tools to do photo patching (which is a more manual and less seamless task in Lightroom) and proper image manipulation - rather than merely post-processing.

    A professional will benefit from the ability to do things like take out power lines, remove acne, maybe even recompose a shot, but cropping, correcting lens aberration, adjusting the colour balance, saturation and brightness, changing the effective exposure (and the contrast curve), applying colour filters as part of converting to black and white.. these are things I do in Lightroom.

Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature. -- Rich Kulawiec

Working...