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

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

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  • If they are smart... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DaemonDan ( 2773445 ) <> on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:09PM (#42520393) Homepage
    They'll try to turn it into a marketing strategy, with constant reminders to update to a newer version every time you open your "free" version.
  • The latter. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:12PM (#42520439) Homepage Journal
    Adobe's creative suite has always had high piracy rates due to their high prices. Like Office, poor version compatibility and deliberately breaking file formats is standard operating procedure; otherwise no one would ever upgrade Illustrator or Photoshop, and the company would be out of business already.
  • Re:The latter. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kimgkimg ( 957949 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:25PM (#42520647)
    It's like what Bill Gates said:

    "And as long as they're going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."

    Seemed like a good move considering they're having to deal with market erosion from things like Paint.NET and GIMP.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:49PM (#42520999) Journal

    They'll try to turn it into a marketing strategy, with constant reminders to update to a newer version every time you open your "free" version.

    I suspect that their problem is that CS2 is more than adequate for most people who haven't already upgraded to CS5 or 6(in particular, it should curb-stomp any version of "Photoshop Elements" which Adobe doesn't exactly give away...

    Adobe does add some interesting features with each new revision(their software engineering people are exactly as good as you'd expect, given the sordid histories of things like Flash and Acrobat Reader; but they have some genuinely interesting machine vision/image processing people); but a lot of the core tools don't change too much, both because there isn't too much to change and because the Pro users get touchy.

    It probably won't hit existing CS5/6 customers hard; but allowing free CS2 into the wild will murder 'Elements' and make upselling harder.

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

    by cathector ( 972646 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:55PM (#42521079)


    even for semi-serious non-professional uses i find GIMP to have a horrible UI. it's sort of like Blender.
    honestly i'd rather work out an ImageMagick script to do what i want than do it in gimp. at least then it's reusable and command-line.

    i do prop PaintShop Pro and Pixelmator for being solid products an order of magnitude or so cheaper than Photoshop.
    altho pixelmator has swallowed a bit too much of the Apple cool-aid around stamping out "Save As", imo.

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

    by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @02:10PM (#42521393) Homepage Journal
    I think it was CS4 (or maybe CS5?) when Adobe added progress bars for every possible operation. That was pretty welcome from my perspective when it comes to working with really large or complex documents, although CS4 also stamped out any semblance of a standard UI and replaced everything with its weird hybrid iTunes-menu-titlebar/Vista nonsense. CS6 has finally made this new UI at least usable (you can adjust its brightness), although bizarrely Illustrator CS5 supported that, too, revealing how fractured the Adobe development teams really are when you get under the hood.
  • Re:The latter. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @02:14PM (#42521457) Homepage Journal
    Valid point. I've seen evidence that some new versions of SecuROM in EA games will actually block access to the Pirate Bay when installed. That kind of reasoning makes it incredibly difficult to trust and support game makers who accept such malicious publishers.
  • by tibit ( 1762298 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @02:55PM (#42522157) and GIMP dead? HUH?

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

    by gamanimatron ( 1327245 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @03:21PM (#42522517) Journal
    I did. Immediately. My professional use of paint and page layout programs is now limited enough that CS2 does everything I need and most of what I want, and there's no way I could justify the outlay for CS6 or their cloud service. Heck, I used PS CS2 for pro photography work for a couple of years. It might be seven-year-old software, but it's still miles better than anything else you can get for less than a few hundred bucks even today.
  • Re:Goof. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jonnythan ( 79727 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @03:22PM (#42522537)

    It clearly says "Adobe grants you a license" "if you obtained the software from Adobe."

    You are literally granted a license by virtue of the fact that you got the software from Adobe and plan to use it in accordance to the EULA.

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

    by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @06:15PM (#42524847) Journal

    You have $400 left at the end of the month? Spread some of that wealth around...

    I wish as of recent. Some of us simply do not make $70k a year who can buy such things. I have seen posters on slashdot where they laugh at those offering just 60k a year and wonder how are they going to survive?!

    Apparently, they got in during 1999 and not in 2009 where most computer science graduates make $12/hr out of school and feel lucky to ahve a job and still live at home. The disconnect is huge right now between these groups. Traditionally it was the college vs non college educated adults ... but this is offtopic.

    $700 is too expensive for anyone unless they own a business and make good cash. That was the point.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury