During a recent Tom Hogarty, product manager for Adobe photography software, recently visited the ProCounter office in regional Victoria, to sit down and come clean about what’s going on with Adobe photo editing software.
This exclusive interview, which may or may not have actually happened, is one of the first times Adobe has ever been brutally honest with current and future direction.
How does this update affect my old Photography/Creative Cloud Plan
Tom: We’ve split things up to maximise revenue. And customer satisfaction, it goes without saying. It’s pretty clever – this is how it works: If you have a Creative Cloud Photography plan you now get the new Lightroom CC, as well as Lightroom Classic and Photoshop CC. We thought we may as well throw in an an extra, redundant Lightroom application because it makes us look generous without actually costing anything. I mean – all this for just $9.99 a month. You’d have to come across as a real tight-arse to complain about that!
But our ultimate aim is to be awash with cash from image storage – that was the endgame way back when we started this whole move to the Creative Cloud, to be honest – so we provide hardly any storage with that plan. There is also a new Lightroom CC-only plan that is $9.99 per month that includes 1TB of cloud storage.
If you want storage – and let’s face it, you don’t really have a choice – it’s $9.99 a month per terabyte. Some of our more bleeding heart liberal marketing peeps were looking at offering a bulk discount – you get all types in Silicon Valley. But if we dropped the charge to say $35/month for 5 terabytes we wouldn’t be maximising shareholder value – it’s a business ethics thing.
Aren’t you concerned you might lose customers – there’s been a strong negative reaction to the changes on the various photographic websites.
T: Yeah negative schmegative. People bitch and moan and say they are taking their business elsewhere, but at the end of the day they have sunk too many hours into learning how to use our software. Besides, their colleagues and customers use our software. We have a captive market here.
Our response has been to be officially hearing-challenged to all the harping from the whiners; sool the PR flacks onto the Comments columns on those websites; and plant regular positive stories about Adobe products anywhere that will take them. The moaners will eventually give up – they always do.
Is Lightroom Classic being phased out? How long will it be until Adobe kills Lightroom Classic?
T: Heyyy – come on – would we do that? Let me just say that we are not currently thinking in a definite sort of way about phasing out Lightroom Classic. If the notion pops into someone’s head every now again well, that’s understandable. We have one team of developers working on Lightroom CC – what we call our A team – and another working on Lightroom Classic – a guy called Arnold. He is very bright.
We remain committed to investing in Lightroom Classic in the future. We even have an exciting roadmap of improvements well into the future. Gotta love those exciting roadmaps!
Does that mean Lightroom will be around indefinitely?
T: Ah – I see what you are doing there. Indefinite is a tricky word. When we said way back in 2013 – seems like a lifetime ago, don’t it? – that ‘all new versions of Lightroom would be available via traditional perpetual licences indefinitely’, and there would not be a new product called Lightroom CC we were using the word ‘indefinitely’ as the opposite of ‘definitely’. The English language is wonderfully rich and subtle.
Does everything have to be synced to Lightroom CC or can users pick and choose what content syncs with the cloud?
T: Harkening back to an earlier response in which I outlined Adobes’ plan to ultimately just sit on our servers and count the cash, it’s imperative for our shareholders that everything imported is uploaded to Creative Cloud. There may be situations where a customer would not want all of their images uploaded to Creative Cloud, but who cares? They can like it or lump it. If a customer doesn’t want any images in the Creative Cloud, well frankly they are not the kind of customer we are looking for. We are not short of customers, you know! Anyway, they can use Lightroom 7 – oops – Lightroom Classic. It will definitely be available for an unlimited time.
What if you don’t have superfast, unlimited Internet to sync everything – say you live in Australia or somewhere like that – won’t it likely take days to upload a full shoot of raw files to a cloud server – and maybe weeks for an entire professional image collection?
T: So? Just be patient. You can still start working on your images immediately so it’s no biggie. And there’s always the Lightroom Classic option until internet speeds are up to our standards. Or indefinitely. Whichever comes first.
Why did you abandon the Lightroom standalone version?
T: Our customers were clamouring for us to abandon Lightroom. You only have to look at how many people we have already shoe-horned onto the Creative Cloud Photography plan to deduce that this is what our customers really want. We force customers onto the cloud, then they realise they have been stupid to resist. It’s a win-win.
Finally, you must have been disappointed with the reaction to the announcements regarding the changes to Lightroom?
T: You’re kidding aren’t you? Did you see what the stock price did when this news dropped? We shot up over 10 percent in one day. The Wall Street Journal went crazy about us. Our stock price is up around 70 percent this year alone. We are predicting revenue growth of 20 percent and earnings growth of 30 percent – largely thanks to Lightroom CC. The market loves that our customers are committed to delivering us a smooth, growing month-by-month revenue stream. We are the darling of the NASDAQ.