Adobe's move from Creative Suite to Creative Cloud offers a chance to overhaul its software in new and exciting ways, says VP Mala Sharma in an interview at Adobe's Creative Days event in London — but it could leave the company damaged if customers aren't won over.
Sharma, who is VP of professional business in Adobe's digital media business unit, also gave a clear sense of direction about what the company has planned for future software releases — which includes many more brand-new applications.
Her comments about Adobe's vulnerability came in response to being asked about user's fears that, while Creative Cloud is affordable now, the company could use its market-dominant position to push up prices substantially in the future — with users 'locked into' their core tools on the platform.
"My only rational response to that is that we can't [push up prices]," says Sharma. "It's in our best interests to win our customers' trust — as every month they're going to be choosing whether they want to stay engaged with us or not. We have never been more vulnerable, in my opinion, than in [moving to a subscription model]. It's a really big bet.
"We definitely do not want to be caught in the position of 'the other man blinked' with our customer base. The customer has more power over Adobe than they ever had before."
As you'd expect, to achieve success Adobe wants creatives to be excited by the Creative Cloud rather than nervous — and from a creative and technological perspective (rather than a business one), Adobe is trying to use the Cloud to do some truly innovative things.
The first is what we've seen in Creative Cloud's first year — a move to a more iterative model where updates appear more regularly than every .5 or .0 release of Creative Suite — but at an accelerated pace now that Adobe has the Creative Cloud platform in place. Expect updates to Adobe's current creative tools thicker and faster after the launch of the CC versions Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Speedgrade, Flash Pro, Dreamweaver and the Edge web design tools on June 17.
Beyond this though, Sharma says that there will be more emphasis on brand-new, razor-focused applications — such as the Edge line — rather than adding more and more functionality (and, some would say, bloat) to mature products. This approach won't just be for web design tools either, but across its photography, graphics, print, video and animation tools too.
Sharma describes this as "the futuristic model, where you have these small apps that are focused but they all work together and make sense together. That's definitely the direction. [These tools will also] not just being interconnected horizontally but connected with your touch applications and with Creative Cloud [for asset sharing and storage]."
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