Will The Freemium Model Work For Photoshop?

from the may-be-a-tough-call dept

Adobe made some news today by launching a free web-based low-end version of Adobe Photoshop. The idea is that Adobe hopes this will convince people to upgrade to the for-fee desktop software packages or (potentially) higher end online offerings from Adobe. This should be an interesting experiment for a variety of reasons. First, it definitely makes sense for Adobe to head down this path — because if it didn’t others would pop up and do the same (in fact there already are a few web-based Photoshop clones out there). So, joining this space earlier, rather than later, gives Adobe a chance to help define it, rather than be defined by it.

Adobe also has an advantage in the fact that it dominates this market. Even with free offerings like The Gimp out there, many graphic designers and photographers swear by the Photoshop interface and tools. The question, though, is how well this offering will be adopted. There are already some concerns about performance, which can matter a great deal when doing image editing. Furthermore, if this free online offering is there to serve as a way to push people to sign up for paid offerings, there will be pressures on the development team not to make the product as good as can be — and that will keep open a wide opportunity for others to come in and provide a better product. No matter what, it’s nice to see yet another large traditional client-side software provider experimenting with web-based offerings. Finally, simply porting a desktop software to the web isn’t all that appealing. Services like Writely took off not because they were word processing clones (or free) but because they offered something useful that was different. In the case of Writely, it was the ability to do real-time collaboration over a document. So as long as Adobe focuses on creating those useful things that are different than what can be done on the desktop client, this could have some potential. But merely moving a feature-lacking version of a desktop client to the web probably isn’t enough.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: adobe

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Will The Freemium Model Work For Photoshop?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Hellsvilla (user link) says:

I took a look...

I took a look at it, and from what I can tell… ITS NOT PHOTOSHOP AT ALL! It’s a disgrace to the name photoshop to call this little app photoshop. It amazes me they would even think to dilute one of the most powerful trademarks out there like that.

This photo touch up tool is set to compete with things like googles photo touch up and management tool, Picasa. This app doesn’t even come close to the same realm that photoshop lives breathes and dominates in.

I was very excited at first to check out this new photoshop, but extremely disappointed to find it was completely useless.

It looks like adobe is running on fear at this point. Maybe what they should contemplate is actually pricing photoshop (the real one) to actually make additional sales from all the people who pirate it because its too damn expensive.

Reality Check says:

Get Real Guys

After listening to you all complain, whine, and what not, I had to step in and ask “For all your intent and purposes, why would you even bother with a free “lite” program, considering much of what previous posters do requires a full fledge program?”

Listen, its a neat program. Fact. Period. Its not aimed at those of us who with dSLRs and shoot in RAW format and need to do post-processing. Its not geared toward those who, as part of their business, do a lot of photo editing. And from the sound of it, its not geared to most of you.

Its geared to those who would like to enter into the world of Photoshop and maybe see what all the talk is about. Its for those who dont require the full strength of a complete package, rather something to just mess around with. If folks need something more powerful, then guess what? They’ll go out and buy the “larger” program.

Considering it only works with JPG files right now, what did you expect? No one in their right, professional, mind would even bother to edit a JPG file with ANY photo program. This is for those who just want to muck around.

Maybe in the future it will get some added upgrades. Its not going to replace the software package you buy in the store. Its not meant to.

Now let’s all come back to reality…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Get Real Guys

It is garbage!! Photo edit?! Did you even try the app? Those tools are a joke!

And did you read the “fine print”? All the photos you submit can be used by adobe. You’re gonna do business photos and then just “give” them to adobe… smart.

If you want to see what photoshop can do, hit the bay or check the usenet like everyone else that wants to give it a test spin. Or go get the edu version for $300.

Anonymous Coward says:

I tried it. It is a decent little me-too photo retouching program. It is easier to use than most of the products that come with digital cameras and scanners. Ease of use is nice.

But otherwise it is Photoshop without the Photshop. Photoshop is so synonymous with image manipulation that is has become a verb. None of that is here.

The same goes for creating graphics for print or web applications. That ability is also totally AWOL.

I really can’t see how anyone would use this and say “Oh, now I see what Photoshop could do for me. I think I’ll upgrade.” This application doesn’t even give a hint about the potentials of the full program.

nipseyrussell says:

dear reality check:
“Listen, its a neat program. Fact. Period.”
period, really? “neat” isnt a “fact”, its an opinion. Its your opinion, but other opinions posted here are: “POS” “utter crap” “disgrace” “garbage” and some unpleasantness is also alluded to.
Now tell me, if thats a fact, am i lying?

Peter Blaise (profile) says:

Photoshop Express

This is NOT Photoshop in any way. It’s slow and incomplete and handles JPG only. JPG is an output format only, not suitable for subsequent tweaking. Free Google Picasa (download) handles any RAW or TIF (capture and storage formats) I throw at it.

Adobe is just trying to compete on-line with other on-like “image tweakers”. It requires dancing baloney enabled browser, is arduously slow, did not seem to have a fine or predictable level of control over adjustments being on or off or cancelable or implemented with other features, and they offered no dialog feedback, only a form asking which features you loved. How arrogant! I will never revisit Photoshop Express.

Chris (user link) says:


It’s kinda cool for letting new users into the world of Photoshop. It’s def not for pros to replace their expensive versions with. It’s not as user friendly as Flickr and it’s image editor, Picnik, are, but it does have some features Picnik does not have. The main drawback is that anything you post on there becomes the property of Adobe. What the hell? yeah, read the TOS:

8. Use of Your Content. Adobe does not claim ownership of Your Content. However, with respect to Your Content that you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Services, you grant Adobe a worldwide, royalty-free, nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable license to use, distribute, derive revenue or other remuneration from, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content (in whole or in part) and to incorporate such Content into other Materials or works in any format or medium now known or later developed.

These corporations gotta learn how web 2.0 works. I think this license will keep any real photographers from using it.

Reality Check says:

Re: Express

“It’s kinda cool for letting new users into the world of Photoshop. It’s def not for pros to replace their expensive versions with. It’s not as user friendly as Flickr and it’s image editor, Picnik, are, but it does have some features Picnik does not have. The main drawback is that anything you post on there becomes the property of Adobe…”

Exactly. That was the point I was making. If any of these other posters have actually ever used PS they would know that for novice photo editing folks, PS can be quite daunting and overwhelming – it is a very complex program for a reason – it allows you to do almost anything to anything.

Look – Adobe stated they would be adding features. This version allows them to take the first step to making an online presence for PS. It wasnt expected to be the best thing since sliced bread. It was just to get them online.

As for the argument about other programs – there are always going to be more than one type of program to choose from, whether its anti-virus, email, etc etc. Paint.net is a great program – whats your point? The packaged PS is 10x better.

I bet most of you have never even used PS to its full potential have no idea what its capable of doing. Adobe isnt going to put their full version online for free – this version will satisfy most novice users right now and probably some immediate photo editors in the future. For those of us who do serious editing, we dont even look at free online or downloadable crap like paint.net – I’ll hand over hundreds of dollars for the program I need.

Different versions for different people with different abilities – I dont think you guys are grasping that concept.

Anonymous Coward stated “…If you want to see what photoshop can do, hit the bay or check the usenet like everyone else that wants to give it a test spin. Or go get the edu version for $300.”

You are completely missing the point of this online version

However, I will side with most of you around the TOS and giving up rights to your photos. As Chris said, the license WILL keep real photographers from using it.

But then again, why would any of us who take photography seriously use anything but the packaged version?

MLS (profile) says:

It is interesting that Adobe has chosen to associate this online service with the name “Photoshop” because the online software bears virtually no resemblance, in either appearance or utility, to Adobe’s image editing software, namely, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and Lightroom.

Absent a major change to the software, I simply do not see how it can reasonably be assumed that the “online experience” may beneficially increase Adobe sales of its stand-alone products.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...