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: desktop software, freemium, online software, photoshop
Companies: adobe


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  1. identicon
    Reality Check, 27 Mar 2008 @ 8:33pm

    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...

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