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. icon
    Peter Blaise (profile), 28 Mar 2008 @ 9:39am

    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.

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