The CEO of Adobe made news recently by announcing that Adobe is to take Photoshop online…
If you’re like me you took a double take upon seeing this headline. Photoshop online?! This certainly seems like an odd approach and if you read this article in full you’ll even see that this model will impact Adobe’s new product Photoshop Lightroom.
I have an interesting perspective on this as by day I work as a web strategist and have been exposed to the marketing of software in the traditional manner and in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. For those that don’t know the SaaS model has been all the buzz since SalesForce.com successfully proved this business model was viable and profitable in the CRM industry. As of late there has been a huge push into this area by companies involved with enterprise software, desktop applications (Google), security (Symantec) and now Adobe with video and photo editing software. (Adobe Brings Video Editing Tools Online)
So what impact does this have for photographers?
Well for most it won’t have a huge impact and here is why.
Photoshop from Adobe’s perspective is not seen as photographers and designers see it… a stand alone industry defining application. As we’ve seen with the recent release of Lightroom, Photoshop is now being utilized more as a brand rather than an application. Lightroom transitioned in the beta from “Lightroom” to release as “Photoshop Lightroom”. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Photoshop will continue to be leveraged as a brand with a variety of sub-products falling underneath its umbrella. The SaaS model of Photoshop most certainly will be a very stripped down version for editing images for web based use… a stripped down version of Adobe Elements if you will to compete with online photo editing services provided through companies like Ofoto, Shutterbug, Snapfish, Smug Smug and other photo sharing services.
The prospect of uploading large Photoshop files to an online application would certainly spell doom for this initiative… or at least as I first interpreted it upon reading the headline “Adobe to take Photoshop online”.
There are two things I found most telling about this CNET article:
1. “The company intends to offer entirely hosted applications, as well as “hybrids,” in which Adobe uses the Web to introduce features to desktop products, such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom” – Bruce Chizen, Adobe CEO
2. “We recognize there is a customer there–we recognize they are not going to pay us, necessarily, directly. But we could use ad revenue as a model. Google has demonstrated that it works pretty well for certain types of applications,” – Bruce Chizen, Adobe CEO
The prospect of Adobe Lightroom having web based modules is both interesting and concerning. As for now its still unclear how Photoshop Lightroom fits into their new CS3 suite so wrapping ones head around this hint of the future is even more challenging. Will these modules be open source for third parties to leverage? Will they be soley Adobe driven? What functionality will these modules provide and at what cost?
The thought of Adobe jumping into the online advertising game seems to be an odd one to me. I do think they’ll be successful at it, but I wonder if they’ll be partnering with another established online advertising company or going it alone. Either way it seems like it would be a distraction from their core business.
All in all this makes for great discussion and its exciting to see these applications evolve. Who knows perhaps as internet bandwidth expands, is optimized and computers become quicker robust applications like Photoshop & Photoshop Lightroom will expand and become mainstream SaaS applications. Time will tell.
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