Adobe to Stop Selling Boxed Copies of its Creative Suite Software, Inc. Photoshop


Adobe is pushing hard towards cloud services and digital distribution. Its Creative Cloud software subscription service appears to be on a tear, with hundreds of thousands of subscribers paying monthly fees for always-updated software that traditionally came in boxes that carry hefty price tags.

Earlier this year, Adobe acquired portfolio service Behance in order to make the Creative Cloud more social, and now the company is making another bold move as it heads more and more toward the cloud: it will soon stop selling boxed copies of its Creative Suite software altogether.

Boxed copies of Photoshop will soon become a thing of the past

Boxed copies of Photoshop will soon become a thing of the past

Jackie Dove over at TechHive confirmed the company’s plans of making its programs available only through digital distribution or cloud subscription. Dove quotes an Adobe rep as saying,

As Adobe continues to focus on delivering world-class innovation through Creative Cloud and digital fulfillment, we will be phasing out shrink-wrapped, boxed versions of Creative Suite and Acrobat products. Electronic downloads for Creative Suite and Acrobat products will continue to be available—as they are today—from both, as well as reseller and retail partners. We are in the process of notifying our channel partners and customers, as plans solidify in each region.

The news was reported earlier by two Adobe resellers, Toolfarm and Softwaremedia, which point to May 1st, 2013 as the day on which boxed sets will no longer be produced.

"Sonny, let me tell you a s tory: when I was a kid, Adobe Photoshop came in boxes and on physical discs!"

“Sonny, let me tell you a s tory: when I was a kid, Adobe Photoshop came in boxes and on physical discs!”

As a part of the Creative Suite, Photoshop will be included in these digital-only plans, which will affect both Windows and Mac users.

As Internet connections become faster and more affordable, and as optical disc drives appear in fewer and fewer laptops, digital distribution appears to be the way the software industry is headed — even for software suites as heavy (in file size) as Adobe’s Creative Suite.

Image credits: Photo illustration based on Adobe Creative Sweet CS5 by pcfishhk and R.I.P _DDC0707 by Abode of Chaos, Box by Rob124, Software by tonyhall, Photoshop 3 by Oyvind Solstad

  • MarvinB7

    I don’t think this applies to Lightroom, yet, does it? If not, I wonder how long until it does. No biggie anyway. I already buy my software via digital.

  • bob cooley

    This isn’t going to work for enterprise-based solutions. If I work for a financial institution (and I do), there is no way they are going to open the firewall to a cloud-based version of the Adobe suite and risk the security issues.

  • Space Man

    I could not tell from the artical but does this mean that we will have to use there on-line creative sweet only or will there be a download for macs and pc

  • snapshot1

    You download it like any other program and then install, just like what you would do for Adobe demos. Then just like any other subscription based service, the software checks every once in awhile to make sure you’re account is up to date.

    This totally makes sense since even before the change to a monthly service option, I would guess most people downloaded Adobe products anyways for the last couple versions and then paid for them that way.

  • jkkwe773


  • Ungeek

    What happens if I am off-line, in the middle of some wilderness. Will the software continue to work? Will the programs continue to work if I cancel my subscription because I don’t need/want more updates?

  • Jason

    I may be wrong, but the way I’m reading it is that there will be cloud based software with constant updates that you download and pay monthly for *and also* non-cloud based software that you download and pay once for, then pay again in a year’s time or whenever for the next upgrade like you would have done with a boxed copy.

    If this is right, then for me at least, it’s business as usual as already I use the second option. I download my copies of Photoshop and Lightroom from the Adobe store instead of buying the physical media.

    I get what you mean about not opening firewalls. Having been in a few, I know it would be a hard sell to most IT departments.

  • Jersey


  • Ayden Gotzmer

    The question is, how will support handle the issues of lost digital copies of Photoshop/CS when a harddrive fails or a backup is unable to restore the program.

  • Joakim Bidebo

    You just download it again. Since you own the license to use the application either by automatic from Adobe or by a serial-key that you hopefully have saved.

  • Mansgame

    I still remember the Aldus Pagemaker, Wordperfect, and Windows boxes that our school had with their first Windows 3.0 machines. Back in those days, they had manuals too

  • John Snape

    As an instructor, I talked to (someone at Adobe) about the multiple times I’d go to someone’s house to teach them Photoshop or Premiere and they’d have a pirated copy on their machine. I suggested to him that moving to the cloud would eliminate so many thieves, but he poo-poohed it at the time (August 2012). The official line, at the time, was, “We will keep producing the boxed sets as long as it is profitable.” I guess they changed their minds.

  • BarkingGhost

    If this is still heavily pirated then maybe the ones doing the pirating is reflecting on how expensive the software is. Even M$ compromised on their basic Office package and allow the Student & teacher package be sold nationally for ~$100 for a three-license deal. I’m sure that impacts pirating.

  • eths

    Similar situation here – I work for a television production house, and there is no way our production networks will be opened to the internet.

  • cchdisqus

    technically (and as far as I understand), yes. If you were to download all your software that you desire, and then completely disconnect from the internet, you can still use that software. I use creative cloud at the moment and it does have that functionality. However, I haven’t cancelled my service so I can’t say I’m %100 sure on that second question. Though I would think, in theory, that would work.

  • bob cooley

    I need to amend my statement a little here, after I RTFA a little closer, not ALL installs will be cloud-based, They are just moving to a digital download model AND a cloud. So we can still have our offline versions of the software at retail price, or a subscription cloud model if desired.

  • Neoracer Xox

    Its a cloud based solution! *repeat*

  • Russ

    This will be a nightmare for colleges and universities. And make no mistake about it; this is based on pure greed by adobe to get you to pay for something and NEVER own it. Let’s face it, the last couple of Photoshop releases have been lackluster with few “Must have” features. I predict GIMP will become much more used in the future. Many users in rural communities still don’t have access to good, high speed internet. Crow all you want about “The Cloud” but it’s still just Vapor..

  • fotodogue

    When you purchase downloadable software from Adobe you create an account. Your account contains a link to download the software again and displays the serial number. If you lose your login information Abobe will send it to the registered email address.

  • Joakim Bidebo

    If someone have a crappy internet connection, then just download it once and take a backup of it, so they don’t have to re-download it when there computer crash.

    Most of my software I own is digital-copies, never seen a need to own a hard-copy of it. For me it’s been better to be able to download it. Have happen couple of times that the CD/DVD stopped working and this way I can always get the software again.

  • ruth gitto

    It’s obvious – Adobe is all about Adobe. This is a brilliant move on there part. Nothing but lots of profits going forward. If I could I would certainly buy their stock. But for a one-person operation with limited resources this is not great news.

  • Kurt Heumiller

    I am an instructor at night and a professional user during the day, I find that pirated copies are actually brings Adobe new clients. So many people start out with Photoshop/InDesign/Flash/Premiere/AfterEffects with a pirated copy and once they learn and start using it they buy a real copy. For most people Photoshop is not worth the cost to mess around as a hobby, but once they learn it, they start making money from it and then they worry about getting caught so then they buy it (or they end up working for a company that buys it). The pirated copy is the gateway drug.

  • Mark Alexander

    The only way they can do this successfully is if we, the costumers, go along with it, and use this new system they are trying to implement. We are the one who spend the money.If we don’t want it, they have to sell something else, or stop selling completely. I love how Adobe suit was. I love change, but not all change it good.

  • Richard Bennet

    Lets go against it! I support you!