Last Call for CS4?
There are some applications that I just can't get excited about upgrading. My copy of Word, for example, is antediluvian, and yet it still provides all the functionality I need. Given that there are now open source and online alternatives, there's probably nothing Microsoft could do to induce me to upgrade, short of giving it away. I imagine I'm not the only one with this attitude. The situation is different, however, when it comes to graphics and publishing applications. Or is it?
A decade ago, a new release of Adobe Photoshop was a huge event in the graphics community. Each eagerly-awaited new version provided a quantum leap of compelling new functionality that made upgrading a no-brainer. This reached its apogee with the arrival of the Creative Suite, which marked such a fresh direction that adoption was massive. But then came CS2 and CS3 in what seemed to be rapid sucession.
All the applications in the Creative Suite, not just Photoshop, continued to develop significantly with each release. But as the cost of not just upgrading but learning to master the new functionality continued to climb, some began to drop the habit of jumping on each new release. After all, the applications were already so feature-packed—were the new capabilities really that essential? And who had the time to master all the subtleties of the new versions?
Then came the release of Creative Suite 4 in the midst of an economic downturn. As always, there's lots to like in the new version but is it a must-buy? Apparently for many users the answer has been no, since Adobe has been working harder than ever to convince its customers to upgrade. Notable has been a program to encourage those with earlier versions to make the move to CS4. Running until the end of last February, this reduced the cost of an upgrade for most of the Suites to $599. For me, this was enough to break the piggy bank and upgrade my copy of CS2 Design Premium, on the vary last day of the offer.
I felt pretty good about that until Adobe promptly extended the offer until the end of this April, which reminded me a bit too much of the perpetual, limited-time offers so beloved of late-night TV hucksters. Clearly, Adobe will do whatever it takes to boost adoption of CS4. So if you've been pondering the upgrade, you now have to decide whether to pull the trigger before the end of the month or wait and see if Adobe will further sweeten the pot.
For those who want to upgrade but are stymied by reluctant managers, Adobe recently commissioned a study to provide grounding for its claim that CS4 will pay for itself by increasing productivity. Hard times, indeed.