I'm sure (with tongue firmly in cheek) that Scott and company actually have to pay for their software from Adobe. They are a great asset for Adobe in generating sales and to that end I would be saying to them, give me free units. I think that Scott has made the letter sound just tough enough to appease his membership but somehow I feel that the boys over at NAPP relish a new release of Photoshop. It means updated courses, new books, DVD's, etc. I would not be surprised to see an uptick in NAPP memberships around the time of a new release so that people have a resource to understand the functions. NAPP is just another company benefiting from the production of Adobe products. They are not a true user association that represents its members, imo. Its all about the cash and I am sure that they are doing quite well. Is there really a voice for the user community out there that does not have a vested interest in seeing new releases.
The one thing that really worries me about this whole thing is that there is no pressure on Adobe to actually perform and put out a product that is worth upgrading to. If we have to upgrade what is stopping them from producing new releases more often with less in them. I have to wonder how the meetings went when this change was being discussed, was there a voice there for the hobbyist and casual users. I'm not happy about this but I will do it as it is a tax write-off for me. I have a feeling that they are more about targeting the corporate sales than worrying about what may happen to the hobbyist market. It would be nice to see a break down of what the sales are by percentage into real companies versus the casual users. You make the changes that are going to return you the most and simply manage the casualties along the way.
This could be a good thing for the makers of packages of PSP, GIMP, etc. Maybe there will be a mass exodus to some of the more affordable options but somehow I doubt that. Simply because the new version has come out does not make all previous versions obsolete. If CS4 does the job for you today it will still do it tomorrow. The only real downside is ACR. A new camera comes on the market and from past history we know that Adobe is not going to provide ACR compatibility inside of older versions of Photoshop. Perhaps they could extend that as an olive branch. There is no shortage of alternate way to deal with your RAW files though right down to the free method of using DNG supplied by Adobe. I have to wonder if they have some sort of bombshell in the wings for the users of Lightroom. Could there be changes in the making on the upgrade policies for it.
I have always felt that Lightroom was a good idea but they went too far offering too much common functionality with Photoshop. You read various forums and you will see lots of photographers that use only Lightroom and if they need a Photoshop product are electing to go with Elements. In a nutshell, imo, they have made Lightroom too similar to Photoshop in certain areas. I feel the real power in Lightroom is in its database and that functionality is not going to change all that often. Even at that there are many great alternates.
Only time will tell how this is all going to wash out. I would expect to see some changes in this policy if they want to be seen as a compassionate corporation in tough times. Companies have to be profitable but the way shareholder value is handled they always have to be better than the year before. Having worked middle management in a company that had some 45,000 employees this was always a concern. How to do better than last year with the same or less resources. So you sit around and see how you can suck any amount of money from its most frequent customers which is the corporate sales.