Adobe Creative Cloud for SMBs launches in India

Adobe Systems intends to target India's small and midsize businesses, which would prefer a more cost-effective access to the vendor's otherwise costly software.
Written by Abhishek Baxi, Contributor

Adobe Systems has launched its Adobe Creative Cloud for India's small and midsized businesses (SMBs), with the enterprise edition to follow in the next few months.

Released last Friday, the Adobe Creative Cloud is a membership-based service that provides users with unlimited access to all Creative Suite desktop applications, plus other applications including Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Adobe Muse, Adobe Edge, Adobe Acrobat.

The service is, of course, a radical new way in which Adobe would offer its industry-leading tools and services. It is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) shift that another software vendor, Microsoft, went through recently with its Office 365 product.

Adobe Creative Cloud was launched in six markets in May last year and had successfully garnered over a million users as of end-2012.

Subscribers will get access to Adobe's latest products, services, features and workflows as soon as they are available. This model enables members to automatically receive updates without having to wait months for the next product release cycle. With Adobe Creative Cloud membership, users also have access to publishing services to deliver apps and Web sites, cloud storage, and the ability to sync to any device.

Adobe Creative Cloud and its subscription model should entice more SMBs to purchase the official software, instead of relying on pirated ones.

Speaking at the India launch, Umang Bedi, managing director for South Asia at Adobe, said that since its release in the U.S. in April 2012, the creative sector has responded enthusiastically.

"Our goal is to now make Creative Cloud the ultimate hub for creative professionals in India, where they can access the world's best tools and store and collaborate across their workplace and, ultimately, showcase their creations. We are excited by the immense potential this holds for a country like India."

"With the easy availability of our products through the Creative Cloud and the attractive price points, we do see a significant impact on the piracy rate of our products," Umang noted when quizzed in a separate interview before the launch.

I also spoke to the CEO of a Delhi-based Web development studio, who on condition of anonymity, confessed using pirated Adobe tools in his company.

"Adobe Creative Cloud would definitely get my money. I can now pay off monthly subscription instead of the humongous cost upfront for multiple licenses," he shared.

I reckon Adobe's focus on SMBs with this launch and attractive pricing would definitely help it to convert many such customers.

At the moment, Adobe has launched Creative Cloud for Teams (CCT), where each user gets 100 gigabyte (GB) of cloud storage. While the service is available via Adobe resellers currently, it would also be available through the Adobe Store in the next few weeks.

Adobe Creative Cloud for Teams is tailored for SMBs as it offers all the features in Creative Cloud, plus administrative tools, increased storage capacity, and expert services. It includes tools for easy management of virtual workgroups, expert support services, centralized administration and billing, and efficient license management. The service allows access to both Mac OS and Windows versions of the desktop applications, and the ability to install them on your primary computer and one backup computer. It also integrates with Adobe's tablet applications like Photoshop Touch.

The offering is available at approximately INR 48,480 (US$894.35) per user for a one-year plan through Adobe's network of resellers. However, customers can subscribe at the special introductory price of INR 34,620 (US$638.66) per user for a one-year plan till April 30, 2013.

Sanchit Vir Gogia, principal analyst at IDC India, said: "Adobe's Creative Cloud brings with it great promises for the Indian market, where the product has traditionally been positioned as a premium offering. With its subscription-based pricing model, Creative Cloud brings down the total cost of ownership for creative professionals and organizations substantially.

"It also takes away the headache from organizations who want to stay updated to current versions of creative tools and leverage product innovation as and when they are introduced. Both these factors will likely change the dynamics in favor of Adobe India in time to come, as it positions the offering for mass adoption."

Creative Cloud for Individuals with 20GB storage would also be available via the online store in the same timeframe, while the Creative Cloud for Enterprise would be available in the second half of the year globally, including India.

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