Photoshop creator Thomas Knoll recently shared some interesting thoughts on engineering incentives under a subscription model to The Register:
“I was originally quite concerned about the pricing model, in particular for photographers using Photoshop,” he says. “When Photoshop came out in Creative Cloud, I don’t think enough attention was paid to the pricing model for a product aimed at photographers. I pushed pretty hard within Adobe to get the photography programme created which I’m actually very happy with now. You get Photoshop, Lightroom and Lightroom mobile all for a very low price. In the US it’s $10 a month.”
Knoll says that the subscription model has beneficial side-effects. “It changes the incentive structure for the engineering team and the marketing team. Under the old model, where you would sell upgrades every two years, a lot of effort had to be gone into getting ‘top five’ features that would demo well.”
“Now it changes the incentive from creating flashy features that demo well but may not be all that useful, to trying to keep our existing subscribers happy,” he added. “We have an incentive to provide new features very quickly, to ship them as they are ready.”
Future users of Photoshop are likely to make increasing use of cloud technology, for example to enable processor-intensive operations even on low-spec mobile devices, and such things only make sense with subscriptions that pay for the ongoing usage costs.