I understand the Cloud system and how they feel they need to combat piracy. I think if I worked at Adobe I'd probably be pissed that I was losing out on so much cash. It would be like if I made a game and it was be torrented out there to the world instead of being bought off me.
But as a person who's always had multiple copies of the Adobe suite, one at my company and a version at home for freelance, I'm pretty sure I won't pay for the subscription. I think it's fair that they offer the full suite on the cloud for a subscription. But I think their price point is way too high. They may not like the reality of it but for freelance designers, going from free to $50 a month is just too much of a jump. Those artists who are dependent on a pirated version don't make enough money to warrant paying that subscription. They'll find another way. And I think other companies will use this as an opportunity to steal away Adobe customers.
I think they would've received less of a backlash if they offered the master collection around $30. I think overall they'd make more money and get more of the pirated users on board if it were just a bit more reasonable.
Actually, the math ends up being cheaper than paying for a new CS suite every upgrade.
For the CS 6 master collection, it's 2600$ Canadian (mind you, this is what I'm going off of because I live in Alberta), or 50$ a month.
Now, looking from the past four years or so, I've seen two major upgrades for CS, from 4 to 5 (5.5), than to 6, but let's not include upgrade cost (which are covered by the subscription).
Now, for four years, 50$ a month is 2400$... 600$ a year, right? That's still cheaper than buying the CS Suite right now (it'll take four and a half years before the subscription starts costing more than the Creative Suite).
As a college grad trying to get started, 50$ a month is much more reasonable than 2600$ flat out, right? It's actually a much better deal if you include the fact that the next versions of the program are upgraded for free with subscription. I could pirate it, but rather than searching through a site for a cracked version, I could save time and effort just subscribing to Adobe, and not have any legal issues come up if I want to use it for commercial use. Not to mention I can get the suite for as long as I need it, stop subscribing when I have few projects to do (maybe I'm just setting up Wordpress sites, or coding CSS and HTML from scratch and don't need the Suite for a few months), and end up ultimately saving money (one of my instructors was thrilled that it was that cheap per month).
That being said, yeah, there are problems with the subscription module, but, cost wise, you can't say it cost more to pay monthly than it does to buy the Suite flat out (if you don't upgrade, you still get more value for your buck with the subscription module for four and a half years).
Personally I've been on CS 4 for the last few years, and I don't like the idea of needing to buy a new version (because I have a student licence), but I'd much rather pay 20/50$ a month to get the programs I'm using verses 550+$ for each program (or 2600$ for the full Suite).
Where it does start costing more is the situation the OP is in; Lightbox and Acrobat together cost about 600$, which, if you're not planning on upgrading for two editions, will end up costing more. Though Photoshop Extended is 1000$, you can get it alone for 20$ a month (which is only 240$ a year). One thing they could do to help balance the cost more is with programs like Lightroom and Acrobat, make it cheaper for them monthly (as they ARE the cheaper programs that will end up costing more over time).
I like the direction they've gone from a costwise standpoint (because for me, it works, as I use Photoshop, Flash, and Premier often, and those three programs alone cost about as much as the Suite), but I'm uncertain of the reliability of the subscription module if I'm unable to stay connected to the internet (if they'll copy Diable 3 and Sim City, for example, where you need to be online to even use the programs).
The fact that the only way to get Adobe products now is subscription based is a kick in the teeth; not everyone has the bandwidth (again, Canadian, I'm paying 40$ a month for 1mbps download speed, because I'm in rural area and can't get higher speeds) to download the programs and their upgrades every update. If I'm not able to connect to the internet for a month (say I move and am trying to find an ISP that can suit my needs, and not finding one at a reasonable cost), will the programs shut down after the pay period (or will they even open if I'm not online)? They should have a retail copy available for the public; there is no reason not to (having the subscription based system is a great way to combat pirates, IF it's not the only method of purchasing the programs. When it's not convenient anymore, it's a waste of effort). Because it's the standard for web development is the only reason why I'd pay for monthly an upgrade (currently I'm staying with CS 4 until I get enough hours to cover my living cost before I start trying to upgrade).
At least CS 6 is going to be available (though in six to ten years, who knows how that'll hold up). Maybe there will be more competition coming in the future, who knows? Until that time we're going to have to either get the latest version of the tools we need and never use Adobe again, or pay monthly; not the most ideal options (unless we as content creators decide to develop our own tools, which isn't out of the realm of possibility).
I don't disagree with anything you're saying. I just think there's a giant elephant in the room and no one's talking about it. But the truth is there's a lot of users who have been using pirated software their whole careers not to mention students and amateur artist who use it for fun. And they make up a big portion of Adobe product users. And as much as Adobe has cornered the market, they still don't want to lose that share of users. But I think going from paying nothing to $50 is just too big a jump and won't make these people go honest. They'll either continue to use old software or wait for other software makers to finally catch up to Adobe and make something more reasonable. That, or most likely, they'll wait for someone to figure out how to cheat this system and get on the cloud illegally.
Still, I imagine Adobe will ride this out in the long term. The world is going subscription/always online/cloud based that they'll wait for that to be the norm. I believe eventually, that it will be accepted that you have to pay to use this software and there'll be no way around it. But I also think less people will be using it and it'll become more of a tool for pro/semi-pro artists and not this all encompassing software that everyone uses for their digital or design needs.