Social media lit up on Wednesday with links to the Adobe website where users are able to download all of Adobe Creative Suite CS2 for free. CS2 may be from 2006, but even these older versions compare well with the free and cheap alternatives on the market at the moment, and with many of these tools being the “industry standard”, it is never a bad thing to get comfortable with them.
But why would Adobe give away these tools? From a marketing perspective I have always wondered why more companies don;t give away older versions of their software for free in order to steal marketshare from their competitors and hopefully get young people and students to start using their software – people which they then may be able to convert into customers at a later date. It’s an interesting model, and one I actually pitched to Emagic when they sold their Logic music studio to Apple, making their Windows version obsolete.
For Adobe’s flagship software, Photoshop, there are numerous decent alternatives that have become popular over the years because they are free such as the open source GIMP and Paint.Net – but they either lack some of the advanced tools that Photoshop offers (Paint.Net) or can be a little tricky to install and use (GIMP). The most important factor in their popularity, however, is their price – and they are very popular pieces of software which open people’s eyes to what is available outside of the Adobe ecosystem which is prohibitively expensive even with a student discount for many people.
If Adobe wants to make sure its tools remain the industry standard, they need to make sure that they are the best available, which they do a pretty good job of, and that young people and students are familiar with them. Before broadband internet when you had to buy most software on disk then Adobe could have the prime real estate on the shelf, but without a free option online, they may be losing market-share to the free alternatives. Putting an older version online for free gives them this virtual real estate online, and that is worth a fair amount of money.#
Adobe is currently claiming that the CS2 downloads with serial numbers that they posted to their website are really just there to help out current CS2 users as they recently turned of the CS2 licensing servers. But as they are there to download without any disclaimer and without even the need to login to an Adobe account, this looks far more like them offering the downloads to the world for free to steal market-share from their competitors, but without admitting the fact so as to avoid any claims of anti-competitive practice. Clever.
You can download the Adobe Creative Suite CS2 now directly from Adobe, which includes for Windows (and PowerPC Mac): Acrobat Pro 8, Audition 3, GoLive CS2, Illustrator CS2, InCopy CS2, InDesign CS2, Photoshop CS2, Photoshop Elements 5, Premiere Pro 2.