Instead of innovating, Adobe proves that if it looks too good to be true it probably is…

This content is 12 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

Yesterday, I spotted tweets and blog posts suggesting that Adobe was giving away its CS2 and Acrobat 7 products (which date back to around 2005) for free.

My initial thoughts were:

  1. Surely not?
  2. What an innovative way to tackle piracy and competition!

If you’re confused by my thinking here, Adobe is under increasing pressure from piracy and from open source alternatives (e.g. GIMP instead of Photoshop). Giving away an older version of the software lacks some of the later bells and whistles, and might introduce issues on newer hardware and operating systems but brings people into the Adobe ecosystem from where, hopefully, they will upgrade/expand into other Adobe products.

Apparently not. It seems that Adobe has shut down the CS2 product activation servers, and made alternative arrangements for registered users (thanks to Tim Biller for that link).

Whilst software and serial numbers have both been (and continue to be) published on official Adobe servers, with no extra terms displayed regarding limitations of their use, Adobe are stating elsewhere that these keys are only for use by existing CS2 customers:

“Effective December 13, Adobe disabled the activation server for CS2 products and Acrobat 7 because of a technical glitch. These products were released over 7 years ago and do not run on many modern operating systems. But to ensure that any customers activating those old versions can continue to use their software, we issued a serial number directly to those customers.  While this might be interpreted as Adobe giving away software for free, we did it to help our customers.”

I applaud Adobe for thinking of its customers on legacy products but their good intentions do seem to have backfired a little. With this latest statement, instead of doing something truly innovative, it seems that Adobe has simply proved an old adage:

“If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”