Adobe Perpetual License vs Subscription: Why Make the Switch

April 14, 2022

I’m a big fan of Adobe products. I’ve been using them for years, and they just keep getting better and better. But lately, I’ve been wondering about the different types of licenses the company offers: Adobe perpetual license vs subscription. Which one is right for you?

Adobe Perpetual License vs Subscription

Adobe offers two ways to buy its Creative Cloud software: Adobe perpetual license vs subscription.

The main difference between subscription and perpetual licenses is that with subscriptions, you get access to the latest versions, while with perpetual, you own the software for life.

The other main difference is price: a subscription is typically cheaper than buying a perpetual license outright.

Software as a Subscription, Not as a Service

According to the 2016 forecast by Gartner, the worldwide market for Software as a Service (SaaS) is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.5%.

Global SaaS spending grew from $13.5 billion in 2011 to $32.8 billion in 2016.

The market for customer relationship management (CRM) software also grew to $9 billion in 2016, at a 16.3% CAGR.

The fastest-growing segments of SaaS are office suites (49.1%), digital content creation (34%), business intelligence apps (27.4%), and enterprise content management (25.9%).

Within the world of software, there are different types of services being offered. While many of these do resemble a pure form of SaaS, others are considered hybrid solutions.

SaaS is defined as a type of software that is typically accessed online through your web browser. The software itself is hosted by a vendor or service provider over the Internet.

Most commonly, software as a service (SaaS) is offered through subscription plans.

The subscription model is one where users pay a monthly fee to use the program instead of buying a perpetual license upfront.

A monthly subscription plan is just a way to pay for your access to a certain piece of software, but it differs from a licensing and delivery method.

Some software developers have switched from selling their programs as a one-time purchase to offering subscriptions. However, the software must still be installed locally and is not hosted online. Therefore, the “S” in “SaaS” should actually be “Software as a Subscription” and not “Software as a Service.”

SaaS Subscription vs Perpetual License

The main difference between SaaS subscriptions and a perpetual license is that with a subscription service, customers pay a monthly fee for software access, whereas with a permanent one, they pay a one-time fee.

With a SaaS subscription, customers are charged a recurring fee to maintain access to the product. This allows them to stay up-to-date with software updates and receive customer support.

If customers stop paying their subscription, they will no longer have access to the product. They will also lose access to any ongoing support or software updates.

With a perpetual licensing model, customers can purchase a license for a product and access it forever. But, they will not receive software updates or support after a certain amount of time.

Now let’s take a closer look at the differences between these models.

The subscription-based licensing model is becoming increasingly popular among businesses. This type of pricing can be beneficial for both the customer and the company.

It lets consumers get access to the software they couldn’t afford before, and it allows businesses to focus their resources on developing better products.

Before we go into why subscriptions are becoming more popular, let’s first define what “perpetual” and “subscription” mean.

The Software Subscription Model

With the software subscription model, companies charge their customers a monthly fee or a yearly fee to access their software applications. This cost is significantly lower than the one-time cost of a perpetual license agreement and opens up your applications to more potential customers.

On the other hand, if your customers subscribe for a long time, the revenue you get from them will be more than you would get from a perpetual license. When their subscriptions end, their access will be cut off.

Essentially, customers pay for continual product development, and ongoing support and customer service.

The Perpetual License Model

In the early days of computer software, there was no good way to handle subscriptions, so the software was sold for a one-time fee or a perpetual license.

After paying an initial fee, customers will have unlimited access to the software program.

To keep revenue from dropping, the vendor has to continually release newer versions of their software products. This prompts existing customers to purchase upgrades, effectively selling them the same product again.

Some software companies still sell their products under the traditional, or “perpetual”, licensing method. For some, this is the best option.


There’s no easy answer when it comes to choosing between an Adobe perpetual license vs subscription. It depends on your needs and budget. If you need the latest features and can afford the monthly price, then a subscription might be right for you. But if you’re happy with an older version of Adobe software or want to save some money, then a perpetual license could be the way to go.

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