Adobe Offers Simplified Software Licensing

Adobe Systems has announced details of new licensing models and online asset tracking that standardize licensing prices worldwide, let companies buy centrally and deploy globally, and extend licensing offers to smaller businesses.

The licensing models are "similar to those of other vendors, like Microsoft, selling to large enterprises," said Rob Enderle, an analyst at Giga Information Group (US).

Single-copy prices won't change, but prices will increase on some of the San Jose-based company's software licenses, depending on the licensing option and the number of licenses bought, said Robert Munne, Adobe's director of worldwide channel programs. In the software industry, users or companies buy licenses that allow them to use a software package, rather than purchasing the software outright.

For example, 1,000 copies of Photoshop 5.5 would have cost $US447.75 each under the old licensing program and now will cost $US524 each, Munne said.

A new option lets buyers combine different Adobe products for one total. So five copies of Photoshop and five of Illustrator, which would have cost $US5,040, now would cost $US4,795, he said.

Previously, licensing requirements as well as prices have varied from one country or region to the next, Munne said.

Adobe license buyers will be able to access online inventories of Adobe products they own to help manage their licenses. "The online versions will have all the information paper certificates now have," Munne said.

"This is similar to what other vendors offer. It will let [companies] aggregate their software and get some consistency" in software maintenance, Enderle said.

The three-volume licensing options available under the new program include the following:

Transactional licenses, aimed at small organizations. Companies can mix and match copies of different Adobe products to accumulate the minimum total to qualify for volume pricing, Munne said.

Contractual licenses, aimed at global companies. Companies can centrally buy and globally deploy licenses for Adobe products. The company has required companies to sign different licensing agreements in each country, Munne said.

Site licenses, aimed primarily at enterprises using Adobe Acrobat suite, offer the most aggressive pricing, Munne said. The price of some software could be as little as one-eighth the price of the shrink-wrapped version, he said.

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