Adobe’s $20 billion deal to buy Figma means the design community is watching the company’s every move with a careful eye, and a recent Twitter thread from Adobe’s chief product officer Scott Belsky makes it clear how challenging that can be — and also makes clear that Figma’s native cloud-editing features are the future Adobe’s really buying.
Halide developer Sebastiaan de With expressed his frustrations on Twitter about Adobe removing the macOS share sheet option from Photoshop directly at Belsky, asking “Could someone at Adobe please throttle the user-hostile cloud upselling that’s happening?”
Belsky responded saying that “retrofitting 30+ yr old legendary desktop products” to give them next-gen cloud features while preserving workflows is the hardest challenge he’s ever faced in his product career.
Since the release of Photoshop 23.3, Adobe has had users save their work as a cloud document before it can be directly shared with others from Photoshop — you can still save .psd files, but all the native sharing functions now work in the cloud. The company had previously disclosed the change in May, noting that the Quick Share feature would be removed due to “low usage, desire to simplify the options bar UI, and redundant functionality to other export functions.” Earlier versions of Photoshop on macOS had several options to share .psd files — including defaults like mail, Messages, and AirDrop — directly from the File menu or by clicking Apple’s Share button on the app’s options bar.
In the thread, Belsky said that cloud documents were necessary for sharing and collaboration, as well as bringing Photoshop to the web and the iPad, alongside unlocking new features for version control. Belsky also said that including shortcuts to other export options under the Share option would be discussed internally, and assured those accusing Adobe of upselling that “cloud features are included in the product at no additional cost.”
It’s true that Adobe Creative Cloud applications do come with some cloud storage included within the subscription price: a standalone Photoshop subscription comes with 100GB as standard, for example, although I pgrading that storage will cost you an additional $9.99 a month per terabyte.
But Figma is cloud-native from the jump, and buying a userbase that’s already paying monthly and building up from there — instead of trying to pivot the massive Photoshop audience — is certainly part of the appeal. The trick is not irritating both Figma and Creative Cloud users along the way.