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Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen
Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen

Slowly but surely, Adobe’s Creative Cloud is gathering steam.

The company says the subscription-based replacement to its Creative Suite now has 700,000 subscribers, up from 479,000 in the first quarter of 2013. As Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen told CNet, that’s ahead of their expectations.

“The results overall say we’re ahead of where we thought we would be when started the move to the Creative Cloud,” he said. “If I look at the key goals we had of trying to move to the cloud, to be able to attract new customers, we’re certainly attracting new customers as a result of the affordable pricing.”

Whether or not the cloud holds the way forward is another question. The Creative Cloud service is divisive, to say the least. An individual subscription to the full Creative Cloud (which includes the products in CS6) costs $50 a month with a full-year commitment. An individual application like Photoshop or Flash costs $20 per month. That means even if you aren’t using Adobe’s products in a given month, you’re still paying for it.

In addition, it’s not possible to get files out of the cloud once your subscription has expired, though Adobe has said they are looking into changing that restriction in the future.

Those factors combined have left a sour taste in many users’ mouths. A CNet survey revealed that 76 percent of Creative Suite 6 users polled said they would not upgrade to Creative Cloud, and would instead remain on CS6.

Narayen has been trying to counteract that sentiment. In his interview with CNet, he stressed the advantages with moving to the cloud, citing an ability to push out improvements ahead of a traditional product cycle and leverage cloud computing to speed up certain tasks. In addition, Narayen said that a wide cross-section of Adobe’s customer base had made the jump from boxed product to subscription.

But even as customers revolt, Narayen says that the company doesn’t want to leave anyone behind.

“Every customer is a customer we want to make the journey with us,” he told CNet. “We will work hard to demonstrate why the innovation is the better accomplished through the Creative Cloud.”

According to Mashable, Narayen is optimistic about the Creative Cloud’s chances, saying: “A few years from now, people will say, ‘How could I even imagine a Photoshop that was not connected to the cloud?'”

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