Photoshop Finally Goes Free

I spoke a little while ago about the growing number of free online photo editors and wondered how long it would take Adobe to step into the ring.

Well (via ArsTech), it looks like it took exactly this long:

“That’s right, a 100 percent free version of Photoshop is now available to anyone with a web browser and an Internet connection. The current plan is to polish the free product while in beta, and later incorporate additional features and storage on a subscription basis. Adobe is confident that Software as a Service is the future direction for software, and Photoshop Express is their maiden voyage to test the SaaS waters. The software requires only a web browser and the latest version of Flash 9 to run. It works on any platform, including Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux (a first for Photoshop), and with any browser that supports flash. Note: because of its reliance on Flash, Express is not compatible with iPhone or iPod touch. (Photoshop Pocket, anyone?)”

This isn’t really a surprising move but it does underline the challenges of the digital marketplace.  When Photoshop was the only legitimate game in town people just plunked down the cash and sucked it up.  Even the early online editors weren’t a serious threat since they just weren’t as good at Photoshop, even the lower-priced mini-version.

That changed when sites like Picnik and Picasa really got their game on.

Now that Adobe is on the scene it will be interesting to see how users react.  Photoshop is still the big name in this arena but lots of people migrated to these other sites while Adobe got their act in gear and might not be all that interested in returning.

Try it out for yourself here.

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