Adobe attacks Canva with freemium offer

Adobe on Monday unveiled its first comprehensive package of design software for non-professionals, directly targeting a booming market that has made Australian start-up Canva one of the world’s most valued private tech companies.

The service includes versions of widely used professional design tools such as the Photoshop image editor, the Illustrator graphics tool, and the Premier video editing service, behind a simpler interface that analysts say looked like striking in Canva.

The move follows a leap in the valuation of companies that have expanded the design software market with tools for non-expert users. Canva’s fundraiser in September valued it at $ 40 billion, more than double its estimated value five months earlier. Figma, which makes software for product designers and general business users, has seen its value quintuple in just over a year to reach $ 10 billion.

Adobe’s move is partly defensive, as it could be disrupted as Canva’s simple tool penetrates deeper into the business world, said Liz Miller, an analyst at consulting firm Constellation Research. Adobe’s new service, called Creative Cloud Express, is likely to appeal to many people in small and medium-sized businesses who might previously have been considered customers for Adobe’s more expensive software, but are happy to use simpler design tools with less functionality. , she said.

The new service marks the company’s first attempt to make a full set of design tools available through a web browser, making them more accessible and easier to use, said Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe. The new service was also designed from the ground up for non-experts “to help people overcome the potential fear of a blank page,” he added, allowing them to start tasks, for example, by uploading their own photos for editing or starting with a template.

The explosion of interest in design software for non-professionals echoes a larger shift in the software industry, as the tools used to design and code are repackaged for interested non-experts. improve their personal digital profiles.

Adobe has already “tinkered with” by making some of its design software available to consumers, including Photoshop, said Chris Ross, analyst at Gartner. A full package, accompanied by a simpler interface like Canva’s, was likely to have wide appeal, starting with kids working on school projects, he added: “

Adobe chief commercial officer David Wadhwani predicted that the market for non-professional design software would someday be as big as the professional market as more and more people sought to improve their image online for business reasons. “Individuals and Small Businesses Looking to Monetize Something – They Take to the Web and Social Media [networks] to build their brands, ”he said.

Selling design software better suited to small businesses could allow Adobe to gain a foothold and sell a wider range of software to support e-commerce, Miller said. “I don’t think this is a Canva killer,” she added. “At the end of the day, [Adobe’s] bread and butter is going to be paid for on premium accounts, ”making the company less interested in Canva’s core market, consumers and very small businesses.

A basic version of the new service would be available for free through app stores and its own website, Adobe said, with a premium version priced at $ 9.99 per month.

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