Europeans benefit from Adobe customer exit

13 Feb

The malcontentment of many customers over Adobe’s new rental-only policy is well-documented. Many are looking at ways to turn their backs on the company. While Adobe Lightroom is currently still available as a perpetually licensed product, it’s unclear how long this will last, and many feel it’s better to leave Adobe’s clutches earlier rather than later. At the same time, Adobe scored a temporary stay of execution by providing the even unluckier customers left in the dust by Apple’s abandonment of its Aperture RAW processing software, with a way out. Adobe within weeks of the announcement provided an exporter that allowed customers to reasonably transfer their existing Aperture photo edit settings and catalogue data to Lightroom.

However, the long term strategy for many will be to leave, but what options are there? Several companies will be keen to jump into the gap left behind, chief among them British company Serif Europe, who make Photoshop competitor PhotoPlus for Windows and recently announced an open beta for the Mac equivalent, Affinity Photo. Serif offer a full platter of Adobe competitors, including the highly regarded PagePlus (DTP) and DrawPlus (vector graphics) as well as Affinity Designer (vector graphics) for Mac. If you prefer to have a Photoshop replacement with a uniform appearance across both platforms, look no further than German product PhotoLine. Whatever share of the Photoshop gap on the Mac side isn’t taken by the above two may well be mopped up by Pixelmator, a Lithuanian effort that continues to be a little less full-featured but very aggressively priced. There’s a Windows exclusive, too, in the shape of British-come-German effort Xara Photo & Graphic Designer – a program with about as long a history as Photoshop itself. But none of these offer compelling RAW editing capability.

So where does one turn for that? Well, the two major competitors that have been in continuous development for the last few years and can be considered reasonably up to date are DxO Optics and Capture One, the former from France and the latter from Denmark. Moreover, DxO also offers ViewPoint, a product that offers only the optical corrections that are the strong suit of the company, which allows integrating it into a workflow using another RAW editor or raster graphics editor.

The only major non-European outfit that could benefit from the Adobe escapees is old rival Corel, but while its renewed development effort in very recent times is showing great promise, there is a little bit of catch-up to do before its trio of AfterShot Pro, PaintShop Pro and Draw can bring back memories of their glory days. Meanwhile, the Europeans will be growing a healthy customer base for their unencumbered products.

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