Adobe has announced that Adobe Creative Suite 6 will be the final release of Adobe CS, and that it will be the last version that can be purchased and owned outright.

Going forward, all new versions of Adobe apps will be available via Adobe’s Creative Cloud service, and they will be referred to as Adobe CC apps (Creative Cloud). Adobe CC apps are basically rented. Subscribers download and install apps via the internet, which check-in for a valid membership periodically.

Adobe Creative Cloud membership is available for individuals, teams (3-10 member organizations), and enterprises (larger organizations and education). Pricing varies, and is as high as $74.99 per month for new individual month-to-month memberships. Individuals who commit to an annual membership pay $49.99 per month, and Adobe CC for teams runs $39.99 a month for each team member. There is currently a discount for existing CS3 or later customers to join at a reduced price for the first 12 months.

All previously purchased versions of Adobe CS will continue to function, and Adobe has stated “We plan to sell Creative Suite 6 for use on supported platforms indefinitely”. In a nutshell this means you can buy Adobe CS6 instead of subscribing to Adobe CC for as long as you own a computer that supports it, but it’s inevitable that future computers and/or operating systems will not be compatible. Also, it should be noted that discounted upgrades from older versions of Adobe CS to CS6 are no longer available, and new features/improvements will only be added to Adobe CC apps going forward.

For more information, see http://www.adobe.com/cc/letter.html and http://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud/faq.html