Adobe steals your color

A SaaS on the mantel in Act I must go off by Act III.

Cory Doctorow
5 min readOct 28, 2022


A Pantone swatchbook; it slowly fades to grey, then to black.

When a company breaks a product you rely on — wrecking decades of work — it’s natural to feel fury. Companies know this, so they try to deflect your rage by blaming their suppliers. Sometimes, it’s suppliers who are at fault — but other times, there is plenty of blame to go around.

For example, when Apple deleted all the working VPNs from its Chinese App Store and backdoored its Chinese cloud servers, it blamed the Chinese government. But the Chinese state knew that Apple had locked its devices so that its Chinese customers couldn’t install third-party apps.

That meant that an order to remove working VPNs and apps that used offshore clouds from the App Store would lock Apple customers into Chinese state surveillance. The order to block privacy tools was a completely foreseeable consequence of Apple’s locked-down “ecosystem.”

In 2013, Adobe started to shift its customers to the cloud, replacing apps like Photoshop and Illustrator with “Software as a Service” (“SaaS”) versions that you would have to pay rent on, every month, month after month, forever. It’s not hard to understand why this was an attractive proposition for Adobe!