Next version of Photoshop and Creative Suites will be Cloud Subscriptions ONLY
The current existing versions are apparently going to be the last versions of the Adobe Creative Suite and Photoshop software that are sold as individual products. The next versions will only be offered as cloud subscriptions. This Adobe announced as they also announced the next version of Photoshop, named "Photoshop CC", CC for Creative Cloud. The Photoshop CC will come out in June of this year.
The existing stand alone software will receive updates for bug fixes and such, but will not be receiving new features.
The current versions that are part of Creative Suite 6 continue to be available for purchase as one-time-purchase-fee software at Amazon and other places. But the next versions will only be available via Creative Cloud subscriptions.
Will This Create An Opening For A Competitor To Emerge?
For a number of people, the Creative Cloud and/or the Subscription Model may be a better option. But for others, the Creative Cloud may be too expensive and too inflexible for their needs.
So this perhaps may be as good of a time as any for another software package to emerge as a partial competitor to the Adobe juggernaut. Clearly none of the other companies have the resources and user base to take on Adobe directly in terms of both depth and breadth of features, but they just need to emerge as an AMD to an Intel, they don't have to overtake or outdo Adobe.
And that's one of the issues, it's not just the software, but the ecosystem. You can find buckets of books, and tutorials, and classes, and seminars and such for the Adobe ecosystem. The alternatives have nowhere near as much.
Expired as of 5/9/13 recheck:
On the commercial front, for the price of a single month of Creative Cloud you can get the ACDSee Pro 6 flagship software for $40 when you remove the optional services from the shopping cart.
For not a lot more, for just $60, you can get the Bibble team created Corel AfterShot Pro Full.
That's just the tip of the iceberg. The range of options varies, depending on what type of features, workflow, integration, ecosystem you want to use. A fairly detailed list of alternatives, broken down as commercial, freeware and free/open-source is maintained at Wikipedia.
Can any of these rise to the occasion and emerge as an "AMD"?
The upcoming Photoshop CC (June 2013)
Adobe is teasing new features to become available in the June update of the Photoshop Creative Cloud at the Photoshop blog. A couple of short overview Adobe videos are YouTube-embedded below...