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If Adobe has wanted to build and retain a solid customer base for their new software developments, it has done everything wrong. Exorbitant prices, incessant pressure to use subscription-based software. And now, I find that Adobe has failed to provide a functional way for users of older versions of, say, Photoshop (CS2, CS3 era) to activate their legitimate, bought-and-paid-for software. Adobe has repeatedly thumbed its corporate nose at millions of once-loyal Adobe fans.
I just purchased a legitimate copy of Photoshop CS3, which turned out to be an upgrade version. So I purchased a full version of Adobe Creative Suite 2 to provide the necessary serial number. After trying to activate this version, I learn that Adobe has decommissioned their "aging activation servers" for CS2 and CS3. Hey Adobe, that's terrible loyalty to your customer base! Update your "aging servers"! Update your support software. That's what IT people do.
In my opinion, when Adobe decided to change the activation method to require online activation, it took on a duty to maintain the availability of the systems necessary to keep this activation method available.
After spending money on legitimate software that I find cannot be used because of Adobe's failure to provide a way for me to activate that software, I have given up on Adobe. I will do whatever I can to help my company avoid the use of, or need to purchase, any Adobe software, including Acrobat, one of the most overpriced bits of business software on the market.
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Playing devil's advocate here, perhaps Adobe don't consider people who are still running software they released 14 years ago among their "loyal customers". I do agree that turning off these servers then removing any replacement was reprehensible.
See my response below with regard to "loyal customers."
Since activation servers are essential to using their software, keeping activation servers running (cheaper than keeping live phone staff on the payroll) or substituting a functioning automatic phone activation sytem (Microsoft does this for Windows reinstalls) would go a long way to making Adobe a more customer friendly company.
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I can't imagine how you could have "just purchased" a legitimate version of CS2 or CS3, since neither Adobe nor its official resellers have sold either in more than a decade. More than likely, someone sold you a pirated version or something with malware embedded.
The activation servers for CS1-CS3 were turned off more than a year ago. Adobe kept them running as long as they could, but no company will continue to pour resources into maintaining products they've retired, especially when they're getting no money from doing so. It's like asking Microsoft to continue providing upgrades and patches to Windows 3.1 (and that's assuming you could get it to run on modern hardware).
Not every piece of software resold is "pirated". Often when people purchase newer versions to stay on Adobe's train, they resell their earlier versions. If the activation servers were still activatin', there would be no problem. No problem at all.
As a corporate IT person, I've purchased a lot of software, while also trying to keep those expenses down. I happen to own more current versions as well of Creative $uite and Acrobat. I love the CS software for what it does. I also need to stay in budget, so some simpler processes (eg. making employee photo IDs) don't need to be done using the latest software. That's where using older versions helps keep costs down by not having to buy multiple licenses.
Bottom line: Adobe could afford to keep activation servers running if they valued their customer service reputation across all user generations.
I didn't know you had bought secondhand software. In most cases we hear about here, it's software that is purportedly new but actually isn't, or was bought grey-market.
For secondhand software you would also need to transfer the license in order to use it legally. Since Adobe is no longer supporting 14-year-old software, you wouldn't have been able to do that. The seller certainly should have made you aware of this before selling it to you.
While I agree with you that it sucks that Adobe is no longer providing activation services for their old software, I don't necessarily agree that it is poor customer service that it doesn't. Your mileage (and mine) obviously varies.