It's not really a secret that Adobe software packages have been massively pirated over the past few years. The master collection is CS4, 5 & 6 being the easiest to get your hands on.
The issue was that it was very easy to get a copy and then block it from validating with Adobe to make it appear as being a genuine copy. The main reason people pirated the Adobe master collection was because it was far too expensive for the average person with prices starting at £1,750+.
Although a lot of companies did pay for this, a lot of individuals didn't. Having said this, Forever 21 this week is reported to be being sued by Adobe for using illegal copies of its software.
Adobe had to find away to tackle this huge issue. They couldn't bring down the price of the master collection because it has everything they offer and people can keep it forever.
Their solution was the path that a lot of businesses are going down. They opted for the subscription business model. This means that users pay a smaller monthly fee for access to their products. This service is known as Adobe Creative Cloud (CC). This new package gives you access to all the software you need and even gives the ability for automatic updates. This gets around the issue of buying CS5 then it being outdated with the release of CS6. Each CC account allows you to have 2 installations, which is perfect if you have it at your office and then can have it at home if you need it.
Although CC might seem expensive at about £50 per month. It is a bargain compared to the overall cost to by software that wouldn't receive full version updates.
This concept of using subscription for basically on demand access is being adapted by many businesses. This is mainly because the way we live our lives and how we just want access to something when we need for how ever long we need it.