I have a PC and it has CS4 Design Premium (updgraded over many years from AI9 and Photoshop6). I want to get a MAC so I would want to do the Creative Cloud cross-platform license. Let's say at the end of the year contract, I don't want to do the Cloud anymore. Will I get to keep all my downloaded applications at the latest and greatest at time of contract end? What happens in that situation?
From the Creative Cloud FAQ: http://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud/faq.html
If I decide to stop my membership, will I still be able to use my Creative Suite software and the other components of Creative Cloud?
When you cancel a month-to-month or annual membership purchased directly from Adobe or let a 3- or 12-month prepaid membership purchased from a retailer expire, you will no longer have access to the CS applications, other desktop software, and services that are components of Creative Cloud. However, if you saved your work to your computer, you will continue to have access to those files. You will also have access to the same benefits as a free Creative Cloud member, which include 2GB of storage space (reduced from 20GB), the ability to sync and store your files, access to a free 30-day trial of the desktop software that has not already been installed and provisioned as part of your paid membership, and access to the free level of services included with Creative Cloud.
And if you stop the Cloud, you only lose access to the Cloud apps (CS6 onwards).
Your previously purchased CS4 will keep working on the PC.
But if your Mac only ever has Cloud apps installed then you'll lose access to all Adobe software on the Mac.
It's a rather draconian all-or-nothing exit policy from the Cloud at the moment. The only party which benefits is Adobe.
You can only ever lease the software for monthly payments. There's no lease-to-buy option or time period of membership which qualifies you to own it.
Many users have requested a more lenient exit policy e.g. pay a residual amount to keep access to whatever Cloud apps are current when you stop membership but nothing has come of those suggestions to date.