I can fully understand that to earn more money, you need to have more cloud subscription users so Atlassian can have continuously incoming on the SaaS version of Confluence. But this does not mean all users will use the SaaS version.
Take myself as an example. I have my own server in my home, and installed a Starter version of Confluence. I am the only user of this confluence server. I spend a few hours to install Confluence in my own server, set-up GRE tunnel between my home and my AWS instance, set-up nginx on the AWS instance, and set-up integration with my existing SSO authentication platform.
You may think moving to cloud is a good reason to reduce those steps on deploying it. However it is impossible for me to move my instance to cloud due to following reasons:
1. For me, Confluence is my notebook. I'm a freelance security researcher and submit security vulnerabilities to my customers. This means tons of sensitive information about my customers exists in my Confluence. It is definitely impossible, not even considering, to move those data to some random server not controlled by myself. One of the most important reason I choose the server version is for the fully control of the data.
2. For customers like me, it is basically impossible to check if the Confluence Cloud can really protect my data well. By saying "check", I mean having actual evidence. GPG encryption is some form of evidence. A network traffic record showing my Confluence Server is not sending data to other server is some form of evidence. However, EULA is not evidence. Blog articles, FAQ or sections in the document claiming Confluence Cloud have some sort of encryption is not evidence. Even one single penetration report or information security certification is not evidence. The cloud version is not security for me.
3. The local server means I can touch the data and application directly, and add plugin without using the plugin market. This also means its integration with my local Elasticsearch engine is easier. Cloud version is completely useless at this point, while the Data Center version is only designed for large companies.
Even for Atlassian, leaving the Confluence Cloud as the only choice for most customers is not a good choice. There is some strong competitors with Confluence Cloud, including Microsoft Office 365 (with OneNote and SharePoint) and Google's G Suite. However, you can not find another product provides so many features and allow full control of your data like Confluence Server.
For me, if the decision is made and fixed, the only possible solution is: using current version of Confluence Server for another 10 or 20 years. I really do not want this to happen, so I really think you should considering take the decision back.