Adobe PhotoscamAs somebody who fires up a rather elderly copy of Photoshop at least once a day, I’ve been looking forward to the release of the new version – CS3 – and possibly to upgrading my entire package of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. There are plenty of nice new features, and, importantly, the programs will now be native Intel binaries so I won’t be running them under emulation on my MacBook Pro. They’re great products.

However, Adobe packages have always been expensive, and this is really rather expensive – a copy of the full suite would set me back nearly £1500 even though I’m upgrading. Plus VAT. I really can’t justify that. Unfortunately, the package I bought came just before they started calling it ‘Creative Suite’ and so, even though I have all the apps, they’re treated as individual apps and I don’t get the ‘suite’ price for the upgrade.

So I started looking at alternatives – upgrading the individual apps rather than the whole suite, for example – and I can get most of what I need for rather less. But as I explored I discovered something sufficiently disconcerting that I didn’t quite believe it at first: upgrades in the US are half the price they are here in the UK. Sometimes even less. Now, we’re used to slight differential pricing here, but this is ridiculous.

Let me put it in perspective. If I want to buy a copy of CS3 Design Premium, I can just buy it here. Or I can go for a long weekend in New York next weekend, fly out on British Airways, stay three nights in a hotel on the upper west side, visit the Met, do a little shopping at Zabar’s, and come back with a copy of the software in my suitcase. The price would be about the same, and I’m an existing customer buying an upgrade, not even paying the full price!

Fortunately I go to the States quite a lot, so I’ll probably just buy a standalone upgrade to Photoshop while I’m over there. And Adobe, because of this daft policy, will fail to get quite a lot of my hard-earned cash. If only their business guys were as good as their software engineers.

See also this ZDnet report.

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They also don’t allow you to upgrade European-bought (at least Swedish-bought) software to US versions.

BTW, their spreadsheet over versions at (click on compare editions) is fascinating. It took us a while to figure out why you don’t get Photoshop with Design Premium….

They also donít allow you to upgrade European-bought (at least Swedish-bought) software to US versions

Ouch. Perhaps my cunning plan won\’t work… On the other hand, it\’s cheaper to buy a complete version in the states than an upgrade here, in some situations.

Check out the latest episode of Tips From The Top Floor for an interview with John Nack of Adobe where Chris asks about this issue.

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