Adobe defends CS4 pricing

Adobe defends CS4 pricing

Summary: Adobe has responded to criticism regarding the high international prices of its Creative Suite 4 software by saying that the difference was due to many factors, and particularly the "economies of scale of doingbusiness in the US".


Adobe has responded to criticism regarding the high international prices of its Creative Suite 4 (CS4) software by saying that the difference was due to many factors, and particularly the "economies of scale of doing business in the US".

Adobe CS4

(Credit: Adobe) sister site recently reported that the CS4 Master Collection flagship product will cost £2,313.58 in the UK, according to Adobe's pricelist, and just US$2,499, or £1,358, in the US: a saving of over £1,000. The price hike has also been felt by Australians.

Last year, the issue also also caused criticism at the launch of Creative Suite 3. approached Adobe for comment on its original report about the CS4 pricing discrepancy, but the company said it was unable to comment at that time. Late last week that comment was forthcoming, and the company explained the reasoning behind the high price in the UK.

Deciding on the pricing was "a challenge for us" said Dave Burkett, vice president, business operation, creative solutions at Adobe. "We really talk to our customers to get the pricing right," he said.

One factor was the relative "cost of doing business in the two countries", according to the executive: "We want to make sure that we are giving them the best products and at the right price."

There were two main factors, Burkett said. The first factor was "the cost of doing business in each country and in the US we get economies of scale", he said. "For example, there are many more resellers in the US than there are in the UK and in other countries." The cost of doing business varied, he said, and there was a significant difference in that cost "between say, London and Milan", he said.

Also, Adobe marketed its products directly to the customer, and Burkett said that, in the UK, the company was running the Creative Pro Expo in London over three days later in the month, together with major exhibitions and presentations of the new CS4 software at seven other venues in the UK and Ireland.

These were expensive to set up and organise, Burkett said. He also pointed out that CS4 was available in the UK "at exactly the same price as CS3 was and there are many more features in CS4", he said.

The second major factor, said Burkett, was that "there is a difference in the perceived value of the product" between different countries. "We reach out and try to find out what that value is and why," he said.

In addition, as part of the launch activities around CS4, Adobe was introducing some special prices on some of the individual Adobe products, said Burkett. Photoshop, for example, will lower its cost by £197 while the promotion lasts, which is until the end of March 2009, according to Adobe.

One point Adobe wanted to clear up was the actual price it was charging. The price of the flagship Master Collection was £1,969 excluding VAT (tax), and £2,313.58 including VAT, and not ex-VAT as originally indicated.

Topics: Software, Software Development, EU


Colin Barker is based in London and is Senior Reporter for ZDNet. He has been writing about the IT business for some 30-plus years. He still enjoys it.

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  • Adobe defends CS4 pricing

    I bought Lightroom 1 from the US website by giving an old US address of mine and paying by credit card. I downloaded the software. When I tried to do the same with the upgrade to Lightroom 2 I was rejected when I put the credit card number in.
    If volume is the differentiator why can't I download from the US server at the same price as US citizens. There is NO justification for the price differential when purchasing from the Web. I also think the size of the difference is unsupportable.
  • Adobe pricing

    Adobe have always been gougers on price. Find a student and get him to buy it for you on the education price...that's what everyone I know does. No one pays full pop on software these days. Or next time you go on holiday, buy it when you are there, or even get a US friend to buy it and then ship it over to you.