UK users pay a premium for Adobe CS5

UK users pay a premium for Adobe CS5

Summary: British buyers will have to pay an extra £604 compared with the US price for access to Adobe's new Creative Suite 5 Master Collection

TOPICS: IT Employment

British buyers will have to pay a premium over US prices for Creative Suite 5, the update to Adobe's popular content creation software that was unveiled on Monday.

The updated software, expected to ship by mid-May, includes new features such as content-aware fill in Photoshop, embryonic HTML 5 support in Dreamweaver, a brand-new Flash Catalyst app for prototyping interactive content without writing code, and a new GPU-accelerated playback engine in Premiere Pro.

However, as with past releases, UK prices are higher than those in the US, if the dollar prices are converted into pounds. For example, the flagship CS5 Master Collection will cost £2,303 excluding VAT in the UK, according to Adobe's pre-order site. That compares with $2,599 excluding sales tax in the US, or £1,699 at today's exchange rate — a £604 premium.

Adobe defended its pricing structure, attributing the difference to the complexities of the European market.

"The cost of doing business in UK and Europe is significantly higher per unit of revenue earned than it is in North America," David Gingell, Adobe's senior marketing manager for EMEA, told ZDNet UK. "For example, in a large homogenous market like North America, we can achieve certain economies of scale that affect pricing. In the European Union, by contrast, we must support two major currencies, diverse regional market situations and 15 languages, all of which results in higher costs."

User response has included criticism of the approach. Neil Bradley, a web designer and photographer based in North Lincolnshire, said in a post on Twitter that the company was using the "same extortionate pricing for Adobe CS5 products" as in the past.

In a follow-up email to ZDNet UK, Bradley noted that the price point deterred businesses from migrating to later software. "Many agencies are still on older versions of the software because they saw no added value in upgrading from, say, CS3," he said.

The price premium for Adobe Creative Suite has become a regular occurence for users in the UK. The company revealed similar pricing structures in 2008 with the launch of CS4 and in 2007 with CS3.

Last year, CS4 Master Collection was launched for £1,969 excluding VAT in the UK, compared with $2,499 excluding sales tax for the US version.

The pricing difference is similar for other products in the CS5 collection. Adobe is taking pre-orders for Creative Suite 5 Design Premium at $1,899 excluding sales tax on its US store and £1,509 excluding VAT in the UK — a difference of £268.

CS5 Master Collection includes native 64-bit versions of Photoshop, Premiere Pro and After Effects, the new Nvidia GPU-accelerated Adobe Mercury Playback Engine to speed up Premiere Pro, and support for Drupal, Joomla and WordPress in Dreamweaver.

Adobe is also launching CS Live, a set of five online services to help users manage their workflow. These services will be complimentary for 12 months when a CS5 product is registered before 30 April 2011.

Adobe CS5 pricing comparison

Difference between US and UK prices, converted at £1 to $1.53.

Topic: IT Employment

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  • I have just had a conversation on this subject with an Adobe Sales Representative online. I enquired why the price was so much more in the UK versus the US and was told it was because of VAT. Of course it isn't because, as demonstrated in this article, taking VAT out of the equation still means that UK customers pay more. When I pointed this out to the representative, his response was 'I understand your concerns. Would you like to upgrade online now.' Although this is very annoying, if I do upgrade to CS5, I won't feel the sting as much as others because I'm VAT registered and can claim it back. However, this won't be the case in the future as I'm immigrating to the US. I explained all of this to Adobe's sales representative and asked if I could switch my UK licence to a US licence either on this upgrade or in the future. The answer was "no". Basically, not only am I forced to pay a higher price for my upgrade now, this will be for a product I cannot upgrade again in the future. When Adobe releases the next version, I will have to buy the product from scratch in the US. Either that or I will be forced to purchase a UK upgrade at a higher base price, without the benefit of reclaiming VAT, and import an Adobe licence from a foreign country (which is against their licencing agreement I believe?). In this global economy, I find it hard to believe that a Company with as high a profile as Adobe trades in this manner. I also cannot understand why OFT isn't investigating this kind of extortion of UK consumers. Will this stop me purchasing the upgrade? Possibly - my creations would really benefit from the additional tools available in CS5, but if I do upgrade I will also be creating more financial outlay for myself in the future. I was, in fact, considering the Creative Suite 5 Master Collection - that is now firmly off the agenda! I have been in the business for 10 years and purchased countless Adobe licences over that period for myself and for people who've worked in my Company. As a loyal customer, Adobe's policy on these issues has left me feeling angry - if there was an alternative out there, I would switch. Perhaps that's why Adobe do it - they know there's no alternative.
  • Typical, rip off Britain once again!
    Everybody just stop buying the product until the price parity is the same.
  • Adobe has become bloated just like its software. And as such they have become very greedy. I've been at companies that are heavily invested in Adobe products, and the licensing is a nightmare, as well as very expensive. I used to also use Adobe products myself, but keeping up to the latest version started to get VERY expensive. Since then I've completely migrated over to open source products. Adobe products are very niche, so depending on what you are using them for, you may not be able to find alternatives that do everything you want. But for the basics, open source software is out there and is very good.
  • I agree with newmediachoice - i've been using Adobe apps for New Media development for so long I have little choice - however with the price differential being so large now, instead of paying the £608 premium i think I might just pay for a flight to New York and buy it over there - I'll earn myself some airmiles, have a nice couple of days holiday and come back with the same product - albeit i'd have probably paid the same money in the end, but at least I got a free holiday! - hell i could probably even claim back the flights on the company...

  • When you have no competition you can do whatever you like. Just like Microsoft.
  • "diverse regional market situations and 15 languages" - How come so many Adobe apps only have a choice of US English?
  • Sorry, but Microsoft is a good fellow when compared to Adobe's pricing policy in EU.
  • Also, I produced a high profile Flash product. I produced it for a high profile client ( CL ) who hammered down my price. I produced it with Free Adobe software provided by Adobe to the CL because CL is high profile. I have to buy my own software despite being a small self employed one-person-band. So I buy the software, I produce the groundbreaking work, but the company who hires me gets it sent from Adobe for free and takes all the respect for my work - how is this fair?
    On top of all that I have to pay a UK rip off price.

    Bundlebox gives you a US address - maybe worth a try.
  • If the price difference were about tax and extra work for different languages they would have no problem with letting us fly to America to buy it, but all their software is region locked.

    Just want a breakdown of their "extra costs".

    "we must support two major currencies": What does this mean? Does it mean they have to keep up to date with exchange rates that rarely change dramatically?

    "diverse regional market situations": This only matters when you're making physical goods. There's no reason why a downloadable version should cost £800 extra because the bandwidth costs the same across Europe.

    "15 languages". Adobe gives us no British English option, so no extra cost there, and I doubt it costs millions to translate to 15 different languages.
  • One of the main reasons Adobe charge customers outside the US more for their software, is because they think they can get away with it. They know that as much as some of us grumble, most of us think there is little we can do about it.

    In the 21st century it makes no sense that I can't download Adobe product for the same price as their customers in the US and while individually there probably isn't much I can do, I wonder if collectively we could organise ourselves to get Adobe to take notice of us?

    For this reason there is a new Google Groups email list at the idea behind the group is to discuss ways to get Adobes attention and ultimately change what is an antiquated pricing policy.

    If there are enough of us we may be able to use our numbers to get Adobe's attention by organising disruptive events such as calling Adobe support or sending an email to complain, although this would need a large number of us to be effective.

    If you think paying more for Adobe Software because you're not living in the US is grossly unfair in a globalised world, please consider joining our group.