Adobe alters course on InDesign update

After fielding user complaints, the company won't charge customers who purchased the original version of the page-layout application at full price

Adobe Systems announced on Friday that customers who paid the full $699 (£433) for InDesign 1.0 will be able to upgrade to version 1.5 for free. However, customers who purchased the software at its introductory price of $299 (£185) will still have to pay for the update.

The company first revealed its decision in a story that appeared in Friday's edition of the San Jose Mercury News. When it shipped the upgrade last Monday, Adobe announced that all InDesign 1.0 customers -- except those who purchased the software within the previous 30 days -- would have to pay the $99 (£61) upgrade price for the $699 software package. However, a barrage of complaints from angry customers spurred the company to reverse course. "We stay very tuned into those lists," Adobe president Chuck Geschke told the Mercury News. "It's not just someone down in our organisation."

The biggest complaint was Adobe's decision to charge for an update that included bug fixes to the original version. Adobe hadn't offered a free maintenance update before delivering version 1.5, which includes built-in trapping, text on a path, vertical justification tools and drawing tools borrowed from Adobe Illustrator.

Adobe first hinted it might change course on Wednesday, when product marketing director, Peter Kellogg-Smith, said that it was evaluating ways to address the complaints. At the time, however, he said it was unlikely that Adobe would release a free bug fix.

Kellogg-Smith also acknowledged on Wednesday that Adobe still has some "holes" to fill in the software, including its limited printer support. "That's something we really need to address (in version 2)," he said.

Adobe apparently won't be hurting too much from the lost revenue. On Thursday the company reported first-quarter earnings of $64.6m (£40m), or 51 cents (32p) a share, a 57 percent increase over the same quarter a year ago. Revenue rose 24 percent from last year to $282.2m (£174.9m).

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