Global software giant Adobe has defended recommending local prices for its new Creative Suite 4 software packages that could see Australians paying hundreds of dollars more in real terms than US residents for the same products.
The CS4 suite, slated to make it onto local shelves in October, represents Adobe's latest update to its flagship software packages, including Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Soundbooth and more. The software packages are widely used in Australia's creative industries.
The local price hikes, for example, will see Adobe recommending an "estimated sale price" for Photoshop CS4 of AU$1,249, with the extended edition of the software going for AU$1,799.
The US prices are US$699 and US$999, which convert to approximately AU$834 and AU$1,192 at current exchange rates, making it more attractive to buy the software from US-based resellers and then import it to Australia, or to simply download it online from Adobe's US software store.
Australians were also slugged with estimated prices close to 40 per cent more than those in the US for Adobe Acrobat 9 when it was released several months ago, although the issue was worse in the UK, where buyers expected to pay twice as much.
But Adobe's country manager of its Pacific region, Peter McAlpine, said the "estimated sale prices" didn't necessarily represent local street pricing as the software giant in Australia had a very strong focus on working with partners to distribute its products.
"Frankly you don't have a dog and bark as well. Really the best principles are, you don't compete head on with your reseller channel," he told ZDNet.com.au yesterday.
"What I'd encourage you to do is go and look at some of the plethora of websites out there where you can buy the Adobe software online in Australia," he added. "You'll find the price is more than competitive."
Customers can buy Adobe software locally through the company directly, but McAlpine said the aggressive channel pricing, with some partners bundling value-added services on to the software, would see the majority of business done through the channel rather than through Adobe directly.
The lowest retail price for Photoshop CS4 listed on staticice.com.au, which aggregates retail software and hardware prices from dozens of online retailers around Australia, was AU$1,095.05, from instantit.com.au. The extended edition could be had for AU$1,564.53 from the same retailer.
However, US prices were still cheaper than the local ones; US-based retailer Amazon.com today had Photoshop CS4 listed for US$689.99.
Mark-ups on software and hardware pricing has remained a long-term practice for international firms bringing technology products into Australia, as has timing, with most products making it to Australia a substantial period of time after they hit the US, Europe, and sometimes parts of Asia.
For example, despite US-based carrier T-mobile launching the Google Android-based G1 handset overnight, with Europe to get the device in early 2009, no Australian carrier or phone manufacturer could yesterday say when, if ever, Australians would be able to buy a handset based on the new mobile operating system.