The head of a US Photoshop user group has begged Adobe to delay its recently-introduced upgrade policy, which will force people using Creative Suite 4 apps or earlier versions to pay twice to upgrade to the upcoming Creative Suite 6 iterations of those apps.
Adobe said earlier this month that it was changing its upgrade policy for people using Creative Suite (CS) apps such as Photoshop and Illustrator, so that only those who already have the last major version can upgrade to the new version.
This means that those wishing to get an upgrade to CS6, due sometime in 2012, will have to already be on the CS5 or CS5.5 version. Those on earlier versions will have to upgrade to CS5.5 then upgrade a second time to CS6, paying both times.
"As president of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) I represent more than 70,000 Photoshop users around the world," Scott Kelby wrote on Monday. "However as I'm writing this open letter to you today, I would say that most of our 70,000 members have no idea about the upgrade policy changes you just announced, or about how these changes will affect them."
According to Kelby, Adobe's policy change "will leave a significant number of [its] customers with no affordable upgrade path to Photoshop CS6 or the Creative Suite", despite the fact that Adobe is currently offering a 20 percent discount on upgrades to CS5.5 products. He said affected customers will have to either upgrade twice, buy CS6 at full cost, or switch to the hosted Creative Cloud versions of the apps that were announced in October.
Kelby's main gripe was the timing of the upgrade policy change announcement, which he said was "patently unfair" because it came so far into the life-cycle of CS5/5.5. The mid-cycle CS5.5 was released in April, while the original CS5 came out a year before that.
"You didn't tell us up front. You didn't tell us until nearly the end of the product's life cycle, and now you're making us buy CS5.5 for just a few months on the chance that we might want to buy CS6 at a discount when it's released," Kelby wrote. "Otherwise, we have to pay the full price as if we were never Adobe customers at all."
Kelby added that Adobe was holding its customers hostage. "You're making us buy something we don't need now, just so we will still have the option to get something that we may want (CS6) when it is released without buying it all over again from scratch," he wrote. "You're playing hardball with your customers — either upgrade twice or you’re out. That's not the Adobe we know."
The NAPP chief pleaded with Adobe to start its new upgrade policy with CS7 and make it clear to people at the start of CS6's life-cycle that they will need to upgrade to CS6 in order to one day upgrade to CS7.
ZDNet UK has asked Adobe for comment on the open letter, but had received none at the time of writing.