UK users pay a premium for Adobe CS5

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
Written by Martin Gaston, Contributor

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.

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