Australian CS5 pricing: Adobe responds


Delimiter invited Adobe to respond in a letter to the editor on the issue of the disparity in pricing between the US and Australia regarding its new Creative Suite 5.

Dear Editor,

You recently wrote about the launch of Adobe Creative Suite 5 (CS5), the biggest product release in Adobe’s history — spanning five suites, 15 applications, five services and approximately 85 million lines of code.

We are very proud of CS5, and believe it is going to add enormous value to our extensive customer community in Australia, New Zealand and globally, by broadening their ability to bring their creative concepts to a range of media and saving time and money through faster, easier execution. CS5 epitomises Adobe’s promise to revolutionise how the world engages with ideas and information.

In your article, you highlighted the area of pricing outside of US and why that pricing appears to differ between markets. We wanted to respond to this as Adobe takes seriously its commitment to making sure all customers, wherever they are, have access to Adobe’s tools as equitably as possible.

We establish our prices for Creative Suite products in US dollars, Australian dollars, Euros, Yen, and British Pounds on a regional basis using a consistent methodology which takes into consideration local market conditions, how we deliver and support our products in that market, and local market research.

Local market conditions significantly influence our pricing. These conditions include the costs of doing business in different regions. In Australia and New Zealand, as in many other countries outside North America, we conduct the majority of our business through our retail and licensing channels.

We depend on our retail partners in local markets to help us reach as many customers as possible, support those customers, and much more. In the Asia-Pacific region, we set prices in US and Australian dollars, and generally try to avoid price changes through the product lifecycle.

In fact, the pricing for CS5 offers good value for our customers in a number of areas:

  • It is now more cost-effective for customers to move from a suite, to the entire Master Collection – we have lowered the price of this by 20 percent
  • The full price for Design Standard is lower than for CS4
  • For existing suite customers, we have lowered upgrade prices by 5 percent
  • Special pricing is available for Acrobat Pro customers who wish to move to Creative Suite
  • We also continue to add astonishing innovation to our products, adding new value to the suite without increasing the pricing. For example, in CS5 we have added Flash Catalyst to CS5 Design Premium, Web Premium, Production Premium and Master Collection.

In addition, CS5 customers can enjoy five online services, free of charge for the first year. We believe these innovations, together with the value represented by the quantum leap product features now available in CS5, make it genuinely good value for those professionals who will be using it.

What Adobe delivers to creative professionals, is mission-critical software. Our products are priced appropriately for the value that is delivered, and to reflect the investment we make in research and development; as well as the cost of bringing the software to markets globally including Australia and New Zealand.

Kind regards,

Calum Russell
Group Marketing Manager, ANZ

Image credit: Adobe


  1. As always, the answer is provided by a gloss over merchant of a supreme kind. What a non answer to the high cost of their product in Australia compared to the US, what sort of business do they run, do they want piracy as this is one sure way of that happening, charge too much (more than the US) and the rest of the world will pirate the software…der…brains for hire Adobe, come get them. Imbeciles they are!

    • I do think in this case, Stuart, that Adobe has done a fair amount to respond to customer criticism of the issue — most companies wouldn’t go this far. But it still does not really excuse a $1500 markup for the same software in Australia compared with the US (on the Master Collection). Nothing, IMHO, can excuse that.

  2. So you are saying it is the channel’s fault there is such a large discrepancy?

    Seems to me Aussie buyers will simply bypass the local channel and get it via a $US site.

    • I think that’s basically what Adobe is saying, Gavin. You’re right, though — I have already heard from a number of Adobe customers who are planning to avoid the “Australia tax” and head overseas to source their copies of CS5 — and have done so in the past for previous versions of Creative Suite.

  3. I remember sending an email to Adobe 5 years ago querying a $1000 difference pricing (numbers have been rounded randomly for the purposes of writing this comment). I got the same BS response about regional costing, etc.

    The reality is that if I can buy the American version and save $2000 AUD, then I will. Adobe may do its best to restrict the ability to activate its software across regions (thus slipping back to the pre-digital era and splitting the world into discrete markets), but all that does is encourage people to crack their LEGITIMATELY PURCHASED software. There are plenty of stories on the web of license holders who have had to retroactively hack their paid-for software to be able to use it as it was intended.

    Am annoyed.

    • I agree Tom, it’s totally ridiculous that you can actually fly to the US, buy the software, and make it back to Australia probably still ahead (if you buy the Master Collection).

      People simply don’t buy boxed copies of software any more. FFS, even Microsoft has more comparable prices between the US and Australia than Adobe does — I can’t understand why they don’t get that there is a level of anger out there amongst their custmer base about this that they need to address.

  4. Well it does sort of explain it: “We establish our prices … on a regional basis using a consistent methodology which takes into consideration local market conditions”

    The local market conditions here is that it is acceptable to mark up software a fair amount, and so they’re going to milk it as much as then can.

    Unfair, but by no means uncommon.

  5. Renai, won’t an overseas buyer get slugged with import duties – a bit like anthony agius did when he brought back the ipads?

    Local market conditions are known only to Adobe – I have no idea what they are on about – the exchange rate is pretty strong, even if you set the rate at 80c it is still lower than the cost offered.

    Hopefully, the reason for the price difference is that Adobe are helping resellers by actually letting them make decent money…. instead of low margins.

  6. Once again a company trying to justify “because we can charge you what we want” These days the software is made overseas in the same factory (often china or asia) so the only cost difference is some local costs (small as shown in the original article. the rest is just how much they can rip off their customers without the customers not buying

  7. What a ridiculous answer. If I purchased this upgrade from Adobe Australia, I would be downloading the same file from the same server as if I purchased it for 70% less in the US.

    There is no additional shipping costs or the smokescreens that were previously used to justify the higher prices. This is a dwonload product.

    This is anti-competitive and restrictive trade that surely must verge on being illegal under Australian prices surveillance legislation.

    I would imagine genuine users would consider upgrading via pirated means rather than this extortion.

    I suspect only legal action would force Adobe to change their tune.

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