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Adobe Continues to Respond to CS3 Pricing Complaints

We’ve heard from a number of people since CS3 shipped that they are disappointed with how Adobe has priced InDesign and the Creative Suite 3 outside the USA. We continue to monitor this, and hope that Adobe will shift its views and charge prices more in line with what other software companies charge. In the meantime, I found this article at (as well as the links that follow it) interesting.

The article refers to Danielle Libine’s petition to reduce the cost. Plus, Adobe’s Dave Burkett points out some reasons for the pricing, including that much of their decision is based on what they believe the market will pay.

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

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  • - November 30, -0001
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32 Comments on “Adobe Continues to Respond to CS3 Pricing Complaints

  1. “In the EU, CS3 comes in 14 languages.” (From the linked article.)

    This has to stop :-) I can see that Adobe has to charge a higher price if I wanted the localized version of the software – but I don’t. I much prefer the original version since it facilitates communication with other users (on this site e.g.) When I’m stuck at some “obscure feature” and want to google for information, it’s a real pain not to know what is the English menu command.

    Thus, let me download the US version! After all, it’s a global market, and the price ought to reflect that.

  2. IMHO, the price for the upgrade from CS2.3 to CS3 is more than justified with the many wonderful advanced features I will be able to use in InDesign, Illustrator, PhotoShop. The time savings alone in having the ability to have table styles will more than pay for itself in a month or two! Plus being able to import native InDesign files into InDesign … the time I will save!

    Everybody wants something for nothing these days, and I’m one of them I’ll admit it … but this is one upgrade I am happy to be paying full price for!

  3. Suprisingly the price difference is largest for upgrades of the ‘Design’ apps. Up to 92%! This is possible because the only real competition comes from Quark and they have a price-difference of 99%! If there is competition, the price difference DROPS to 44% for an update. (Apple with Final Cut, Avid with Xpress Pro Video).

  4. There is another issue concerning pricing IMHO.

    Upgrade pricing… Why is it the same price for CS1 users as it is for CS2 users?

    Whilst it can be argued that users who upgraded to CS2 have had the use of all the extra features as their reward… I don’t agree.

    Where is the loyalty reward here?

    I think that at the very least, the upgrade should be 25% cheaper for CS2 suite users, especially those that bought the premium suite.

    And I can’t say that I am that happy that all the apps are upgraded at the same time, PhotoShop, Illustrator & InDesign are huge programs & deserve there own timeline, this Graphics MS Office approach does not impress me, I can’t help thinking that as release date appears over the horizon, the pressure to finish the package means that we either end up with a few extra bugs or features that get cut off.

    And the idea that European customers (UK myself) should pay 1=1 is insulting… and I personally think it is harming Adobe’s reputation, there are still quite a few companies over here that are sticking with CS1 as they didn’t feel that CS2 represented enough value for money (see where the MS Office mentality gets you), and this pricing structure is not going to impress any FD.

    Fundamentally I think Adobe needs to rethink it’s pricing ASAP & really do something about it this time, not just pay lip service to it :(

  5. Adobe says they don?t look at other ?big international? software vendors like them, and that?s very understandable, because otherwise they have to admit there ?imitating? Quark. And that?s not something you should admit light-hearted.

  6. This is also very strange: Adobe says it costs them 2.5 – 3 million USD to translate just *one* language. Those cost are really extreme. It’s not like the app’s are new. Only new functions have to be translated. But even if we assume that the costs are really that high this still does not explain the huge price difference. (Or the price differende between the upgrades for print-apps and web/video apps).

  7. It?s clear that the most important argument for Adobe is: what can we ask? what will the customer pay?
    On the home-front, you can?t just raise the price, that would cause a lot of trouble. But outside the US?Hey, those guys and girls do buy the software anyway. The translation and other arguments are just to put on the list of arguments. That looks better.
    In the end, it?s just asking as much as possible.
    That may be good business, but it?s no more than that. I can?t find anything else good about it. On the other side, We?ll see how it turns out!

  8. As for the 3 million $ ? where can I apply as a translator for the German versions??? I don?t know how many single strings there are exactly to translate in an application like ID, but let?s say 50 $ per word isn?t really bad.

  9. I do expect the ?Monaco?-version to be gigantic high. After all, how many people live there, and how many of them buy CS3 (and the different languages they speak over there!). But then again, those ?Monogascies? are fenomenal rich.

  10. Lol! There are only 10 other languages. (French and Spanish are available in the US as well). So thats: dutch, polish, norwegian, finnish, danish, Czech, CE, swedish, german, italian.

  11. You may not remember, but less than 20 years ago the kinds of prices we were being charged for dedicated hand-coded typesetting machines! And they could only produce (if you were lucky) up to 120pt type on 8″ wide bromide, which you then had to paste up. To purchase a new font (not a family, but a single font) for these machines was as expensive as a week’s pay.

    No such things as drop shadows, transparencies, inline graphics, colour(!).

    Look at what I am getting for less than a week’s pay for this upgrade!

    You guys are kidding! Like I said, everybody wants something for nothing!

  12. I don?t think that?s the point. The truth as everybody should be able to proove by themselves: Nobody wants to pay more than their neighbors for apparently the same thing.

  13. Rrrright. Well I’ve got a great idea! Lets change the pricing! The US residents get to pay 92% more and us Europeans get the US price. You can come over to Amsterdam with your collegues party for a weekend, buy the EU English version, fly back and it would still be cheaper then buying the US retail price.

    Remember, only software pirates don’t complain. REAL costumers complain.

  14. Brendan,

    I?m all for progress. Just the other day, I took a big jump here from Belgium and oops, got in the canal.
    Silly me: there are airplanes to Amerika. Thank God and progress.
    But I?m also for equal billing of progress.
    So I took the plane to the USA. But what the heck: the nice American in the seat next to me had to pay half the price just because he was American and the plane was a Boeing.
    You can?t call that fair, can you?

  15. Maybe I can’t see what all the complaining is about because I live too far away?

    I’m just glad Adobe have a local office in my capital city so that when (if) I have problems with my new version of CS3 I can call them direct, local time, and speak to a local who understands my problem and gets back to me with a fix.

    I’m also glad that Adobe sees fit to hold FREE CS3 Roadshows that anyone can attend – to see, hear, feel their new products.

    I’m really happy that I can meet their representatives face to face and chat with them about ideas and issues with their products.

    I just can’t imagine how they could do all of that if I (and everyone else) was continually asking them to reduce the end price of their products to be inline with what the US are paying, so that I could then charge my customers more for me being more creative and for being able to offer them more services.

  16. Brendan, I like the Adobe roadshow as much as you. In fact, I’ll be visiting the Adobe Amsterdam Event in 2 weeks. But that has nothing to do charging Europeans, Asians an Australians up to twice as much as Americains. At least Adobe should let us give the oppertunity to legally download an Americain copy for US prices if we wanted to.

  17. ‘Free Roadshows.’ You’re kidding right? They are a marketing opportunities to show you all the wonderful new things that your current work flow just can’t live without.

    Adobe aren’t doing them out of the goodness of there heart. They are using them to persuade you to upgrade and hand over your cash.

    I think it’s a wonderful idea as this upgrade seems to be well the hassle. I just with that they’d make their prices more balanced so it doesn’t make me feel that I’m being ripped off.

  18. Can you guys in France or Germany buy the whole creative Suit in your own language? At least here in Finland we can only buy the whole Creative Suit in English and if we want a Finnish version of InDesign we’ll have to buy that separately at a high price. The only other app you can buy in Finnish to my knowledge is Photohop but nobody uses that. And the Finnish versions are available at a much later time after product launches.

    So Adobes grounds on the higher prices in Europe are not valid, not at least in Finland.

    Adobe Creative Suite CS3 Design Standard ENG at $1,186.99 = 880 EUR

    Adobe Creative Suite CS3 Design Standard ENG at local distributor 1695 EUR!!!

    So we are paying twise the price for the exatly same product.

  19. It seems that the only one who complain about the complain is the american people…strange, so strange.

  20. David, I’m not sure what you mean. We are hearing from people from Australia and throughout Europe here. One of the problems is that some people above are not saying where they live.

  21. No complaints from down under, either!

    You know, you guys, nobody from Adobe is forcing you to buy their products at these vastly inflated prices … vote with your $$$ – don’t buy it!

  22. Bredan is right, vote with your dollars. However, the Intel processor and (the emulating software rosetta) are making CS1+2 it difficult for us. just ‘stepped in the ring’ as well! They’re really pro Adobe but also feel the pricing needs to be ajusted…

  23. Over the past weeks Adobe’s Store for Germany was only accepting preorders, so we indulged in the small hope that Adobe might mercifully correct their absurd ? pricing of twice the $ amounts?but they didn’t.
    All I can say is that as of today, I clearly won’t suggest anyone to upgrade to CS3 who isn’t already sure they absolutely need it. All our customers who are doing well with CS or CS2 on a G5 or even a Intel Mac may decide to stick to it and wait if CS4 will be worth the surcharge for not being participant of God’s Own Market.
    CS3 is definitely NOT worth an upgrade price of well over 200% plus VAT! (Design Premium Upgrade:
    US = 460 ? [599 $]
    DE = 999 ? [1300 $] excl. VAT
    1189 ? [1550 $] incl. VAT)
    What kind of “global” policy is this supposed to be anyway?

  24. I’m using the full Premium CS2 in english. If the EU price was just close to the US price, I’ve bought th upgrade month ago.
    In a global world where I can bought from any where it makes no sense to put barriers. These absurds differences in prices will fail. Only people who don’t care of money will pay.
    Now, I’m looking for an option to buy it: a cheap trip to NY, Ebay, friends in US,…
    I work with Adobe programs all day, so I want to buy legally. For me torrent or emule options are not valid.
    But, since my annual income is more than a half US salary (for the same type of work), I WILL NOT pay the double for the SAME product.
    I living in Spain.

  25. Adobe states the EU market has a lot of differences. That’s true. However, Indesign CS3 do not. We don’t even got the right keyboard shortcut set in the EU priced version. We do have different keyboards and the shortcuts needs to deal with that. Photoshop & Illustrator has never shipped with other standards than UK. IndesignCS2 came up with all the sets. CS3 don’t. Just arrogant.

  26. Yes, Adobe is trying to screw everyone over by charging what they can. Will they change their pricing? I doubt it, but if they do they’ll get a lot of complaints also from people who have already paid the full price.
    I managed to save a few hundred Euros by pretending I was still using CS1, upgrading to CS2.3 (while I already was using CS2) and requesting a free upgrade to CS3. It took over a month, but I have it now.

    I never pass on upgrades of software I use on a daily basis, and with the improvements I think CS3 Design Premium is definitely worth the money. It’s just a danged shame I had to pay so much more for it than my American friends.

  27. The problem is not the cost so much as the fact that InDesign is an inferior program, purposely designed to work differently than other Adobe products in order to justify yet another unecessary product.
    The swatch palette is an unworkable mess, why can’t it be like Illustrator? Resizing is done differently just to piss us off, and the Paragraph composer knows nothing about typography. Adobe used to be a great company until they lost focus on their clients and are now pushing all these stupid seminars and worthless programs. Illustrator, Photoshop and Indesign should be one program.
    Microsoft is Hitler; Adobe is Stalin. They’re both evil, it’s just a matter of degree.

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