It’s cheaper to fly to the United States and back to buy some of Adobe’s software there than it is to buy it here

Adobe’s software pricing is outrageous…I know all about it too, running a newspaper using their products, just how much their licensing is.

When their CEO went to Sydney to open a new office he was ambushed and failed to answer specific questions regarding their software pricing.

It’s cheaper to fly to the United States and back to buy some of Adobe’s software there than it is to buy it in Australia. But that doesn’t appear to faze Adobe’s global chief executive Shantanu Narayen, who was forced to defend why his company charges Australians $1800 more for some of its software when compared with what it charges for the same software in the US.

Mr Narayen was in Sydney on Thursday to open a new Adobe office alongside Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, which will house about 200 staff.

But the main question journalists wanted Mr Narayen to answer was why his company continued to gouge Australians when charging for some of its products. As recently pointed out by technology website Gizmodo, in one instance it’s actually cheaper to fly to the US and back than to buy a product from Adobe on Australian soil.

Adobe’s Creative Suite Master 6 Collection, which in Australia costs $4334, carries a price of $US2599 ($A2509) in the US, leaving a price disparity of about $A1825. The Creative Suite includes software like image editing program Photoshop and video editing program Premiere Pro, as well as a bunch of other design software like InDesign, Dreamweaver and Fireworks.

“It’s still cheaper to fly from here in Sydney to Los Angeles, buy it there, and come home. By doing that I’d save $601, and I’d get Virgin Australia frequent flyer points, too,” wrote Gizmodo Australia’s Luke Hopewell.

Before answering questions, Mr Narayen predicted price disparity would become a topic of interest among journalists asking questions, and tried to avoid it by repeatedly saying that the future of Adobe was a move towards a cloud-based subscription service.

Software companies like Adobe actually encourage piracy with their over priced and bloated products.


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  • Back in the mid/late ’80s, one of the Auckland free-lance *nix gurus would fly to Hawaii, have a week’s holiday, buy a bag full of SCO Xenix licenses, come back, sell them for half of what they were going at here, and still have money left in his pocket afterwards.

  • Sym Gardiner

    He did look a complete noddy in the interview.
    What was so hard about saying “yes… It’s an issue. We are lookin at fixing this in the coming months”?

    • Mitch82

      Because they’re not looking to fix it. Adobe are flat out digital vultures.

      • Sym Gardiner

        I agree. But read what I wrote he should say. It doesn’t say he WILL reduce the price. But it would have killed the pounding that he got and made him look in control. Instead he looks like either a crook or someone who has been hung out by his underlings.

        • Mitch82

          That’s the software business. They have Photoshop, among a few other ‘industry standard’ products – so the general business model, as with Microsoft and Apple, is to inflate the price into stupidity, then fill it with bugs and “should have been there” features that will be addressed in the next release.

          I stopped being a fan of Adobe the day they bought up the perfection that was Cool Edit Pro 2, and turned it into the abomination that is Adobe Audition. For that, they can eat prison ass.

          • Sym Gardiner

            Yes. You are right that this is standard behavior. Its very short sighted. I guess my point was the guy could have avoided looking like a noddy.
            Interestingly with Apple and MS, they are pricing pretty well on software at the moment. $20 for Pages or Keynote is very good value. And MS with their $165 per year 365 Office Premium is again pretty good for what you get. Adobe however is just in a whole league.

      • Sym Gardiner

        All this said… it s the Aussie’s own fault. They should allow parallel importing and then the price will be driven down to the international lowest price (plus a bit for transaction costs).

        • No it won’t…they are digitally delivered.

          • Sym Gardiner

            Then eventually they will get smacked up by ComCom. I believe that is about to happen in Aussie.

        • Try and buy it from here too, with parallel importing rules and check out the price differential…same as Australia

  • PlanetOrphan

    I wonder what the recommended retail price is in China ?

    Adobes excuse likely being “it’s to combat piracy”
    (i.e the honest customers pay for the thieves, which is why they wont speak it in NZ or AUS)

  • williamabong

    Gobbledygook bullshit from a professional bullshiter, and then these companies wonder why people pirate their software, remind me again what this mans position in company is, did someone say the cleaner.

  • Chris

    Is someone holding a gun to your head forcing you to buy it? It’s called the market, sweetie. Please stop your whining and either pay for it or buy something else.

    • redeye

      So you would be quite happy about an ice-cream shop in Queen St basing their price to customers on where the customers currently lives?

      • No-one’s forcin’ you to buy ice creams from them either.

      • Chris

        That’s discrimination! If someone tried to do that I’d be telling John Campbell straight away, not to mention Fair Go, the Consumers Institute, the Human Rights Commission, even Ian fucking Wishart!

  • Patrick

    I used to have a Microsoft Technet subscription, went to renew it & found I would pay 50% more because I was not based in the US but in AUS. Yet the $AUS was worth $US1.08 at the time. There is nothing to be delivered, no big boxes to be shipped & distributed. These companies base their prices on what they believe they can extort from the locals – no wonder there is so much software piracy. These tech firms are no different to the music industry & they have not twigged that their market is changing.

  • Mitch82

    You can get free equivalents of pretty much everything Adobe make these days. GIMP is a good example, GIMP 2.8 is better than Photoshop IMO, atleast for the average user.

    • Anonymouse Coward

      Also if the price of Adobe’s inDesign publishing program gives you a nose bleed try the open source publishing programe Scribus. There are windows and OS X versions availiable.

      • RAS

        Tried that as well. No where near as good as Indesign. The solution is to simply not pay for Adobe software until they fix their business model.

    • RAS

      For the average user, Picassa is by far the best option. I’ve tried GIMP a bunch of times over the years and it’s always been a really poor substitute for Photoshop.

    • Mr_V4

      There’s always someone who recommends open source, but sometimes the best option is just to pirate the market leader.
      How did Photoshop become “standard” in the first place? Why not s host of other options? Amazing how every 15yr old seems to have a copy of Photoshop and knows how to use it.

  • RAS

    No Kiwi or Ozzie should ever buy Adobe software. You can get it for free here:

  • Mr_V4

    Sometimes the answer is because they can.
    And yet you wonder why piracy exists and go all ape at Dotcom?

  • Troy

    He spin’s the same answer in different ways consistently – that’s why he earns millions a year. Full of shit really – care for the customers? What a load of crap he is.

  • Mr_Blobby

    Its simple just don’t buy the software, pirate it. They can stamp out piracy overnight, by pricing the software at a reasonable price, where people are happy to pay.

    The cost of a pressed CD including packaging is less than a dollar. Companies like Microsoft and Adobe know that at say $1.50 everybody will buy a copy and there would be no piracy, however to maximize profits they overprice the product, knowing that it will encourage piracy. Regardless of the piracy, they still make a huge amount of profit,more than if they priced it competitively and fairly.

    Watch out for the latest trade agreement where the US Government will be fighting very hard to entrench this price gouging.

    • Chris

      “Regardless of the piracy, they still make a huge amount of profit…”

      That’s right, and what’s wrong with that? Again, nobody’s forcing anyone here.