Adobe Catching Fire For Gouging Customers Down Under

Creative Suite costs over $1400 More in Australia

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

For a limited time only, Adobe customers in Australia can get a trip to the United States when they buy a copy of Adobe Creative Suite. What’s the catch? They have to fly to the USA to get their software. Sounds like a crazy marketing scheme gone bad? Well, you’re close; that’s because Adobe charges so much for Creative Suite Down Under, that customers actually save money flying to the USA to buy it! And Adobe’s CEO is catching hell for it.

Here’s the skinny… Adobe charges $1400 more for Creative Suite in Australia than it does here in the United States, and the worst part is, that’s only for the digital download – no CDs, no manuals, no flashy packaging that you’ll toss in the trash later. Just the download, and that’s causing angry Aussies to demand answers and Adobe’s CEO to dodge the questions:

Adobe’s CEO Shantanu Narayen seems to be wishing for customers to move towards Adobe Creative Cloud – the monthly subscription of Adobe services that was launched last year.  Narayen doesn’t seem to want to address the fact that the majority of Adobe customers are still buying box copies of Creative Suite.  And that in the process, it’s actually cheaper for consumers in Australia to fly to Los Angeles and buy a box copy.  Narayen wants users to move towards Creative Cloud because he says that it’s a far better value for customers.  But come on.  The fact is that once users pluck down $2100 for the Master collection, they aren’t likely to reinvest in the next version of the software a year or two down the road.  So, financially, while Narayen can accurately claim that a monthly or annual subscription of Creative Cloud is a better value for consumers (and he’s right, for users it makes more sense in the short run), it also locks those consumers into an annual subscription and that’s more money in the long run for Adobe.

But that still doesn’t address the question as to why Adobe is gouging Aussies who still want a box copy of the software.  And it’s caught the attention of the Australian Parliament, who wants Adobe to explain the disparity at a public hearing next month.  Adobe isn’t the only company being expected to go before Parliament to justify their prices.  Both Microsoft and Apple are also facing the grilling over their prices for electronics and software.  Microsoft claims that supply chain costs, excessive Australian regulations and high labor costs have driven up the prices for Windows and hardware costs on Surface and Windows Phone products, and Cupertino simply blew it off last year when they chose to avoid the hearing.  This year, they have no choice.   “If Apple can appear before US Congressional hearings they can certainly appear before Australian parliamentary inquiries,” said Ed Husic, Australia’s Labor House Leader.

And before Adobe tries to play the monetary exchange excuse, according to today’s exchange rate, $1 Australian Dollar is trading for $1.04 US this morning and has been pretty consistent over the last three years.   Hell, Adobe wouldn’t be able to play that card in 2009, when the exchange rate was .60 – $1 in Australia’s favor!  So, in the words of house leader Husic – “It’ll be interesting to hear specifically how all three companies defend their practices — particularly with regards to the pricing of digital products.”

Hat Tip – The Verge

About James DeRuvo

James has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. A writer about the technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James is also an award winning film director, having garnered a Telly Award for his short film Searching for Inspiration. He's also worked as a producer of many talk radio programs in Los Angeles with topics ranging from entertainment to travel to technology.

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