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Gold'en Rant : Adobe pushing customers into Pirates' arms

Had a call from an industry pal a few weeks ago, asking where could he get a copy of Adobe Creative Suite 2 at a good price.

Sadly for him, Adobe CS2 has now been superseded by CS3 but the even worse news is that the UK pricing levels on CS3 are little short of excruciatingly high.

In the US, Adobe CS3 Production Premium sells for USD 1,199, whilst in the UK it sells for around GBP 995. Web Premium, meanwhile, sells for USD 1,599 in the US and around GBP 1,299 in the UK.

With the dollar/pound exchange rate currently around 2:1, it doesn't take a maths genius to realise that UK users are being hideously over-charged.

The nett result of this is that some UK resellers are sourcing software from the US and selling it at discount prices in the UK.

Which is fine until you ask for support, and are told you must register your software by paying an extra fee.

Does this mean your copy of CS3 is illegal? Not really - it's just that Adobe charges between 50 and 70 per cent more for CS3, as well as several other applications, on this side of the Atlantic.

The bad news for Adobe and its users is that this type of price gouging only serves to play into the hands of the pirates selling Adobe software for about a tenth of its retail price, either via eBay or, increasingly, via dodgy Web sites.

The last time I encountered software pricing greed on this scale was back in the early 1990s with WordPerfect and its word processing software of the same name.

The company was quite blatant in confessing that it was gouging its UK customers on price, but claimed it could make more profit overall on fewer sales as the price was so high.

Microsoft stepped into the fray, bundling MS-Word - effectively free of charge - with PCs from the likes of Compaq and IBM.

The result was predictable: sales of WordPerfect nosedived and MS-Word took over, with dedicated WordPerfect fans using pirated versions of the software because of the silly prices charged.

Adobe's high prices with CS3 - and price gouging its UK customers - only plays into the hands of pirates. No wonder the Business Software Alliance is fighting a losing battle with pirated Adobe applications.

How stupid can you get Adobe?...