Don't Believe The Adobe Price Cut Hype, It's Still Gouging You Silly

Late yesterday, we brought you the news that Adobe had buckled under the pressure of the Australia Tax inquiry brought on by the government and lowered local pricing to bring it more in line with US counterparts. You might thank benevolent Adobe for finally coming around to our way of thinking, but I'm here to tell you why you should be as angry with them as ever.

Yesterday, after being summoned to Parliament to explain why it has been gouging Australians for years, Adobe dropped annual subscription pricing for its Creative Cloud suite from $62.99 to $49.99 per month. Casual subscription pricing also dropped, from $94.99 to $74.99 per month.

Good news, right? Well, not exactly, because the Australia Tax lives on.

Boxed copies of Adobe's software won't be subject to a single price cut which is disappointing, but what can only be described as downright insulting to Australian consumers is that digitally-distributed copies of Adobe software will still subject to the astronomical mark-ups that landed the company in hot water in the first place.

Take the Creative Suite Master Collection, for example. A quick price comparison between Adobe's US and Australian online stores shows a deplorable price disparity of $1735. Almost $2000 difference on a piece of software distributed through an online store. 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.

Adobe wants to be praised for listening to ordinary Australians by dropping Creative Cloud pricing. I don't think so.

Adobe's concession to the Australia Tax inquiry is tantamount to a child making a promise with his fingers crossed behind his back: deceitful and immature. Keep shedding those prices, Adobe. Then we'll talk.



    its awesome that this article was brought to you by Dick Smith Electronics. Price hike anyone?

    Just download it for free like everybody else.

      That works for most applications, but when you're a professional graphic designer/video producer/photographer, a cracked version won't cut it...


          Because if you get caught using a cracked version of an Adobe product to produce commercially used/sold content, you can be up for massive fines, plus risk taking a significant hit to your reputation.

          Litigation isn't exactly commonplace, but it's not something any self-respecting professional will be willing to take a gamble on (and even if Adobe don't pick up on the infraction, having a knowledgeable employer realise you've been using cracked programs to produce their content is going to result in a massive loss of good faith, at the least).

          tl;dr because if you use cracked programs, you're breaking the law... definitely not something you want to use as the basis for ongoing employment.

            its only illegal if you get caught =p

              Oh jeez, really? Refer to my comment above: "Litigation isn't exactly commonplace, but it's not something any self-respecting professional will be willing to take a gamble on."

              If you're serious about a career in design/production, you don't use illegal copies of the Creative Suite to produce content you're going to send to a client, end of story.

            Odd isn't. It is illegal for us to try and skirt the price gouging by grey marketing or downloading but not for the major (usually US) corporations to hire cheap Asian programmers to both write the software and "support" it, shift their profits to ridiculous tax havens, claim like Apple that iTunes sales (that they charged GST on) actually took place in Singapore and to discriminate against certain nationalities. Oh and then lie that they give us "Localised" software.

            Any self respecting Aussie or Kiwi with balls is going to say Fuck you! You make the rules, I'll break them.

          Audits, for one.

            thanks to the internet, you can stall for time and buy a legal license within minutes

            its only if they corroborate the time bought and the date of the art you produced

            then again, they cant prove you created prior art on your own computer

          If you're making a living using their software, then not paying for the thing that enables you to make a living is a total dick move. That's why not.

            because overcharging is not a dick move

              Two dick moves don't make a... errrr.... vagina,,, move?

              Last edited 14/02/13 6:01 pm

    What a joke. Enrol into a TAFE course online, buy a student version of Adobe and send them your letter of enrolment as proof of being a student. You would still be saving hundreds of dollars, even if you weren't refunded by the TAFE. Dodgy? Yes. Adobe can however go screw themselves with their current Australian pricing.

      Nice sentiment, but you really think anyone is going to go through the steps of enrolling in the course paying the fees and getting a student card to be able to do this? THe hours it would take enrolling and mucking around would be a pain in the ass, (for tafe staff also)
      If you're going to do that you may as well get it from a torrent site and not waste the tafe staffs, (or your own), time.

      Last edited 13/02/13 9:26 am

        Dunno how it all works, but you can do a $300 short course at TAFE.

        But agreed, pirating the software is the only honest option. And by 'honest' I mean no less dishonest than Adobe's Australian pricing strategy

        I just "borrowed" my girlfriends student ID and got my full CS5 production suite for cheap.

        Just find someone with a student ID as that's all they require to prove your are a student. Then just temporarily update the name on your Adobe account to theirs and you're fine. Worked for me. ;)

 my full CS5 production suite for cheap.

          Well I hope it was cheap, because it's two versions behind current release. A lot has changed since CS5.

            Umm... Time is linear my friend. :-/

            I may have posted that I "got it cheap" now, but that was actually years ago. The day after CS5 was released, in fact. We were all in the same boat then as we are now. I had the option of paying almost AU$3000 for it, or using a student ID like I did and paying AU$600. Despite the fact that it only cost US$1500 in the US. And that was in 2010.

            And there may be a lot of changes between CS5 and CS6, but none compelling enough for me to update.

        You do not need a student card, only the automatically emailed letter of enrolment.

      This means it can't be used in a commercial sense though, right?

        It can be used for commercial purposes, you just have to be a student at the time of purchase.

          Errr in a word Mark ... NO. The licensing for the educational versions makes it very clear you can't use them for commercial work. Or at least it used to, back when I bought my last Adobe education license (Flash MX 2004). They might have gone through a lot of changes between now and then, but I don't see Adobe making it any easier for peeps to legitimately use their software for anything less than full price. Pretty much all educational software's from all vendors in the same boat - you can't use ED versions for commercial work.

            this is no longer the case. I know because I just spent time researching about it before buying my copy of lightroom4, on a student discount. The terms and conditions have been updated such that you may use it for commercial work after you graduate/finish studying, but any future upgrades/purchases will be charged at full price. Along with the usual 'only installed on one system, that is not a school/uni computer etc etc.' The new conditions apply to the entire adobe suite.

              Yep, you're right. I was surprised to read that actually, because like zippy the last time I bought a student version commercial use was out of the question (Also, you can install the student version on two non-school/uni computers, which is pretty neat).

              More info in the Adobe FAQ here:
              (I'm assuming the same rules apply in AU, can't see any reason why they wouldn't...)

              Correct, though it is actually two computers for the educational software that I purchased from Adobe.

            YES. Research before you write about 9 year old software licences.

      Actually, a better way to do it is via uni. Apply for a uni course $50-100 application fee through your state admissions centre. Enrol online once admitted and choose the deferred HECS option. Get student card, order adobe CS, cancel enrolment. Takes a little time, but would work. Only cost is original application fee.

      Of course you have to deal with the guilt of having taken a unI place that could have gone to someone else.

    Gauge, gouge, gauge.... ho-hum...

    Not trying to be pedantic... but isn't it price "gouging"? If you're "gauging" something, you're determining value, not selling above fair value

    Gauging? Don't you mean gouging?

      No, no. Adobe are measuring us.

        I have been measured and found to be an idiot. Fixed now. Ta for spotting.

    Or you could just pay in USD like almost everyone else and keep the difference.

    Well I am happy at least. I have a creative cloud subscription and my price has dropped for next month. All this whinging better not make them rethink this price drop!

    If you are a creative professional $50/month well worth it since you would be paying that for each upgrade anyway. I cant see why anyone would buy the complete set.

    If you are a casual user you will probably pirate it anyway.

      I'm pleased they have dropped the price to bring it in line with the US - but even at the higher price it was OK given how comprehensive the full suite is. As a deductible business expense it comes in way cheaper than your morning visit to the coffee shop over the course of a month.

        Agreed. $600 a year for unrestricted access to the full suite with all upgrades included as they're released is a really reasonable deal, especially when claimed as a business expense!

    literally cheaper to fly to LA and buy it. wow!

      Yeah that really puts it in perspective...

      with $601 free to spend on a flight to vegas, hookers and blow!

    Poor Luke got gauged and then gouged for having a mistake. haha

    Why not buy it through the US Adobe store (using TunnelBear or similar), or even a 3rd party retailer in the US, then ship it to a US address using a re-shipper like HopShopGo, then you have bought it at US prices, and okay so you might pay an extra $40 in shipping but still a massive saving.
    Also, if you ship it to a tax free state like Oregon, then the only tax you are liable for is Australian GST because it costs more than $1000 which is the import tax free threshold.

      I always find suggestions like this odd. While it might be more mora than outright pirating, you've basically swapped one lot of rule breaking for another.

        What rule would you be breaking?
        The software is legally purchased, and all you are doing is circumventing the local "Australian Tax" mark-up.
        IMO I think pirating is totally different - not to mention illegal.

          Exactly. Circumventing a company's distribution rules =/= breaking the law.

            A companies distribution rules have nothing to do with the law as a consumer. If you can get your hands on a US version cheaper than an Aus version go for it!

            The distribution rules don't apply to the consumer, only the retailer by contract.

            If I find something cheaper in another country, purchase it and bring it back you basically state that i have circumnavigated the local distribution rules because i didn't not purchase said item from my local distributor. I brought a watch o/s last year because it was cheaper where I was. Don't panic Rossco, I plan on handing myself in tomorrow morning. Shame on me.

    No complaints from me, My creative cloud trial just ran out and i was going to buy the subcription this week.

    Can someone explain to me why companies like Valve, Microsoft and Adobe have a market for Australia?

    Small to medium sized companies have always just had one pricing like USD or where the company is located. The exchange rate does the talking.

    I remember Valve did this on Steam in the early days until a AU market was thrown up.

    I assume it's for our economy or something? and if it's an issue with the retail physical copies...jesus lets remove that more physical copies sold...get a poster at office works and get them to burn you the next adobe whatever or microsoft os...and you jump online and buy a key instead.

      Can someone explain to me why companies like Valve, Microsoft and Adobe have a market for Australia?

      So they can price gouge us. There may be many more reasons far more technical in nature, but I'm quite sure that that one reason alone is more than enough cause for companies to do so.

    So - anyone want to buy a legitimate boxed copy of CS6 Master edition off me for $3.1K AUD ? You still save around $1.2K on the local AU price, and all I need is 3 of you to take me up on the offer and I've covered my flights to LAX and back. I'll take the red-eye on a Friday, come back on Sunday, and still have a couple of hours to go for a quick perv-tour to the San Pornando Valley after I've picked up the software :-)

    I'm pretty sure plagerises you (Gizmodo/Lifehacker/etc) often. There have been a few articles that seemed TOO similar - and I'm sure it's not Gizmodo or Gawker doing the plagerising. :)

    What made my recent purchase of Lightroom even more sore (apart from the additional price) was the fact that despite telling me I had to pay more for a simple serial number because I was from Australia, my credit card was charged from Dublin. And Adobe put this down to the cost of doing business in Australia, which clearly they aren't actually doing for digital editions.

      my statement says Adobe systems Dublin or something, but there is no overseas processing fee, so iI assume it's just a trading name situation, and the actual transaction does take place here... Do you have a processing fee?

    After the apparent non-answer by Adobe CEO in Australia, a redditor seems to have found that the CEO was indirectly telling Australians to do exactly as what Gizmodo reported

    It surely seems like price gouging to me, knowing literally nothing about doing business Downunder, but the dumbass idea of simple "downloading it for free" is juvenile and downright asinine. I own many legit copies and compared to some higher level and much more expensive software Adobe products relatively inexpensive for what I can create and sell with their use.
    If you're in business, step up and buy it. If you're not ask for a Student Copy or whatever Adobe calls it.
    Otherwise you're just a petty thief like any other thief.
    Good grief.

    It's a worldwide (exc. USA) problem. We have a Linked In site "ADOBE STOP OVERCHARGING UK CUSTOMERS".

    I've been shot down a couple of times for suggesting this, but I'm not a professional artist and carry a different perspective.

    I have never had any trouble bringing the things I envision to the screen using open source tools.

    Don't need Adobe now and never want to.

    I create art for the fun of it and don't have the same tight deadlines professional do, so if I need to take the time to figure out how to do something the way I want it to look I can.
    It would be great if some educational facilities and workplaces started looking at alternatives...

    ... or is the artist really only as good as the tools?

    You guys are seriously behind with the news.
    I wrote about this already back in 2008 ( and again in 2010 (

    It's not just Australia where it's overpriced. It's the whole rest of the world.

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