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Author Topic: Why does Adobe hate non-Americans so much?  (Read 13814 times)
Chris Pollock
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« on: May 13, 2012, 12:06:52 AM »
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Like most Australians, I'm absolutely furious about Adobe's pricing policies. In the US an upgrade to Photoshop CS6 can be bought for $199, but in Australia we're expected to pay $337. At the time of writing, the Australian and US dollars are near parity, and the Australian dollar was worth a bit more when the prices were announced.

Of course, it's not just Australians that are getting ripped off. I see that the British are expected to pay 190.80, (about 307 USD) and the Japanese 26,250 yen (about 328 USD). These prices are for digital downloads, so there's no physical product to be delivered, and therefore virtually no delivery cost. The consumption tax in Australia is only 10% (and it wouldn't even be payable if they let us buy from the US site) so that is not a valid excuse. Adobe are ripping off their foreign customers, and that's all there is to it.

Adobe don't even make any attempt to hide the fact that they're ripping us off. If anything, they seem to enjoy rubbing our noses in it. When I typed "Photoshop CS6 upgrade" into Adobe's Australian web page, it redirected me to a page that showed the American upgrade prices. When I tried to buy a copy, however, it wouldn't let me because I lived in the wrong country. Basically Adobe are sticking up their middle finger and saying "We're ripping you off, and you know we're ripping you off, but there's nothing you can do about it because we're a monopoly, ha ha!"

I can understand that Adobe charge their foreign customers more because by raising prices they make more money, and they think they don't have to worry about losing customers because Photoshop (and much of their other software) has no real competition. What I don't understand is why they don't just raise their American prices to the same extent. Why is it that they think they can get away with ripping off British, Japanese, or Australians, but don't do the same thing to their fellow Americans? What's wrong with a single, global price? Everyone who buys Adobe's software gets exactly the same product, and there are no delivery costs, so it's only fair that everyone should pay the same price.

By charging some customers a higher price simply because of the country that they live in, Adobe generate a tremendous amount of ill feeling. Foreign customers may still buy the software because they need it, and there is no competition, but that doesn't mean that they don't hate Adobe, and wouldn't gladly switch to another product if one were available. It's like America buying oil from Saudi Arabia - they hate the Saudi regime (as they should) but they do business with them because they need the oil and can't get it from anyone else.

I haven't decided whether or not I'll upgrade to CS6. I'd like to, and I can afford it, but I think that buying it at the Australian price would be like paying off an extortionist. It just doesn't feel like an ethical thing to do. I think the best course would be for everyone outside the US to boycott Adobe's products, unless they absolutely need them for business purposes.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2012, 12:12:05 AM »
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Like most Australians, I'm absolutely furious about Adobe's pricing policies. In the US an upgrade to Photoshop CS6 can be bought for $199, but in Australia we're expected to pay $337. At the time of writing, the Australian and US dollars are near parity, and the Australian dollar was worth a bit more when the prices were announced.

Translation costs?  Wink

Cheers,
Bernard
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2012, 12:48:55 AM »
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Oh, dear Lord, not again!
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2012, 01:07:11 AM »
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Its not that Adobe hates non-Americans. (although they might, I have no info... but from what I have seen and heard from those I have met who work for Adobe they seem like awfully nice chaps!)  Grin

Its simply that Adobe has to pay and support offices in Australia and other foreign countries. The cost of these offices and international staff are passed onto the purchaser (as in any business model). Yes, the digital download costs adobe no more than the US - but the staff in Australia need to be paid and we are a very expensive country in which to employ people.

That said, I believe Adobe (and Apple, who do the same thing) are actually currently under investigation in Australia for their pricing differential. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of it.

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tom b
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2012, 01:28:45 AM »
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I've been doing some volunteer work designing posters, flyers etc using InDesign for a non-profit organisation. I see online that there is a North American/Canadian non-profit version of InDesign but none for the rest of the world. A bit of consistency from Adobe would be nice, I know the NP would probably buy a subsidised version but there is no way they would buy a full version.

Cheers,
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William Walker
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2012, 01:29:02 AM »
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Hi Chris

I'm in South Africa and, I don't know if it works differently in Oz, but I am able to download direct from the USA site (at their prices). We also have Adobe here but I have always bought through the USA store.

Why don't you try creating a new account using an American address?

William
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Chris Pollock
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2012, 02:09:13 AM »
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Translation costs?  Wink
So they're charging us more to have some guy run a script to replace "color" with "colour"? Just sell us the US version; I'm sure that most Australians can read American well enough to get by.

(Yes, I am aware that your post wasn't meant entirely seriously.)
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Chris Pollock
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2012, 02:12:56 AM »
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Its simply that Adobe has to pay and support offices in Australia and other foreign countries. The cost of these offices and international staff are passed onto the purchaser (as in any business model). Yes, the digital download costs adobe no more than the US - but the staff in Australia need to be paid and we are a very expensive country in which to employ people.
In that case, they should close the Australian office. What exactly do they do apart from making the software more expensive?

Do you think that Adobe support staff are employed onshore these days? (I have no idea; I've never had to call support, and have no intention of ever doing so.)
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Chris Pollock
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2012, 02:16:58 AM »
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I'm in South Africa and, I don't know if it works differently in Oz, but I am able to download direct from the USA site (at their prices). We also have Adobe here but I have always bought through the USA store.

Why don't you try creating a new account using an American address?

William
From what I've heard, they block Australian credit cards. I have a Japanese credit card, which may or may not work. My main problem is that I'd have to upgrade from CS5, which is linked to my Australian account. Even if I managed to buy the American version somehow, there's no guarantee that it would work for me.
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Chris Pollock
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2012, 02:18:12 AM »
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Oh, dear Lord, not again!
Your point being?
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Rob C
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2012, 04:00:16 AM »
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Your point being?




His point being, I'm sure, that this is familiar territory: we get here in a cyclical manner every few months.

That doesn't make it any less frustrating though; you guys talk about the cost of upgrades - imagine starting from scratch again, as I would be doing from my modest Model 6! Like any product, you have to make it attractive to generate good will and a feeling of love towards the company that makes it. I look at PS and the music business and feel little surprise at the feelings both generate: rather than affection I feel the pain of a sharp knife applied to the parts that should be working from a sense of love. Love music and love photography - both would love to crucify me for my interest. Seems fair.

Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2012, 04:11:09 AM »
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Actually, Chris, there are a number of local support staff, marketing staff, distribution and other roles.  It might not be something you intend to do, but bear in mind that Adobe is far more than just Photoshop.  There are a lot of businesses in Australia who interact with Adobe very frequently and make use of that local presence.  People like Michael Stoddard are great people who are super helpful and it's important to have that sort of presence locally to support those who use the products.

I mean, couldn't we just get fashion shots from overseas to use locally?  Couldn't we get magazines edited overseas, just over the 'net?  We don't need any local photogs, mag editors, printers, etc etc, right?  Of course we do - there's tangible benefits to having local experience, input, support, direction and contact - even if you don't see it directly every day of the week.

I understand the desire for a better deal on pricing - me too - I'm not convinced that doing business in Australia is 70% more expensive, but it definitely is more expensive.  A thoughtful, polite, considered campaign of communication with Adobe Australia and Adobe US would be a far more worthwhile pursuit than accusing them of hatred and of ripping off customers.  Some of it is probably historical, pricing which seemed more reasonable then there was a 30% premium on the greenback over the Aussie and when physical product was more common than digital downloads.

Over time, they would have reached certain revenue expectations and they don't change locally even when there's a change in the exchange rates.  That's going to have a lot to do with the local pricing, combined with the higher cost of doing business (even advertising here, offering warranty and general support, is more expensive).

So, less rant and more productive, considered and thoughtful approaching of the company would be my suggestion.
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Rob C
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2012, 04:20:19 AM »
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So, less rant and more productive, considered and thoughtful approaching of the company would be my suggestion.


In real words, just shut up and don't make waves?

Rob C
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Chris Pollock
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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2012, 04:30:44 AM »
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Its not that Adobe hates non-Americans. (although they might, I have no info... but from what I have seen and heard from those I have met who work for Adobe they seem like awfully nice chaps!)  Grin
I have nothing against Adobe's support people or engineers. (It is the buggiest program that I've used in years, but that's another gripe.) I'm sure that a lot of them are nice people - the same was probably true of Enron for that matter.

The decision to gouge foreign customers was probably made by the faceless men in senior management, who are hated and feared even by their own employees. Wink
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Bryan Conner
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« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2012, 04:43:22 AM »
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If I ever find my self in such a state of mind that I would entertain the thought that Adobe, as a company, is made up of American (or any other nationality) hating people, and that the employees probably hate and fear the faceless men in senior management, I would definitely uninstall all Adobe products and destroy any program discs.    Wink

We also have to pay much more here in Germany than in other parts of the world...and that is not including taxes.
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Chris Pollock
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« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2012, 04:54:28 AM »
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Actually, Chris, there are a number of local support staff, marketing staff, distribution and other roles.  It might not be something you intend to do, but bear in mind that Adobe is far more than just Photoshop.  There are a lot of businesses in Australia who interact with Adobe very frequently and make use of that local presence.  People like Michael Stoddard are great people who are super helpful and it's important to have that sort of presence locally to support those who use the products.
Maybe they're important to you, but I have no use for them. Perhaps we can compromise here. How about allowing people anywhere in the world to buy the US versions of Adobe's software, on the understanding that any support issues will be handled by the US office? People who value a local office can pay more for a local license, which entitles them to use local support.
I understand the desire for a better deal on pricing - me too - I'm not convinced that doing business in Australia is 70% more expensive, but it definitely is more expensive.  A thoughtful, polite, considered campaign of communication with Adobe Australia and Adobe US would be a far more worthwhile pursuit than accusing them of hatred and of ripping off customers.
Maybe I should just get down on my hands and knees and beg Adobe to cut their prices?
So, less rant and more productive, considered and thoughtful approaching of the company would be my suggestion.
No, the best way to deal with Adobe is to boycott their products until they drop their prices. If enough people outside the US do that, Adobe will be forced to become a US-only company, or stop ripping off foreign customers. Which do you think they would choose?

I think you've just saved me $337. There's no way that I could bear to look at myself in the mirror if I bought another Adobe product now. I'll make do with CS5 until some kind of future compatibility issue renders it unusable, by which time open source software will hopefully be good enough. I wonder if the GIMP project could use any help?
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Chris Pollock
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« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2012, 04:56:56 AM »
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...and that the employees probably hate and fear the faceless men in senior management, I would definitely uninstall all Adobe products and destroy any program discs.    Wink
Don't the employees of most companies hate and fear senior management?Wink
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Farmer
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« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2012, 06:11:21 AM »
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No, Rob.  Make waves, by contacting Adobe directly.

Chris - as you please.  One thing's for sure - ranting here isn't going to fix it.  Sure, you can "boycott" their products (will you uninstall all of them, will you refuse to update Flash Player and DNG or any of the other free tools, or is it just a partial boycott?) but unless you take the time to communicate with them directly, they won't know why you decided not to upgrade your product.

Why is it people take the time to rant and reply and such on a place like this, but can't pen a simple email to the company in question?  Or, you know, you could telephone one of those Adobe Australia people and talk to them about it.
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Chris Pollock
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« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2012, 07:14:26 AM »
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Chris - as you please.  One thing's for sure - ranting here isn't going to fix it.  Sure, you can "boycott" their products (will you uninstall all of them, will you refuse to update Flash Player and DNG or any of the other free tools, or is it just a partial boycott?) but unless you take the time to communicate with them directly, they won't know why you decided not to upgrade your product.
I've already paid for Photoshop CS5, so I'll keep using it. Adobe already have my money, so why would they care if I stopped using it? I have, however, already uninstalled my trial version of CS6.

I fail to see how refusing to update the Flash player would hurt Adobe's bottom line. As you say, it is free. If I had my own website I would try to avoid using Flash, but fortunately I don't.
Why is it people take the time to rant and reply and such on a place like this, but can't pen a simple email to the company in question?  Or, you know, you could telephone one of those Adobe Australia people and talk to them about it.
Do you really think that would do any good? The internet is full of people venting their fury at Adobe for their pricing policies, so I'm sure that Adobe's management are aware of how their non-US customers
feel. They've made the decision that they'll make more money through higher prices than they'll lose through lost sales, and making money is what a company is for. They will not drop their prices because a few people ask politely, they will only drop them if enough people refuse to pay the high prices. Anyone outside America who boycotts Adobe's products is helping their fellow citizens - every lost sale puts  pressure on Adobe to drop their prices.

Having said that, I did seriosuly consider calling Adobe's Australian office, but decided against it because it would merely antagonize some low-level employee who has no more say in Adobe's pricing policies than I do. The Adobe employee wouldn't be free to speak honestly (no doubt they're told what they have to say) and would have to give me a bunch of excuses that neither of us would believe. I dislike confrontation when there's no chance of it doing any good.

Similarly, any email that I sent would either be ignored, or given a form reply by someone too low in the heirarchy to have any influence.

Just out of interest, did you take your own advice and call Adobe yourself? If so, what did they say? I'm honestly curious to know what their response was. I'm guessing that they didn't offer you a special discount because you asked nicely.
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Rob C
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« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2012, 10:56:16 AM »
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To be fair, it isn't easy to contact any company where it matters. There's an entire firewall system designed to keep you out! I can't think of which one at the moment, but I do remember trying to complain about something to someone and it was impossible to find an address. I'm not talking about an individual's website, I mean a multi-national.

Even when you can contact people, you can't be certain they will address your question or problem. Years ago, I wrote to Nikon in Japan asking about a grid screen with split-image focussing for my F3 or F4s, knowing from their leaflets that such a screen existed for slow lenses. The point was, why couldn't I buy one for my fast lenses?

After a long time, I received a reply telling me that such a screen was available for slow lenses...

No wonder people scream silently into the night and hatred against big companies becomes a very real thing.

Rob C
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