back to article Adobe takes UK price hikes to new level with CS3

Adobe Systems, producers of Photoshop, Acrobat and Flash, has long had a relatively chummy image compared to – say – Microsoft. But that might be changing, at least for some customers, as the company moves even beyond Redmond's position on price differentials between the UK and US. Of course, British consumers are well- …


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  1. christian

    What a rip off! Can I buy a US upgrade and use it to upgrade a UK CS2 suite?

    I have already bought CS2 design suite last year and want to upgrade to the CS3 design suite. Do you think I can buy a upgrade in the US and upgrade my software on my UK PC? I can get someone in the US to ship me the software, I'm just interested to know if the license/product key will allow me to upgrade or not.

  2. Ike

    Here Adobe, this is my left kidney- I'm British!

    And I just broke up with my US-travelling, air-stewardess girlfriend... more costly than I had predicted!

  3. Iain

    Don't let the b*****s grind you down

    This disease is spreading, I recently wanted a Nikon 9000 scanner and the UK price is pretty exactly the US price (around 2,000 in both cases), Was able to find a US based retailer who could ship to UK, and offers an international warranty, so we get local Nikon break/fix support.

    All in cost (VAT, carriage etc.) around £1,400.

    Look around and find the best place to buy.

  4. Mark Rendle

    And in Europe...?

    I'll bet it costs *less* in the rest of the EU than it does here, too.

  5. Andrew Baines Silver badge

    It's easy to buy US - just lie!

    When I came to buy Photoshop recently, I had a problem with my adobe account - for some reason it's registered in the US. It appears impossible to change, so I had to give my UK address, but with a US ZIP and state. I chose Alabama and pinched someone else's ZIP. It complained, but worked.

    All worked fine. In addition to saving a few pounds, I also get access to some training videos that are for US only.

    If adobe is insisting you're in the UK, there are plenty of open proxies out there.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its because of fraud and support apparently

    I phoned up and spoke to a UK sales rep and was told I can't use my credit card on the US site because of fraud!

    They then changed there story to say its because the US version has no support and no I can't buy this version.

    The sales rep also indicated I wasn't the first person to phone up with this issue but while I was on the phone if I wanted to bend over so they could really shaft me!

  7. Toby

    The REST of Europe

    It may well cost less in the rest of the EU than in Britain. But at least we have the freedom to order from anywhere...

    Bring on the UK joining the Euro. Then there'll be nowhere for companies like Adobe to hide!

  8. James Anderson


    I was cheking out the euro price (which is the same a the GBP price) when I noticed that they had just hiked the US price to $599.

    Which puts us back on the $ = £ exchange rate.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Be careful with US versions

    One thing that anyone contemplating buying a US version should be aware of ... Adobe UK can tell from the serial number where it was bought and they actually refuse to provide support to you if it is a US copy.

  10. Simon

    Dell have slightly changed thier tune

    I bought a Dell XPS M1210 laptop a few months ago. The graphics card upgrade cost about > £200. The Dell US website charged a whopping $129 (about £70)!! Unfortunately (for me) I have just seen that Dell UK have changed thier pricing somewhat and it now costs £94! Guess who's not a happy bunny now!!

    I would also be very interested to see if the Adobe CS3 upgrade bought in the US would work on a UK version as I'm off to Las Vegas in October. I did notice on the web that the Full CS3 Master edition in the US cost the same as it would cost me to upgrade from CS2 Premium and Macromedia Studio 8 in the UK. I may just buy the full version while I'm out there! Even paying US Sales tax, Import Duty and VAT (I know you can reclaim US Sales Tax) it still works out at £600

  11. Paul Cryer

    And they wonder why people download ...

    And they honestly wonder why people download this software. These price differences shouldn;t be tolerated and it is a total rip off by the companies. The Government should stand up for the UK consumers on this.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ahhh rip-off!

    Yes, you can buy your CS3 upgrade online from the US... provided you have a US address where you can ship it to. Amazon and others do not allow the shipment of such an upgrade outside of the US, which is somewhat pathetic, but there you go.

  13. Derek Evans

    When will us Brits learn

    If you want to hit Adobe in the pocket, then don't upgrade. If we all did not upgrade for at least 9 months whilst the others sort out the bug fixes they will lose revenue and then maybe address the price difference.

    The excuse about languages ( I thought American English was based British English ( just because they cannot spell colour correctly)) just does not stand.

    Come on everyone, just don't be an upgrade sheep.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A step back from Macromedia's online store

    _the EU has 10 major languages, 4 major currencies ... the costs of doing business in European markets are significantly higher per unit of revenue than in the US._

    So does the UK subsidises the translation of the software, documentation and country-specific marketing when we could just have the US version as is? The International English edition of Photoshop still has the Americanised 'color' in the software and documentation.

    Also, regardless of the local cost of printing packaging and all that, we should still be able to buy from the US store in US$ and have our local tax applied depending on the cardholder's address. You can, after all, buy a download version that doesn't incur anything beyond hosting and - optionally - purchasing a backup CD and documentation.

    The Macromedia store used to work that way for DevNet subscriptions and individual packages; I bought a subscription a number of years ago as well as a copy of Director. US prices saved me several hundred pounds, but I was still - with good reason - charged VAT at 17.5%

    A message regarding a US/Worldwide English upgrade being compatible with the International English editions of Studio 8 and earlier Creative Suites - sent over a week ago - still hasn't garnered a response from Adobe.

  15. Paul Anderson

    Per Unit Cost of Doing Business ? B******t!

    Since when did seminars and training account for such a high price rise ? This price differential phenomenon is becoming totally ludicrous. It's not just software, either, but I imagine you should be able to buy CS, etc., from the US. Only problem is you'll probably be tied to a US support and maintenance contract. The helpdesk lines will be open the usual office hours, but being in the states, they'll be 5 to 8 hours behind us.

  16. ash

    CS3 master collection

    so how much will the CS3 master collection cost here?

    in the US it's $1399 to upgrade and $2499 to buy complete...

  17. Simon

    Rip off!

    I'm in a nice position where I wanted to buy this and I could if I wanted too but there is *no way* on earth I'm paying so much more than folks in other countries. Yes we pay more taxes but that amount? Come on!

    None of the excuses stand up and I for one won't be spending a penny on this until they get a grip and level the playing field.

  18. Les

    Insane prices all round...

    I had a look last week to see what it would cost to upgrade Photoshop from CS2 to CS3. US pricing was listed as "from $199".

    UK prices (including VAT, which we can't blame Adobe for) were around £160. Removing the VAT suggested a 40% mark up for UK victims, sorry, customers. Not quite $=£, but still nasty.

    But that's not the insane bit. They offered the choice between a download and packaged product. The download was about £5 more expensive, which struck me as being a wee bit odd. It's more expensive to *not* provide a disk and a box?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is it any wonder that people "acquire" copies of such software via other means?

  20. Nigel Moore

    Adobe's excuses just don't wash

    Adobe has made several excuses as to why prices are higher in Europe (and elsewhere) than the US. Are European users that much more demanding over seminars than those in the US? I doubt it.

    Another argument comes in the form of additional development and testing for language variants, but that doesn't cut the ice for people using English installs.

    You only have to look at the mark ups that Adobe imposes compared to Apple's for similarly-priced software products to see that there's something that Adobe's not being quite honest about:

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My browser (Opera) lets me read the metadata on images in webpages. It's a nice comfort to find that almost every image on Joe Soap's myspace and message board and forum and blog read "Adobe Photoshop CS" or "Adobe Photoshop 7.0" or later, because there is no way the average john smith student/blogger/call centre drone can afford these ludicrously priced packages. If it's £600 to buy and £0 to illegally download with no consequences or loss of product functionality, given that I don't use it professionally on an everyday basis I think I'm going to stick to the torrents...

  22. Leo Davidson

    I want software, not seminars or support.

    Ignoring the fact that it's a total lie and a lame excuse at that, let's pretend it's true for a moment: Why TF am I paying for other people's seminars and support? I just want the software. If someone else wants training they can pay for it. The only support involvement with Adobe I've ever had was posting to their forums about a bug which I received no feedback on anyway. I paid for that??

    That said, I'd happily pay £1000 for the upgrade if they finally brought Photoshop's user interface out of the 1980s and made the dialogs non-modal (for example).

  23. K

    Let the piracy commence...

    They have the audacity to bitch about piracy, suggesting it forces them to increase prices etc - this is really is piracy of the worst kind, stealing from a customer.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Supply and demand

    I never understand these arguments. The price of software, as for most goods, is determined by supply and demand. Adobe charge as much as they can to maximise profit, and that is their job as a software company. They can, should and will exploit any variations in demand with variations in pricing. Stop the bitching and buy something cheaper if you think it is too expensive.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Download vs CD-in-a-box

    The difference in the price of the download product compared to the "CD-in-a-box" is because Adobe host their download servers in Ireland where a higher level of VAT is in effect.

  26. Connor Garvey

    Why Adobe?

    If everyone's so upset about the UK pricing, buy something else. I dropped Photoshop in favor of the GIMP long ago. Adobe sets the price based on market research. They charge the price that will maximize their profit. If you want to protest, don't buy it from the UK or the US. Don't buy it at all. Then mail the UK office and tell them off.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And they wonder why piracy happens !?!?

    If I can buy the software in US Dollars’ from an American site (which people in the UK have done) regardless of whether there is a European site, then how can they excuse the price difference? Is it costing them any more if I bought it off an American site in dollars, I honestly cant see how it is, but I can see that it will cost be more to buy from a UK website.

    Its funny when you see big software giants crying about how piracy is going to ruin them, is extortion not wrong? The more money the software giants can milk out of it the better for them. Obviously they must see that this is going to piss people off, and therefore people just download it instead. Honestly though there has to be a correlation between extra money gained via their methods and money they lose due to piracy, if not more lost due to piracy. It looks like self inflicted to me, if people feel they are being hard done by they will go for the alternatives to buying the product.

  28. Martin Owens


    I agree, why bother buying this? most artists don't use nearly all the features and have it to make them selves feel good.

    Since Inkscape and Gimp both have en_GB translations brought to you by the rossetta project with colour and everything. I can't see how a volenteer effort can translate software correctly and yet adobe still has en_US as their English 'intonational' version (lets not barf at the fact that en_US is only used in the WTO and USA while en_GB is the official english of the rest of the world bar Canada)

    The whole thing stinks of abusive capitalism; it ain't right and I won't stand for it.

  29. Tom Watson

    A new business opportunity.

    Tom's mail forwarding service.

    Software for you, mailed to you. Cost of postage, and a couple of bucks. PayPal.

    Look, its an idea!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Costs of operation

    Probably one of the catches in all of this, is these major companies operate offices out of Europe. They can't pay personnel in the UK the same amount (after currency conversion) as they pay their personnel in the US. Depending on location, $50,000 can be pretty good in the US. Can you live decently on £25,000 in the UK? This goes for their entire operation.

  31. krust

    No suprise

    That people use pirate software is it?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obvious really..

    It's obvious that both fighter aircraft and Adobe products need costly conversion to right hand drive.Just recouping costs really...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm.... time to set up a website

    I've just moved to Canada... maybe I should buy Adobe software here and sell it onto European customers.

    I can't imagine there's anything illegal if I buy legitimate copies, pay import/export taxes and sell the software for a much cheaper price in Europe... watch this space.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to get around the U.K pricing

    Would you like to go around this crazy pricing? Go to the credit card site of the credit card you want to use. Change your billing address to a US address. Wait a day for all records to update. Just make sure you use an address you will remember. Than do a search on Google or wherever for "IP address changing programs". Find a program that will give you a free trial period and allows you to use US ip addresses. Once you find this program and use it, you will be on the internet using a US ip address. Which in case you are wondering, is not illegal to do. Than simply buy whatever you want from Adobe. The billing address will match the credit card you have on file and all fraud filters will think nothing of it. And since you don't actually need anything shipped, and can simply download the product, you won't need to put a shipping address down. Adobe will think you are a US citizen ordering from the United States and you'll get your product at US rates. Just remember after you've made the purchase to go back and change the fake address to your real one. I realize this doesn't make you feel any better about the fact that you are being screwed, but it made me feel better to know that I could go around it. OH..just one more thing! Before you go back to order your adobe product from the adobe site, DELETE all of your cookies!!!! Adobe likes to know where you are coming from to redirect you to the proper pricing structures on their site. Get rid of the cookies, log on with a US ip address and Adobe will think nothing of it. It actually works!

  35. dlibine

    Make yourself heard!!!

    Hi everyone!

    Just like all of you, I'm disgusted at the Adobe pricing strategy. And their answer to us is an insult to our intelligence.

    Unless you REALLY need the upgrade, hold it out... the only pressure we have on Adobe is if we don't buy their products.

    Of course we can purchase it from the US, but then US sales go up, EU sales go down and this will give them an even bigger excuse for keeping our prices up (oh, you know, it costs a lot more to do business in Europe...)

    I started a petition that already has 3'000 signatures. I will be sending these results to Adobe, to the EU & Swiss commissions and to the anti-piracy associations, as well as the press.

    If you really want to do something... please sign our petition and DON'T BUY ANYTHING FROM THEM!

    Thanks - petition here:

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