Back in 2008 I had a little rant about Adobe’s pricing model for countries outside the US, specifically Australia. Since then I’ve spoken to several Adobe employees at conferences in the US about this, but have received no satisfactory answer as to why there is such a discrepancy between the prices I see on the US website and the prices Adobe insists I pay because I live in Australia. Those employees were as baffled as me, and I got feedback that the pricing in other countries, such as the UK, was just as confusing when compared to the US pricing.
So why bring this up again? Because someone from Adobe called me the other day and offered to look into the pricing situation. She called me back yesterday and said that the reason she was given for the price discrepancies was ‘taxes’. Well, to put not too fine a point on it, that’s just bullsh*t.
Here’s why: Australia has the GST, which is a flat 10% tax on ALL goods and services. If you buy something from a store here, there are no state taxes, county taxes, city taxes, other sales taxes and levies like in the US. In Australia you pay the ticketed price on the item, which invariably includes the GST (e.g. a $99 item is actually $90 retail price + $9 GST). That’s it. Very simple.
The GST applies to most goods and services purchased within Australia, including software. It applies to goods purchased from outside Australia if the cost of the item exceeds $1000, otherwise the item is GST-free.
So with that information, let’s look at how Adobe prices its software in Australia and the US. I’ve used Adobe Captivate 5.5 and the eLearning Suite in my examples, both the upgrade prices and the full price (for Captivate 5.5 only), and have used www.xe.com for converting the prices from Australian dollars (AU$) to US dollars (US$) and vice versa. All price conversions were done on the same day within about an hour, so currency fluctuations aren’t an issue.
For ease of comparison, I’ve converted all Australian dollar prices to US dollars — see below for screen shots of conversion values.
|Captivate 5.5 Upgrade||$149||$265||$116 (~80%) more in Aust|
|Captivate 5.5 New||$799||$1389||$590 (~75%) more in Aust|
|eLearning Suite Upgrade||$399||$695||$296 (~75%) more in Aust|
Bottom line: Adobe charges its Australian customers nearly double the price it charges for its US customers. A 10% tax is neither here nor there with that sort of price gouging, which is why I said that the explanation of ‘taxes’ was bullsh*t. Besides, the Australian prices I found on the Adobe store already INCLUDE the 10% GST, so those 75–80% increases are on top of the tax.
Buying from the US Adobe store is NOT an option — while I can provide a US address as I have family there, I need a US credit card too. So I either don’t buy upgrades regularly (thus doing Adobe out of a revenue stream), or I find other ways to buy the product without going through Adobe at all (still doing Adobe out of a revenue stream!).
Would anyone from Adobe like to explain why we get screwed on the prices we pay for a DOWNLOADABLE product, which most likely comes from US servers no matter where we live and pay for it?
And I’d be happy for those from other countries outside the US to comment on the prices they pay (converted to US dollars for a fair comparison).
US prices: $149 to upgrade to Captivate 5.5 from Captivate 5 (which I have) and $399 to upgrade to the eLearning Suite.
Those US upgrade prices in Australian currency:
To buy Captivate 5.5 without an upgrade (i.e. new), the prices are US$799 in the US and AU$1337 in Australia:
Update 13 February 2013: According to one news report, it’s cheaper to fly to the US to buy some Adobe products than buy them in Australia! http://www.news.com.au/technology/biztech/it-is-cheaper-to-fly-to-us-than-buy-adobe-software-in-australia/story-fn5lic6c-1226576920561