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Adobe CS4 Sticker Shock

Adobe is shipping its CS4 suite, and I don’t know about you, but sticker shock is my reaction. I use Photoshop CS3 and DreamCrasher (oops DreamWeaver) CS3. Upgrading each costs $199 or $400. The DreamWeaver upgrade is an especially annoying rip-off—the beta I’ve been using crashes more than the CS3 version, and is rife with bugs of all kinds, just like all previous versions. I wouldn’t mind paying for products that are actually supported, but fixing bugs these days is not how the game works, and real support costs big bucks (extra). Not that “support” means fixing bugs.

So I looked at upgrading to one of the suites (where you get to pay even more for future upgrades, such as the 64-bit Mac version of Photoshop, which Adobe conveniently omitted from CS4). I might want to use InDesign or Acrobat Pro. Upgrading to the suite is $799, but DreamWeaver still has to be upgraded for $199. So that’s $1000. Here’s the kicker: if you upgrade Photoshop and DreamWeaver to CS4, and later want the suite, it’s still $799. So much for customer appreciation.

I’ve grown to dislike Adobe policies. It would be one thing if they fixed bugs and the software didn’t crash (it’s a rare day both Photoshop and DreamWeaver don’t crash for me). But they have not fixed bugs as a priority, which means my work is impacted every day. New releases with new bugs are not the answer—I first want high reliability, and then paying the upgrade fees would feel a lot better.

To be clear on “Adobe”, there is the corporate Adobe to which I refer, and then there are the many hardworking individuals working under deadlines and other pressures. My comments are on the policies which I think can stand improving.

Anyone with tips out there on upgrading, send them along and I’ll post them here. I used to have a friend at Adobe who could get me greatly reduced-price versions. Now that was nice...

Update: I made contact with my old friend at Adobe, who at first offered the deep employee discount to me. But then he read this blog entry, and he had such a strong reaction that he retracted the offer! Well, one has to write the Truth as one sees it. Too bad for Adobe is my view, this entry apparently hit a nerve with plenty of Adobe customers who feel as I do, judging by the emails I’ve received. In the long term, that bodes ills for Adobe.

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