Scott Kelby’s open letter to Adobe Systems on CS6 pricing

In case you haven’t heard, Adobe is being kind of dickish with the upgrade pricing for the upcoming Creative Suite 6 (CS6): the (much cheaper) upgrade price is only available if you're upgrading from version 5 or later. If you're on anything before 5, you've got to buy it at full price, where previously they had a sliding scale based on how far out of date you are.

The kicker is, they're announcing this just before releasing CS6. So, if you're on anything but the latest version, you've got to upgrade right now, immediately to version 5 just for the option of paying for the upgrade to CS6 later on.

Scott Kelby nails the sentiment:

While I understand that Adobe needs to make business decisions based on how it sees market conditions, I feel the timing of this new pricing structure is patently unfair to your customers (and our [National Association of Photoshop Professionals] members). Here’s why: You didn’t tell us up front. You didn’t tell us until nearly the end of the product’s life cycle, and now you’re making us buy CS5.5 for just a few months on the chance that we might want to buy CS6 at a discount when it’s released. Otherwise, we have to pay the full price as if we were never Adobe customers at all.

Those users who didn’t upgrade to CS5 or 5.5, either couldn’t afford the upgrade, or couldn’t justify the upgrade, or they would already be on CS5 or 5.5. But now you’re kind of holding us hostage—–you’re making us buy something we don’t need now, just so we will still have the option to get something that we may want (CS6) when it is released without buying it all over again from scratch. You’re playing hardball with your customers—either upgrade twice or you’re out. That’s not the Adobe we know.

I have always felt that Adobe was very customer centric, and that their decisions were based on what’s best for their customers, but in this particular instance I can’t see how cutting off CS4 and CS3 users, and making them either pay two upgrades in a row, or pay the full retail price to get CS6, benefits anybody but Adobe.

He goes on to recommend that if they're going to start this policy, start with CS7 so at least customers have some more time to plan for these not-inconsequential purchases. That sounds reasonable.

On the other hand, I have CS4 and it still works!

Update 13 January 2012: Never mind

Adobe has reversed this policy, so CS5, CS4, and CS3 customers will be eligible for discounts through the end of the year. I guess the "one version back" policy will still happen in 2013, but at least this gives people some more time to plan.

Am I doing it wrong?

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