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Adobe To Australians: Fly To US For Cheaper Software

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the sometimes-the-simplest-solution-eludes-us dept.

Australia 255

angry tapir writes "It's been a long-running joke that it's cheaper for Australians to get a plane ticket to the U.S. if they want to buy Adobe's Creative Suite instead of paying local prices. But appearing before a parliamentary inquiry into the disparity between IT prices in Australia and elsewhere, Adobe's local chief appeared to suggest just that." Other companies gave their responses to the inquiry as well. Microsoft said they'll simply charge what the market will bear. Apple tossed out a host of reasons for the price difference; its retail partners, digital content owners, exchange rates, taxes, import duties, and an apparent inability to alter the price set by its U.S. parent company.

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255 comments

Regional licensing agreements? (5, Insightful)

Looker_Device (2857489) | about a year ago | (#43245335)

I don't know if this applies to software, but I know that music and movies have been seriously hindered by archaic regional licensing agreements going back to the days when physical media was the only means of distribution. It's why a certain DVD may be available in a certain region at price x, while completely unavailable or at a different price in region y (with a different distributor or even with a completely different edition of the movie/song). This old system has become a HUGE annoyance in the modern streaming era, particularly if you're trying to watch Netflix outside the U.S. (since those movie licensing agreements are still such a goddamned mess, even in an era when streaming crosses every old national and regional border). It's also why I have to import my blu-ray of "More American Graffiti" from the UK instead of being able to buy it here in the U.S.

This may also explain why these weird prices apply specifically to the standard physical boxed sets of Adobe products, and not the newer cloud versions or student editions (as per the article). It may also explain why Adobe is so reticent to talk about it. If they have some long-standing regional licensing/distribution agreement in Australia, they may be reluctant to bad-mouth their local licensees/distributors (who have jacked up the retail prices for whatever reasons).

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (5, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year ago | (#43245453)

All versions of products from all regions, often stripped of any artificial lock-down, are available on a host of file sharing networks.

Saying that, I'm pretty certain that stating "Buy from the US" can be viewed as a blessing on the Grey Import business. Thanks, Adobe!

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (-1, Offtopic)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43245773)

It is like I have always said, a popular black market is proof "You are doing it wrong". Either your prices are too high, you are too restrictive, something, because if you were making your customers happy then the black market wouldn't be popular. Look at how swapping MP3s was once big but now services like Spotify and YouTube have killed a good chunk of that, there really is no reason to bother with P2P when you can have just about any single in return for putting up with a couple of ads.So I really wouldn't blame the people of Australia from just going P2P as its obvious the market isn't serving their needs.

This is gonna be OT but fuck it, there are still some geeks here and I have come across a real head scratcher...here is the sitch, got a customer, mid 50s, plays flight sims and surfs, that's it, but somehow he keeps blowing up computers. for some reason he doesn't blow up laptops JUST desktops, and I can't for the life of me figure out HOW he is doing it. Tried putting it on a UPS in case the power was bad? No good, still blew. I have replaced damned near every part in that machine with new parts, new parts that would still be going if it were anybody else, new CPU, new board, new RAM, the only parts I haven't replaced yet is the case and the GPU but I know the GPU is good as it was mine and I baby my gear and never had a single glitch and the case belonged to my oldest boy who gamed on it for ages without a single hiccup.

So I don't get it, how in the fuck can one old guy keep blowing fucking boards like that? Is it possible to have something wrong with a line that can get past a UPS? Correct me if I'm wrong but I was always told a UPS has the PC run off the battery so that any surges or sags wouldn't affect the PC. And the real stumper is the laptop...why isn't it frying? Its an old Atom netbook so its not like this thing is quality but whatever is causing this has affected it not at all, its ONLY the desktops that blow up. I just can't seem to figure this one out as it doesn't seem to matter where the parts come from, whether they are new or used, it always ends with the system just shutting smooth off and never firing up again. Real head scratcher. I have taken his CPUs and slapped them in another board and had them fire right up so I'm pretty sure he is somehow frying out the boards (although I can't find any obvious damage like blown caps) but I just can't figure out HOW, how can one old guy playing 7 year old flight sims blow up a motherboard protected by a UPS?

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (-1, Offtopic)

Lotana (842533) | about a year ago | (#43246111)

Strange. Any damage on the boards that looks odd? He could have an insect infestation that likes to invade the desktop tower, but laptop is more sealed.

Does he uses the desktop and laptop at the same exact spot? Could be that he got something with heavy interference running near where he uses the tower opposed to laptop.

Are you confident that the UPS is not faulty? In my experience power supplies are the second most common device to fail inside the computer behind the hard drive. Still you mentioned that you replaced all the components...

Is the surface he places the tower on is conductive? Could be he has issues with grounding in the house and the surface the tower on is charged, thus affects the metal case. Laptop is plastic thus not affected.

All of these are really picking at straws; You seem to covered all the obvious causes. This really is a puzzling case. Keep us updated on the case; I am really curious now.

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year ago | (#43246207)

Does he have a nylon carpet and a joystick made mostly of metal?

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (1)

Rhipf (525263) | about a year ago | (#43246379)

I would also look at anything plugged into the desktop that isn't plugged into the notebook (e.g. printer, keyboard, mouse, wired network connection. etc.). It could be one of these devices shorting out the motherboard in some weird way.

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (0)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#43246411)

You said you put a UPS before the power supply, but you never said you replaced the power supply itself. Did you? Most likely, the power supply is faulty and is frying all the rest of the components. The PS is the first thing you should look at in cases like this.

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43246443)

Check his outlet. Might be putting out 240V instead of 110V. Likely has it incorrectly wired to a heavy appliance circuit for laundry/stove/AC unit/etc. The reason why the laptop doesn't blow is that it's power supply automatically switches voltage (designed to allow for international travel), as where most desktop PSUs have a manual voltage select switch on the back.

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (1)

walshy007 (906710) | about a year ago | (#43246491)

In regards to the UPS, some do active filtering, some don't. The filtering ones are more expensive generally though.

Another possibility could be that he is somehow covering the exhaust fans and putting it under some nasty thermal stress

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (5, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year ago | (#43245815)

I'm pretty certain that stating "Buy from the US" can be viewed as a blessing on the Grey Import business.

Actually no. Adobe's Paul Robson made that clear. "If you purchase your Adobe product in the US, we’re not obligated to provide you a warranty. We want you to buy from us."

This is not new to us, it's been going on for years. The gougers have variously blamed retailers, market size, freight costs, warranty differences, rents, taxes, wages, penalty rates and importation and transport costs for their extortionate prices. None of it comes close to explaining their huge markups.

There are no valid excuses.

They're overcharging because they can. Because they're being allowed to use geo-blocking to stop Australians from buying from their websites. Because local retail channels are heavily controlled to block competition. Because their customers are no longer being given the options of competing products.

The market has clearly failed to self-regulate and as a result, deserves government intervention.

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43246043)

The market has clearly failed to self-regulate and as a result, deserves government intervention.

The market [gimp.org] has not failed to regulate Adobe [inkscape.org]

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43246121)

There are no valid excuses.

Since when is a company not allowed to charge whatever it likes for its products...?

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year ago | (#43246205)

When they're manipulating the market to prevent competition.

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#43246285)

None of it comes close to explaining their huge markups.

If you want an explanation, its that people are still (excepting those who buy from the US) willing to pay the inflated prices.

If Im selling bread, and I know people will pay $50 /loaf, why would I charge less than that?

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (2)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year ago | (#43245487)

This may also explain why these weird prices apply specifically to the standard physical boxed sets of Adobe products,

It doesn't.

We don't get physical copies. This is pure price-gouging, no excuses.

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245543)

WTF? What cockheads are modding this Insightful? It's unadulterated bullshit.

1 advantage of Free/Libre Opensource Software (1)

DrYak (748999) | about a year ago | (#43245653)

This old system has become a HUGE annoyance in the modern streaming era, particularly if you're trying to watch Netflix outside the U.S. (since those movie licensing agreements are still such a goddamned mess, even in an era when streaming crosses every old national and regional border).

That's one of the things I like with Free/Libre OpenSource Software:
If I want to download a copy from internet, I can do it from everywhere. I can pretty much get my favourite Linux distro without any licensing / regional distributor / retail chains madness.

Only very few restriction apply.
- Some digital copyright law, might require acquire DRM-decoding libraries from elsewhere (decss not available in the US or some EU countries).
- Some patent law, might require acquiring codecs from elsewhere (no mp3 nor h264 are available wherever software patent apply).
- Some import/export law might require acquiring encryption from elsewhere (do still the USA consider large bits key encryption as "munition" and ban its export ?)

And any way this restrictions boil down to "get these pieces from places where it is not illegal for them to be provided to you"
(most of the time: download them from servers outside of the USA).

You dirty rotten criminal! (1)

Inf0phreak (627499) | about a year ago | (#43245855)

Importing UK Blu-rays into USA? Did you also import a player for them? Otherwise, I don't see how you're not in violation of federal law (i.e. the DMCA) whenever you're watching one of them (Blu-ray region codes [wikipedia.org] ).

Re:You dirty rotten criminal! (5, Funny)

Looker_Device (2857489) | about a year ago | (#43245987)

Fortunately, this particularly blu-ray was region 0, so there was no need for me to become an evil criminal to view it. I have, however, ripped many a tag off a mattress and jaywalked more than once in my life. So I do have a bad-boy side.

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (1)

pablo_max (626328) | about a year ago | (#43246175)

It does. Here in Germany it is a major pain in the ass with copyrights and such. Actually, most modern games cannot be sold in Germany without removing the blood and stuff. Germany always needs special versions.
But, amazingly, it doesn't cost more than I would pay any other place in the EU.
Then again, Germans, being rather frugal folks would just not buy it.

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (1)

jonwil (467024) | about a year ago | (#43246265)

Its ridiculous that I am still (even now) unable to buy either of the Aussie Cult Classic Yahoo Serious Films, Young Einstein or Reckless Kelly on DVD here in Australia.
I imported Young Einstein from the USA many years ago and still dont own Reckless Kelly. I did watch Reckless Kelly a while back on an online video site (where it was doubtless uploaded without the permission of Warner Brothers) but I would gladly walk into JB Hi-Fi or some other store and buy a DVD for my collection if it was possible to do it.

Quite a few other things that are available on DVD elsewhere but not in Australia (The Real Ghostbusters cartoon series for one)

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (1)

jonwil (467024) | about a year ago | (#43246321)

Oh and good luck finding many documentaries from networks like History, National Geographic and Discovery... (Modern Marvels, Tales of the Gun and others)

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#43246495)

You're not missing much with Reckless Kelly, but Young Eisenstein is indeed a national treasure and withholding it from it's people is a cultural travesty of the highest order.

Re:Regional licensing agreements? (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | about a year ago | (#43246483)

It's also why I have to import my blu-ray of "More American Graffiti" from the UK instead of being able to buy it here in the U.S.

I did the same thing with a Harry Potter bluray box set. It was roughly half price to buy it and have it shipped from England via royal mail than to purchase it here in the U.S.

what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245399)

what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax?

Re:what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (0)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43245421)

the company is supposed to pay that, not the customers

along with longer warranties mandated by law and everything else

Re:what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245431)

And you think the company wouldn't pass that cost along to the customers?

Re:what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245721)

Actually yes. They will charge the amount that will bring the most income, that's based on supply and demand not on taxes.

Re:what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43246129)

This. Why should a company accept lower margins in a country that is willing to bear it.

Re:what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (4, Informative)

rakaz (79963) | about a year ago | (#43245541)

Longer warranties, import taxes and sales taxes are just costs of doing business. And costs of doing business are passed along to the customer. Did you really expect a commercial company to let higher costs eat into their profit margin? If taxes are being raised, prices go up. If legislation is passed that makes it more expensive for companies to operate, prices go up.

Re:what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (2)

Eskarel (565631) | about a year ago | (#43245627)

Except of course GST is 10% which is actually less than sales tax in some US states, import taxes on software are, to the best of my knowledge, virtually non existent, and for all the consumer protection laws here, our software warranties are absolutely identical to those of the US. In some instances(Steam for instance) the company doesn't even have a physical presence here.

Even if all those things actually added dramatically to the cost, some of these products are in excess of double the US prices while our dollar is actually worth more. The honest truth is that every single companies real answer is the same as Microsoft's, the Australian economy is doing quite well and a long history of significantly lower exchange rates has made Australians accustomed to substantially higher prices. Customers are willing and able to pay a higher price and so companies charge them a higher price.

Re:what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (1)

rakaz (79963) | about a year ago | (#43245761)

I never said the difference in price is due to taxes and other costs of doing business. Just that if costs increase, so do prices. So if costs of doing business in Australia are higher, you would expect to see higher prices. And this is perfectly acceptable. However if companies think they can jack up prices simply because people will pay anyway that is another question.

Re:what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (2)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about a year ago | (#43246223)

So, on your planet where market forces of supply and demand don't work, does gravity make things fall upward or what exactly do we have going on here?

" If legislation is passed that makes it more expensive for companies to operate, prices go up."

If prices go up and users still pay equally, then any economist will tell you either...
- prices were too low before and/or
- the companies have excessive market power

in either case, the items we're talking about here are expensive enough that it isnt the case of adobe artifically cheapening their price to keep out competitors. does adobe have excessive market power? you tell me: GiMP and other such tools are avialable for free. sounds to me like that they made a good product people want, despite there being cheap alternatives.

Re:what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year ago | (#43245471)

It's GST not VAT, and it doesn't come close to explaining the gouging these companies have been getting away with.

Re:what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (4, Insightful)

rakaz (79963) | about a year ago | (#43245695)

In case of Adobe and Microsoft it certainly does not. And they both admitted as much.

With regards of Apple it isn't as simple. Their hardware isn't much more expensive as in the US and the difference can be explain fairly easy by taxes and increased costs of doing business.

The iTunes store is a while different matter. Apple has to license the content from local copyright holders and prices are set by those local companies.

For example take a song created by an American artists. The American record company holds all rights to the song, but exclusively sub-licenses it to a local Australian company for distribution in their local market. If Apple wants to sell that song, it has to deal with the American record company for distribution in the U.S. and deal with the Australian company if they want to sell it in Australia. And the Australian company wants more money from Apple which leads to higher prices.

Most likely the Australian company is owned by the American record company, so guess where all the profits go to...

Re:what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (1)

j-beda (85386) | about a year ago | (#43246279)

This article has a nice graphic: http://www.macrumors.com/2013/03/21/apple-blames-high-australian-markups-for-digital-content-on-media-rights-holders/ [macrumors.com]

"Earlier today, MacStories noted that markups in Australia average as much as 61.4% for music, 33.5% for movies and 25.9% for TV shows when a subset of content offerings is compared to prices in the United States once Australia's Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been accounted for. Markups for Apple's hardware products are more reasonable, with Mac, iPad and iPod prices in Australia generally falling within 10% of U.S. prices. The iPhone line, however, can go as high as a 16% markup for the iPhone 5 and 4S, while the iPhone 4 is actually slightly cheaper in Australia than it is in the United States."

Even more detail at http://www.macstories.net/stories/quantifying-the-australian-apple-tax/ [macstories.net]

Re:what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (1)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | about a year ago | (#43245759)

Even with the GST and import taxes, if you're working for an Australian business who needs 2 (or more) copies of Adobe CS6, you're still well ahead by flying over to the US and buying them and paying the GST and import tax. At $3879 for the CS6 master collection, your $1600 flight and $1200 software purchase, plus say $300 salary and $100 hotel room for one night still comes out ahead - and for multiple copies, you're laughing.

Re:what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#43246051)

aferarge

Re:what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#43246145)

Even with the GST and import taxes, if you're working for an Australian business who needs 2 (or more) copies of Adobe CS6, you're still well ahead by flying over to the US and buying them and paying the GST and import tax. At $3879 for the CS6 master collection, your $1600 flight and $1200 software purchase, plus say $300 salary and $100 hotel room for one night still comes out ahead - and for multiple copies, you're laughing.

Actually salary would be more like $1200. 2 x 16 hour flights (in Oz, every hour flying is counted as an hour working) plus the time there and back. Also you'll need to get them to spend at least one night in LA (closest city to Oz, although you can also fly to SF, Dallas and Fort Worth for the same amount of money and time). The trip would take the better part of a week, would you work 4 days for only $300? It's less than min wage here in Oz (30 hours = $10 an hour, min wage is $15 is p/h).

It would be easier to purchase a boxed copy from the myriad of stores who ship to Oz and ask them to ship to Oz. Customs takes the mandatory 10% GST (Goods and Services Tax, basically sales tax) and you get your software.

If the govt really cared (and this wasn't just some political sideshow) they'd allow shops to import direct from overseas importers... But it's the govt so I don't hold out much hope for that.

Re:what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax? (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#43246139)

what about the inport taxes? and the VAT tax?

On digital media,

Import taxes = 0%
GST (Goods and Services Tax, our version of the VAT) 10%.

So if a software package costs US$1200 in the States, it should cost about $1320 in Oz. I'll allow up to $1500 to account for a smaller market and physical isolation.

I dont know how Adobe figures it can charge $1600 more for CS6 in Oz than it does in the US.

enjoy your socialist wonderland, suckers (-1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43245445)

that's what you get for all these "consumer friendly" laws and taxes you pass on evil corporations

Re:enjoy your socialist wonderland, suckers (5, Funny)

Looker_Device (2857489) | about a year ago | (#43245493)

If my knowledge of Australia is any indication, they're not socialist. They're either a vast wasteland where people in dune buggies fight over gasoline, or the place where young Einstein learned to party. One of those. Either way, I know they all carry VERY large knives.

Re:enjoy your socialist wonderland, suckers (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#43245555)

If my knowledge of Australia is any indication, they're not socialist. They're either a vast wasteland where people in dune buggies fight over gasoline, or the place where young Einstein learned to party. One of those. Either way, I know they all carry VERY large knives.

You must be Adobe's overseas marketing director.

Re:enjoy your socialist wonderland, suckers (1)

Looker_Device (2857489) | about a year ago | (#43245565)

Our mascot is a Koala.

Re:enjoy your socialist wonderland, suckers (1)

laejoh (648921) | about a year ago | (#43246065)

This here's the wattle, the emblem of our land. You can stick it in a bottle, you can hold it in your hand. Amen!

Re:enjoy your socialist wonderland, suckers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245499)

If you say so...

In the end we just pirate the software as a result anyway (including companies and even some state government), ends up cheaper - and the 'evil companies' end up getting nothing at all, instead of roughly what they'd get in other countries that do get sales.

You mean this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245589)

"Microsoft said they'll simply charge what the market will bear."

I see no socialism here, but capitalism at work.

Re:enjoy your socialist wonderland, suckers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245625)

Australia is the continent down under. Austria is the socialist wonderland and has lower prices than Australia.

What are you on about? (2)

pablo_max (626328) | about a year ago | (#43246225)

Seriously, what the hell are you talking about? Have you ever been to Australia?
It is not "consumer friendly" at all. Granted it is not as hard core as the "stab your neighbor in the face and take his money" capitalism in the US, but it is close. Corporations have massive power over consumers in Australia. Most Australians would attribute this to American corporate and government manipulation. Though I say, BS. It is ones own job to keep his house in order.

Mail it'? (2, Insightful)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | about a year ago | (#43245465)

If this was so easy, couldn't you call a 'friend' in the U.S. and make them mail you a copy?
There has got to be more to this than that.

Re:Mail it'? (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year ago | (#43245531)

These companies have agreements with online merchants like Amazon to block sales of US-priced products to Australia. Trying will get you a "This product is not available in your region" message.

A few people sending packages to friends doesn't make a dent in the gouging.

Re:Mail it'? (2)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year ago | (#43245637)

These companies have agreements with online merchants like Amazon to block sales of US-priced products to Australia.

And there is a whole industry of re-shippers in the US who will receive goods and then forward it on to another (foreign) address.

Re:Mail it'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245967)

I'm pretty sure GP was saying, have your friend who lives in the US with a US address buy it from Amazon. When the box arrives, have your US friend drive to the post office and mail it to Australia.

Re:Mail it'? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43245769)

Sounds like it's simply a coordination problem. I know a bunch of people who would buy a copy of CS (from Amazon, say) and then mail it to a reseller if they could make $100 for their time. Then the reseller could mark it up another $100 and mail it to a customer in Australia.

Re:Mail it'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245919)

And it would STILL be cheaper.

Though wondering why you can't use an american based VPN to do the purchase and the download? download caps?

Re:Mail it'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43246067)

don't know about software, but the mafiaa has special rules in europe that forbids parallel import of DVDs and CDs
before that there was several online stores selling cheaps DVDs and CDs shippingt them from Singapore where the
price is much lower

Didn't someone buying cheap text books marked for "outside US only" and selling them in the US lose in court?

guess globalizetion is only meant to be for companies shopping globally for cheap labour

Re:Mail it'? (4, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43246251)

Didn't someone buying cheap text books marked for "outside US only" and selling them in the US lose in court?

Initially, yes. But it was overturned by the supreme court. [slashdot.org]

Re:Mail it'? (1)

Rhipf (525263) | about a year ago | (#43246467)

If we are thinking of the same case. The person that bought text books out of country and resold them in the US just won at the Supreme Court level. It was ruled that the right of first sale still applied.

Re:Mail it'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245793)

it gets even easier:
1. use an existing US address to register on Adobe's US store (with your real name)
2. buy the download-only version
3. download it
4. ??? right, there's nothing else to do, go to 5.
5. profit !

Re:Mail it'? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43246493)

As long as they don't require your IP address to be located in the USA as well.

Re:Mail it'? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#43245811)

I think the bigger point is "why are they selling it so expensive in australia?" That you could fly to the US and back to purchase it and still save money only illustrates how idiotic the pricing is, it's not actually what anyone would ever do.

Re:Mail it'? (1)

BForrester (946915) | about a year ago | (#43245837)

If this was so easy, couldn't you call a 'friend' in the U.S. and make them mail you a copy?

Customs / import duty.

Re:Mail it'? (1)

jimicus (737525) | about a year ago | (#43246071)

ISTR the original suggestion of "fly to the US and buy it there" accounted for paying any applicable duties on return.

Re:Mail it'? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year ago | (#43246529)

That doesn't stop you. You just pay 10% extra, which is way less than the 50% markup you are avoiding.

Shopping trips are cheaper (4, Informative)

pablo_max (626328) | about a year ago | (#43246259)

Seriously. There are organized trips now to the US. Not just for TVs and games and stuff like that.
People will fly to US and buy their entire kitchen set. (Most can work both 110v and 220v now).
Even after paying the shipping container and the VAT, it is still significantly cheaper than buying in Australia.

They don't get it (4, Funny)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#43245491)

It's just so darn expensive to rewrite all the software upside down for Australia and the rest of the southern hemisphere. That's the entirety of the additional cost!

Re:They don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245647)

It's not the entire cost, you forgot the bit where it had to localised into Australian

Not the problem anymore (1)

pablo_max (626328) | about a year ago | (#43246307)

Those days are over, thanks to Google.
Maybe you have heard of Google's book scanning program? They can rent these machines which take screen shots with the monitor upside down very quickly.
The real problem is that the copy of Adobe acrobat pro needed to perform the OCR is so expensive there, the cost does not come down.

Shouldn't be too shocking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245535)

What do you expect? This happens because of:

Taxes, regulation, customs/tariffs, and a currency inflated by commodity boom currency inflows (the currency risk premium is on the order of that of bitcoins by now).

How many people are buying this needlessly? (1, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year ago | (#43245567)

I know there are plenty of people who really do need Adobe software for various reasons. However, I know there are also lots of people who could get by with GIMP instead of Photoshop and Inkscsape instead of Illustrator (I am one of those later people). I think there is a missed opportunity here for the open source community to gain some traction down under...

Sound business practice. Almost. (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about a year ago | (#43245571)

Where I live prices are sky high. I grumble at it a bit and I do buy from abroad. However, it is to me a sign that the economy I live in can bear the price. As a matter of fact, beginning of may I will take a trip to England to buy tyres for my car. No kidding!

You'd almost say that it is normal, sound business practice to get the most out of your products. For my car tyres it actually is sound and clean business practice as anyone could import those tyres and offer them to me at a lower price. But nobody really bothers because the market for this type of tyre is small.

If MS, Adobe and Apple would "allow" parallel imports (which I think they won't be to keen on) then nothing would be wrong here. I suspect however that should you open a shop in the US to resell the software products to Australia, that you'd have a pretty hard time. Volume rebates and supply would most likely turn out to be disappointing.

The only option is to push globalisation further and to put penalties on uncompetitive behaviour. That would also have the side effect that, say, 3rd world countries would have easier entrance to our food market.

Re:Sound business practice. Almost. (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year ago | (#43245617)

You could buy Adobe products at retail price in the US to export to Australia and still have plenty of headroom to make a very decent margin.

Re:Sound business practice. Almost. (2)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year ago | (#43245839)

Globalization is only valid when you are a large multinational company. When you're a mere consumer, you are obligated to buy from local seller for any price they want to charge. Yep, you can buy abroad, but your government (at least mine does) tries to make such act as most expensive and difficult as possible.

Globalization for corps, feudalism to consumers.

What a load of crap (4, Insightful)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#43245605)

Adobe is just being greedy.. that's all.

Re:What a load of crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245687)

They are doing their job. Create a product people want. Maximize profits by finding that sweet spot of sales vs price. Make the maximum profit for their investors.

Don't like the price? Don't buy it. Enough people don't buy it? The price goes down or the product goes away and a new product fills the vacuum, probably at a lower price point.

Re:What a load of crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245805)

Australians are just being cheap.. that's all.

Re:What a load of crap (2)

dj245 (732906) | about a year ago | (#43245863)

Adobe is just being greedy.. that's all.

It could be a racket created by a mid-to-upper level manager. I worked for a a division of a Japanese company in the USA. Parts were made in the US and sold to our Australian counterparts (USA had lower labor costs than Japan). There was an agreement between the US and Australian divisions that we would keep our markup to the Australian division low. Then they could add their own markup and be at basically the same price as the US. Splitting the margin between divisions basically.

Then a new VP came in and began driving the business into the ground. The only way he could keep things looking good was to rape the Australian business with a 200% markup. The Australian division's customers weren't his customers so he thought he could get away with it. Naturally, the Australians were not too happy about this since their margin had to be cut dramatically, and even then, the prices were laughable.

Businesses to Customers: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245631)

Don't buy our shit. Please don't! Ever again!

Sadly people don't listen even if the corp screams at the top of their lungs like EA does with SimCity.

Steam pricing could use some looking at as well (2)

TribesPlaying-iuSioN (548280) | about a year ago | (#43245645)

I still don't understand why a game that costs $50 in the US should cost 50 euros in Europe.
UK customer don't seem to be affected by these strange currency conversions.

Re:Steam pricing could use some looking at as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245745)

It's called VAT. Not sure how you live in Europe and are unaware of it.

Re:Steam pricing could use some looking at as well (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about a year ago | (#43246183)

Except the UK has VAT too, so there's your argument blown out of the water.

What is it that the US has against VAT? You have sales taxes etc. instead that perform the same purpose. Do you even understand how VAT works (i.e. it only really affects the end-consumer and not the manufacturer or any of the businesses involved in supplying the product)?

I think it's a blanket hatred of something that you don't understand and that you think you have no equivalent of. Clue: Almost all developed countries in the world have the same amount of taxation on the average person. The exceptions are those with blanket-taxation rates and simplified taxation systems that actually tend to lower overall taxation.

You can whine about the TV Licence "tax", road "tax", VAT, and everything else that you like, the fact is that pretty much everyone pays the same amount of tax in all countries.

And hence, the question of why the UK software prices differ from Europe's (literally 30 miles south of us) so vastly is just as important as why Australian prices differ from the US (in fact, more so). And none of it can be attributed to any one tax that's not present in the other country. In fact, almost all of it can be attributed to just one thing - the people buying it don't complain enough.

Re:Steam pricing could use some looking at as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245901)

Pricing of products is way more psychological than anything else. Its about the 50 not the sign

Competition Yadda (3, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#43245675)

They can charge what they want to with pretty much no competition. Why not fire up a kickstarter campaign to add whatever features are missing to their open source competition? Maybe it'd be cheaper to hire some programmers to do that, as well. Especially since that could be a project funded and worked on globally.

Microsoft Honest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245691)

At Least Microsoft was honest.

They are all simply charging what the market will bear. Apparently Australians want Creative Suite so badly that they will pay a fortune for it So, why shouldn't Adobe charge more?

To use the old car analogy, it's no different than Toyota's "Availability charge". An extra $1,000 or $2,000 just because that model is popular and selling well.

The only real question is; will the Australian parliament attempt outlaw business profits or the business profits of foreign companies. If they do, then I would expect these companies to stop doing business in Oz and for Australians to HAVE to fly out of the country to buy their software.

Inexplicable pricing. (3)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about a year ago | (#43245703)

In my experience Adobe software is more expensive outside the United States in general. It's understandable in Europe where they've got 20% VAT, in addition to a ton of other tariffs. But in Australia their VAT is 10%, considered one of the lowest in the world; I suppose, except for the US which has none. There may be import duties that are not being mentioned here, but it still wouldn't explain why the software is $1000 more expensive than in the US.

However, I've noticed the trend elsewhere, including where I worked in Taiwan. Where Adobe software was considerably more expensive. It was ironic considering how rampant piracy was there. In our case we went through grey market channels, where someone purchased a bunch of copies in the US and resold them there. That or we'd get someone in the States to buy us a copy. Either way, we definitely weren't rushing out to buy the latest versions. So if anything, Adobe was discouraging sales.

There was a lot of weirdness. Some software was cheaper than in the US. But then electronics were barely on par, and in some cases even Taiwanese-made laptops, for example, were actually cheaper than you'd find in the US. I do know that companies were levied various taxes and tariffs so that may have accounted for some of it.

As far as I know, Australia's median income isn't higher than the US. So it seems that for whatever reason Adobe is gouging them. That said, good luck finding a plane ticket for anywhere near $1000.

Re:Inexplicable pricing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245867)

It's not that the plane ticket is ~$1000 - it's that the cost of flying return to the US plus the cost of the Adobe Suite is cheaper than it would be to buy the Suite in Australia.

No warranty? Not an issue (5, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | about a year ago | (#43245723)

FTFA: "Adobe’s US software can be used in Australia but not covered by warranty, he said."

Really? Since when do they have a real warranty on software anyhow?

Oh wow. (3)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about a year ago | (#43245751)

A company gave an honest answer?
I was expecting all of these companies to give bullshit reasons, and Microsoft just straight up said "Oh, lol, cause we can :D"

There's always the free market solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245869)

Make your own.

Or pirate.

Yay Adobe, Apple, and Microsoft! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245879)

Keep the huge price jacks going! And jack them up by at least the same percentage next year. Also make sure your BSA keeps up their work.

While normally I am not opposed to pirating, please people do not pirate their software!! Just stick with good old FOSS.

no worries, mate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43245885)

Australians to Adobe: bugger off.

Bit** please (5, Interesting)

dafradu (868234) | about a year ago | (#43245955)

Australia Adobe store - Creative Suite 6 Master Collection - US$ 4,530.00
Brazil Adobe store - Creative Suite 6 Master Collection - US$ 5,055.00

Brazil, where a car made here is sold for R$ 56.210, and the same car, but with more optionals, is exported to Mexico (over 7000 Km away) and is sold there for R$ 25.800. Take that Australia!

Re:Bit** please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43246233)

Romanian Adobe Store - CS6 Master Collection - € 3,329.61 aka 4307.18 USD.
No wonder it's almost exclusively pirated, given the fact that the minimum salary is about 200 USD, and the average salary is 400 USD.

Is it any wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43246005)

So then these companies (Adobe, Microsoft, Apple, etc.) freak out when so much of their software is pirated. I lived in Spain a number of years and the pirated software is everywhere including in government. They can't afford to buy it so they steal it. Not to mention the open software movement. These companies are the reason it does so well in these poorer countries.

back to piracy then (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43246077)

This makes me feel like going back to pirating Microsoft software, especially knowing that for every dollar I give them they pay $0 in tax. If they could raise their profits by eating babies, they'd do it, to the mantra of "that's business".

ftfy (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#43246161)

Robson said the cloud-delivered software is cheaper because it doesn’t have to go through traditional distribution and retail channels. He added that Adobe would prefer selling products over the cloud.

cloud deliverrd software is cheaper because we will make more money over time with a subscription model that reaches into your pocket for a seemingly small amount, than a large upfront fee that causes everyone to pirate.

How stupid are you Ozzy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43246273)

If shit is expensive, leave it linger. Who gives a flying cockadoodledoo what it costs somewhere else... Adobe is way overrated and a greedy bastard famous for shafting people, none this is news...

Fortunately it's not the only player around.

Whiners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43246339)

The fact that Australians keep buying this stuff in spite of the price, shows that it's not really too expensive. If it were too expensive, they'd just say no, or they'd do as many people suggest, and import it themselves.

This is really about envy. Australians aren't saying software prices are high; they're saying they're higher than the prices Americans are paying. Maybe they're higher for some stupid and unfair reasons, but they're still not high, as evidenced by the purchases. It's like someone being content with their salary, then they find out how a coworker make more money, and suddenly they're "underpaid."

What's especially hilarious is that the examples are all about "boxed" software: commodity stuff which is relatively easily replaced. If they were complaining that the native programmers were charging too much for custom development, I might have some sympathy, but that's not what I'm hearing.

You can whine that Gimp or a hundred other image utilities aren't suitable replacements for Photoshop for some particular job, but for most people's jobs (including mine) PS really is replaceable. I bet that's the case for 90% of Adobe's sales, if I may pull a stinky number out of my hairy ass.

JUST SAY NO! Those three words solve most of life's problems, and this problem is just another example. But people don't say no, and that leads me to the conclusion that there isn't really any "problem" at all. Australians, I declare that you are happy.

Third World Currency (1)

HungWeiLo (250320) | about a year ago | (#43246431)

Last time I was in Kauai and Maui, it seemed like a huge chunk of the tourists were now from Australia. I talked to some of them, and they said it's actually cheaper for them to vacation in Hawaii than Bali which is closer (and more third world). And of course they said all this while doing the hand motion for throwing dollar bills out in front of them while ordering a free round for everyone around them.

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