I don't review
software that I haven't actually installed and run on my own computer,
and I can't possibly afford to buy most of the software I review.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983
T e c h n o f i l e
Adobe hurting itself with high prices, fewer review copies
Jan. 11, 2009
By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2008, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2008, The Post-Standard
Adobe, the company that makes Photoshop, is in trouble. Like many other American corporations in the current recession, Adobe is
losing money. It laid off 600 workers in December and has reported losses of as much as $15 million in the last quarter.
Why? Because the economy is bad. Adobe's new version of Photoshop isn't selling as well as Adobe had hoped. That version is
called CS 4 (Creative Suite 4). CS 4 is a superb collection of software, with other major programs included in addition to Photoshop. But it has one
major problem: It's too expensive.
It's so expensive, in fact -- the list price is $1,000, although discounts can cut that in half for some users -- that Adobe
decided last month to limit the number of review copies it sends out to the press. That means, of course, that it will get fewer reviews and sell
fewer copies of CS 4.
So when Adobe's public-relations representative told me I was off the list, I figured Adobe was shooting itself in the foot. I
don't review software that I haven't actually installed and run on my own computer, and I can't possibly afford to buy most of the software I review.
(Let's face it. I'd be broke.) So the review of CS 4 I'd planned on doing this winter won't appear.
I'm telling you about this because I had an epiphany. Or at least a good friend of mine had one and passed it along to me. (No,
an "epiphany" isn't some kind of elephant; it's a sudden thought that's so powerful you simply can't ignore it.) The epiphany my buddy Tom Andrews had
goes like this: CS 4 is just plain too expensive for the typical Technofile reader, so Adobe is doing us all a favor. It's telling us we should be
spending a lot less money on photo-editing software. Maybe even getting it free.
In other words, Adobe was sending me (and you, too, of course) a message: Don't buy Photoshop. Buy something you can afford, or
find something free.
So let this be the winter of our discontent. Let this season of tight money shake us up.
Stuff that costs too much is out; stuff that you and I can get with the price of a double cheeseburger and fries is in. Let's
work together on this. There couldn't be a better time.
Here's what I can do. Starting next week and continuing in occasional columns throughout the winter, I'll explore alternatives
to the high-priced spread, in software of all types, not just photo-editing stuff. I'll tell it to you honestly. No strings -- and no financial
statements -- attached.
Here's what you can do. Write to me and tell me about the less expensive or free software you've discovered. Reach me at my
Gmail address: email@example.com. I'll share the best discoveries with everybody else.