Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Software pricing and upgrades

It's been awhile, but I recently was talking about this, so I thought I rant for a bit to get it out of my system.
Productive software prices are dumb.
Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks...they're all wonderful programs that have literally thousands of uses, but one main problem remains: the new versions are almost identical to the previous ones excepts for a few added features here and there and a cosmetic makeover. The original Photoshop was new, innovative, and a boon for graphic designers everywhere. It was also priced such that only major companies could afford it. I'm no economist, but I think that by now the price should have lowered into something that is more accessible to the general public. I'm not suggesting they lower it to a measly $20, but even at $60 or $70 apiece they would be flying off the shelves. As it stands now, Flash is $700, Dreamweaver is $400, and Photoshop is $650. The price has not been below $200 for the entire lifetime of the products, nor does it seem like they will be lowering their prices anytime soon. The production costs of developing the software must be well paid off by now, and with such software as Flash which currently has only one competitor with similar capabilities (Swish Max), Adobe really has a hold on the market. I really wish I had Flash right now, and would be willing to pay $70 for it, but not anywhere in the vicinity of $700.
All other software companies lower the prices of their products over time as the production costs of creating the software are paid off and the company starts turning some real profit. This is why many of games are often cheaper within one or two year's time. I just wish that someone at Adobe would get a clue and realize that their prices scare their customers away.
To end this rant, I would complete understand a steep price for a new "version" of a program, but only if the company retooled or redesigned a large portion of the program.

1 comment:

Glance_jc said...

Introducing discussion and topic, Chris.

What are the reasons for the cost of software, do you think? Is it only supposed to cover the cost of development on a one to one ratio? Or does it need to cover the cost of all pirated copies in circulation? Or is it just a matter of whatever the market will bear? If a graphic designer must have Photoshop, no matter the cost, what is the incentive to lower it? Gimp is free, but is it serious competition for Adobe?