Note: This was the only post on the blog I created at WordPress.com and it’s one of the few I’m going to “transplant” to my new blog. The original post was 25 August 2007 so we are talkin’ a bit of old news here.
I was looking at a web site for a new podcast I started listening to called the Pro Photography Show. One of the posts on their blog concerned the high cost of priority support for Adobe’s products. To summarize it: you can pay per incident ($40), pay for a five incident “pack” ($175), pay for annual support of a single product like Photoshop ($1200) or annual support of a suite like CS3 Design Standard or the Master Collection ($1600). The author of the post pointed out that the new pricing was a 640% increase over previous subscriptions. (He quotes $250.)
I think the post glossed over an important point. I agree their pricing structure is rather lop-sided but you also have to remember the number of products in the Adobe line-up, particularly in the Creative Suite, has gotten quite large. $1200 support for Photoshop alone might not make sense, but $1600 for a Premium Suite or the Master Collection might be understandable. CS2 Premium had five apps (Ps, Id, Il, Gl, Ac) plus ancillaries (Br, Vc, Sp, etc). If you have one of the CS3 Premium suites you would have a similar number and the Master Collection doubles it (Id, Ps, Il, Ac, Fl, Dw, Fw, Ct, Ae, Pr, Sb, En) plus the ancillaries. In short, the annual cost is spread over more products.
How many times does the average user need to talk to someone? The Adobe web site says “regularly” for the Silver support option, “frequently” for Gold and “at a moments notice” for the Platinum option. I have only been using CS since 2005 and the issues I’ve had didn’t require a phone call. I could get my answers via the Adobe User Forums or books or other web sites.
I think Adobe targets their support to professionals, people using their apps and suites to get their job done. People willing to pay $1500-$2500 for software are likely to want/need the quicker response time. And Adobe isn’t unique. Microsoft, Apple, and other companies charge for priority access for support. Maybe it’s their way of reducing the load: you aren’t going to pay $40 to ask someone how to open a file, you’re going to find other sources of basic information.