On Adobe's US site, a full copy of Photoshop CS5 Extended costs $US699. On its Australian site, the same software costs $1519. That massive gap (evident in virtually everything the company sells) has long been a source of complaint for Aussie buyers, but Adobe says an update to its pricing structures before the middle of the year will reduce the gap.
I spoke with Michael Stodart, Adobe's APAC product marketing manager, yesterday and he said that the planned release of Creative Suite 6 later this year will also see an adjustment where Australian pricing will be aligned more closely to the US. Stodart didn't give an exact date or indicative pricing for standalone products, but noted that Adobe's forthcoming Creative Cloud subscription service — which includes software access and publishing services — would cost $63 a month in Australia, compared to $US50 a month in the US. That's still not a direct dollar-for-dollar translation, but it is a less extreme exaggeration than currently seen (especially when allowing for differences in US taxes and currency conversion fees).
Stodart also pointed out that because Adobe doesn't want to undercut physical resellers, buying via its site is often actually the most expensive way to access software. If you're not hanging out for a physical copy, online shopping might actually produce a slightly cheaper result.
There are solid free alternatives such as GIMP, but Adobe's products remain popular, especially amongst creative professionals. For people who have to pay for them, not being slugged quite so heavily for having an Australian address will be a welcome development. Creative Cloud is due for release in the first half of 2012.