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Old 02-21-2010   #51
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Amazed how people are ready to spend multiple thousands of dollars on (partially used) hardware, Leicas, MF cameras, scanners and the like, and do not recognize that software needs to be engineered as well.

Roland.
But we do! We understand that a good product like CS4 should cost money. But we are not prepared to pay 33% more than other parts of the world.
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Old 02-21-2010   #52
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True, but I question the extent of those differences in English-speaking countries, at least. An upgrade or a bug fix that works in the U.S. and Canada ought to work just fine in the UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa. Translation does add cost, but is that enough to generate a near-doubling of price in some Euro markets? I believe much of Adobe's serious tech support is sold as separate products.
We are talking here of 'English' versions of CS4. Translated version are even more expensive. Which means that they are hardly sold here in Norway at all.
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Old 02-21-2010   #53
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True, but once the code is finalized, there is no cost for assembly, testing, shipping, etc. You pull it down from a server and burn DVD's. You can't really compare the costs of distributing and selling software with those of hardware.

As I alluded to earlier, I know that Microsoft products available in the UK when I was there -- the mid-1990's -- were pressed in Ireland, yet sold for almost twice their U.S. price. If you asked the shop about it, they'd say it cost a lot to ship the product from the States.
No cost for testing and shipping? Yeah, I'd hire YOU as my accountant. We'd be in bankruptcy court PDQ...

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Old 02-21-2010   #54
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True, but once the code is finalized, there is no cost for assembly, testing, shipping, etc. You pull it down from a server and burn DVD's. You can't really compare the costs of distributing and selling software with those of hardware.
Manufacturing doesn't really impact the geography-dependent costs.

Support does. And for software, support is expensive. It includes software updates, phone support, remote marketing, etc. My wife had a problem with her Norton license the other day. She literally spent half a day on the phone and on the internet to get it fixed - a technically trivial issue. She spent more time than buying a new Norton copy would have cost.

Average support quality for many services in the US is lousy, compared to Europe, and worse, consumers are used to it. Ever played phone tag with PG&E or AT&T ? That's why support is cheaper here.

I used to work in a tiny Swiss software company. Like our competitors, we did have a 100% markup for Japan, and justifyably so, since we had traveling, local support and marketing overhead. The product was manufactured in Switzerland, and sent via ftp on release.


It's not trivial. We ourselves make the choice where we live. I live about 30 miles away from Adobe. House prices here are probably twice (?) the equivalent house prices in Oslo. Taxes are completely different. And so is health care, unemployment insurance and other benefits. Warrantee laws are different. Why should product prices be the same across all geographies ? Just because the product can be had via an internet connection ?

BTW, Nikon and Canon camera prices are different when you compare grey vs. US market prices. And German cars are more expensive in the US than in Germany, even when built in the US. Also, they are usually configured differently. Etc.

We're talking about Adobe, not AIG.

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Old 02-21-2010   #55
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No cost for testing and shipping? Yeah, I'd hire YOU as my accountant. We'd be in bankruptcy court PDQ...
i'll grant you local shipping, i.e., from a local pressing shop, but I won't grant international shipping costs unless the finished cellophane-wrapped box is actually shipped internationally. As I said, UK buyers not so long ago were told Microsoft prices were high because they were flown in from the U.S., when, in truth, they were trucked in from Ireland.

And, as I mentioned above, Adobe offers download as a delivery option. Meaning, no shipping costs at all.

As for testing, do we know for a fact that PS is subject to a different testing regime for the European market? Is there a reason why my American copy of PS would develop problems if I moved to Europe?

Do we know exactly how different is the product sold in Europe?
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Old 02-21-2010   #56
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Originally Posted by ferider View Post
Manufacturing doesn't really impact the geography-dependent costs.

Support does. And for software, support is expensive. It includes software updates, phone support, remote marketing, etc. My wife had a problem with her Norton license the other day. She literally spent half a day on the phone and on the internet to get it fixed - a technically trivial issue. She spent more time than buying a new Norton copy would have cost.

Average support quality for many services in the US is lousy, compared to Europe, and worse, consumers are used to it. Ever played phone tag with PG&E or AT&T ? That's why support is cheaper here.

I used to work in a tiny Swiss software company. Like our competitors, we did have a 100% markup for Japan, and justifyably so, since we had traveling, local support and marketing overhead. The product was manufactured in Switzerland, and sent via ftp on release.


It's not trivial. We ourselves make the choice where we live. I live about 30 miles away from Adobe. House prices here are probably twice (?) the equivalent house prices in Oslo. Taxes are completely different. And so is health care, unemployment insurance and other benefits. Warrantee laws are different. Why should product prices be the same across all geographies ? Just because the product can be had via an internet connection ?

BTW, Nikon and Canon camera prices are different when you compare grey vs. US market prices. And German cars are more expensive in the US than in Germany, even when built in the US. Also, they are usually configured differently. Etc.

We're talking about Adobe, not AIG.

Roland.
Agree, those are all legitimate reasons for price differences. Certainly better than just asserting "because we can".

And, as any American who even occasionally visits Europe knows, it's a more expensive place to live. Or, at least, shop. The different levels of support provided by tax dollars makes direct comparisons tricky.

These things work both ways, too. I have a fair number of books purchased in the UK that were also published in the U.S. The U.S. version, after the currency conversion, is usually considerably less expensive.

Used camera equipment also seems to be noticeably more expensive from the online venues of European businesses like Leicashop.

Customer support certainly sucks in the U.S., pretty much across the board. People read canned answers from a canned script. Unless I buy a package, Adobe support seems to be limited. I once posted a question on their site and got a response back a month later. Nothing, however, can compare to the agony of customer service at my local cable outfit.
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Old 02-21-2010   #57
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[quote=wgerrard;1265791As I said, UK buyers not so long ago were told Microsoft prices were high because they were flown in from the U.S., when, in truth, they were trucked in from Ireland.[/quote]
Maybe the cost of losing all those trucks in the Irish Sea.
Download difference is most likely the cost difference in support and tariffs. If a product is 'made' in the US isn't it still imported by a country to be downloaded. Import tariffs would apply and be different for EU and non EU countries.

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Old 02-21-2010   #58
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French wine costs more to buy in the US than it does in France... The outrage!
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Old 02-21-2010   #59
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I am sure most Americans would think twice about paying that much.
Which is probably why they don't.

Price is what the market will pay and if the European market is willing to pay more than the American one, then you can't really blame Adobe for taking advantage of it. Any more than you can blame Leica for instance for charging what they do for an M.

Convince all of Europe not to buy at this price and then you might get change. Or contribute to making GIMP better.
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Old 02-21-2010   #60
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French wine costs more to buy in the US than it does in France... The outrage!
A few weird comparisons going on here, but this one takes the cake. You don't see the difference between wine and software?

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Old 02-21-2010   #61
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Which is probably why they don't.

Price is what the market will pay and if the European market is willing to pay more than the American one, then you can't really blame Adobe for taking advantage of it. Any more than you can blame Leica for instance for charging what they do for an M.

Convince all of Europe not to buy at this price and then you might get change. Or contribute to making GIMP better.
This is indeed the point we are trying to make; there is no consumer market for a CS4 at $ 1,375. I am sure there is no market for the CS4 at this price level in the US either.
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Old 02-21-2010   #62
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This is indeed the point we are trying to make; there is no consumer market for a CS4 at $ 1,375. I am sure there is no market for the CS4 at this price level in the US either.
I got your point.

Mine was that you might have better luck writing to their customer service department or retailers that carry their product and actually trying to organize something useful.

What did you think you were going to achieve ranting on RFF.

For what its worth, I use the GIMP and RawTherapee. Avoid piracy, complaints about the price and does what I need.
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Old 02-21-2010   #63
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A few weird comparisons going on here, but this one takes the cake. You don't see the difference between wine and software? martin
Not from a product mark-up standpoint. If I want something and it's only made in X country, and that's the only game in town, a variable portion of my mark up will go to "economic rent".... Pricing is about "what the market will bear"... if "what the market will bear" is greater in the European market than it is in the US market... that's the price.

Perhaps a better example are DVDs and the whole "region" thing. DVDs cost pennies to produce, the US consumer pays $20-ish per title for major releases domestically. China is a huge market but they ain't spending a week's worth of wages in their economy on a DVD, so in their region the same exact DVD I paid $20 US for cost the Chinese $1.50, or whatever.

The intitial post suggests Adobe is treating the Europeans unfairly or is discriminating. Far be it from me to defend any SW giant, but in this case it's just not true. This kind of thing goes on all the time, pricing discrepencies - some rather significant, always exist between domestic product and import items for a variety of reasons, some political. You pay more for US software, we pay more for your _____ product. It's about what price a market will bare, business is business... If Adobe would increase revenue by lowering price in Europe, -snap- they'd do it in a heartbeat. Wanna lower Adobe's price? Quit buying their software. Watch the price sink like a rock.

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Old 02-21-2010   #64
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You pay more for US software, we pay more for your _____ product. It's about what price a market will bear, business is business... If Adobe would increase revenue by lowering price in Europe, -snap- they'd do it in a heartbeat. Wanna lower Adobe's price? Quit buying their software. Watch the price sink like a rock.
It's not that simple. Adobe is the leader by a long run in its market segment. It is THE standard for imaging software in the creative field and as such it has a quasi monopoly. For most people working in this field not using Adobe products simply isn't an option as there's no real competition around. I'd venture to say that the could even double the price tomorrow and a lot of people would still buy it because they have to.

This pseudo free market argument "it's about what the market will bare" is way too simplistic. This only works when there is real competition. That's why we (at least in my country) have government agencies whose job it is to prevent the formation of cartels that artificially keep the prices high just because the market will pay anything they ask.

Now I'm in no way suggesting that this is the case with Adobe or that the government should intervene in their price policy but I'm saying that such a simplistic view of "the market" as is often presented by many politicians just doesn't cut it. The market's more complex than that.

What should one do about Adobe's high price discrepancies? Just not buy their products and shut up? I say no. I say make some noise, rant all you want, tell your friends about it. If enough people do it it may reach the point where they have to spend more on marketing to counteract the bad press than what they're making by keeping the prices high.
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Old 02-21-2010   #65
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The Adobe online store for Europe is ridiculous. You have two options. Download or getting the software package via mail. If I download the software I pay 21% VAT because the download server is located in Ireland, even if VAT in Germany is 19%. If I choose the mail option I pay 10 or 20 EUR shipping cost. So there is no way to get the price I would pay in a store.

But tell me the alternatives? If you need all this highend stuff, there is none. In the middle segment where PSE plays, there are a lot of alternatives but I still like PSE best.
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Old 02-21-2010   #66
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It's not that simple. Adobe is the leader by a long run in its market segment. It is THE standard for imaging software in the creative field and as such it has a quasi monopoly. For most people working in this field not using Adobe products simply isn't an option as there's no real competition around. I'd venture to say that the could even double the price tomorrow and a lot of people would still buy it because they have to.
I think that's probably the case, within reason, for legitimate professionals, i.e., someone whose income is dependent on using Photoshop and who can write off a higher price and/or pass it along to customers.

The full version of Photoshop is not an amateur product, even if they gave it away. It makes too many assumptions about the experience and knowledge of the user. A package intended for amateur photo tweakers would include "click here to make the colors better"-style capability, which is exactly what PSE offers.

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This pseudo free market argument "it's about what the market will bare" is way too simplistic. This only works when there is real competition. That's why we (at least in my country) have government agencies whose job it is to prevent the formation of cartels that artificially keep the prices high just because the market will pay anything they ask.
I agree with that. When one or a small number of companies dominate a market, they become resistant to pressure to lower prices, and can obviously collude to keep prices high.

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What should one do about Adobe's high price discrepancies? Just not buy their products and shut up? I say no. I say make some noise, rant all you want, tell your friends about it. If enough people do it it may reach the point where they have to spend more on marketing to counteract the bad press than what they're making by keeping the prices high.
Well, I don't think complaining about Adobe's prices is going to lower their prices. If they spend more on marketing to counter the complaints, that just increases their costs, which they will likely pass along to customers. Not buying their products might have an impact, if their sales in an individual country are enough to merit their concern.
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Old 02-21-2010   #67
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My conclusion is that while the camera producers have been very fast at adjusting to the new reality of consumers 'buying where it is cheaper', Adobe still lives in a world where they think they can charge 30% more for the same product depending on 'what country'. They will, I am sure, prosper from changing their price policy to the same as that of Canon and Nikon. That simple.
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Old 02-21-2010   #68
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Not from a product mark-up standpoint. If I want something and it's only made in X country, and that's the only game in town, a variable portion of my mark up will go to "economic rent".... Pricing is about "what the market will bear"... if "what the market will bear" is greater in the European market than it is in the US market... that's the price.

Perhaps a better example are DVDs and the whole "region" thing. DVDs cost pennies to produce, the US consumer pays $20-ish per title for major releases domestically. China is a huge market but they ain't spending a week's worth of wages in their economy on a DVD, so in their region the same exact DVD I paid $20 US for cost the Chinese $1.50, or whatever.

The intitial post suggests Adobe is treating the Europeans unfairly or is discriminating. Far be it from me to defend any SW giant, but in this case it's just not true. This kind of thing goes on all the time, pricing discrepencies - some rather significant, always exist between domestic product and import items for a variety of reasons, some political. You pay more for US software, we pay more for your _____ product. It's about what price a market will bear, business is business... If Adobe would increase revenue by lowering price in Europe, -snap- they'd do it in a heartbeat. Wanna lower Adobe's price? Quit buying their software. Watch the price sink like a rock.
It is not true what you are claiming. Look up the prices of Canon 5D II or Nikon D70 around the world. Any difference can be explained by taxation or currency fluctuations. A Canon 5D II cost practically the same all over the world, tax free. If any large difference appear, like under the big dollar crash of 2008, customers will soon find that out and pick up the advantage. Like what many European photo gear customers did back in late 2008. They picked up a ticket to New York, they still go for about $ 1,000, and bought enough photo gear to save more than $ 2,000.

This is what is happening with Adobe CS4 too. Companies and professional users might still buy CS4 at $ 1,100 tax free here in Norway. But advanced amateurs buy them overseas (NY, Abu Dabi, Canary Islands, Hong Kong etc.) for $ 600 tax free. Their alternative is buying them in Norway - included VAT, for $ 1,375. I am sure, quite a few professionals, like lone professional photographers, do also buy them overseas for $ 600.
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Old 02-21-2010   #69
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i'll grant you local shipping, i.e., from a local pressing shop, but I won't grant international shipping costs unless the finished cellophane-wrapped box is actually shipped internationally. As I said, UK buyers not so long ago were told Microsoft prices were high because they were flown in from the U.S., when, in truth, they were trucked in from Ireland.

And, as I mentioned above, Adobe offers download as a delivery option. Meaning, no shipping costs at all.

As for testing, do we know for a fact that PS is subject to a different testing regime for the European market? Is there a reason why my American copy of PS would develop problems if I moved to Europe?

Do we know exactly how different is the product sold in Europe?
Even with download, one has to consider the cost of the server farm where the files come from. There is cost of the hardware, the OS license on the servers, rent or mortgage on the building, not to mention employee costs.

True, a software based distribution system will lead to cheaper product than mailing boxes around. I'm betting iTunes makes more per song at 99 cents than when I bought a vinyl 45RPM record back in the day for $1.29 or whatever, but I thought your assumption in the message I replied ignored many of the expenses incurred by Adobe. I'd like to look at their financials, but I'm too lazy to do so. The idea that testing costs ends when CS4 is released for example, would assume that these resources aren't maybe starting work on CS5 or Elements9, or whatever the next product in the pipeline may be.

I do agree with the OP that I'd be offended if I paid more for any product than cost of product elsewhere plus applicable taxes.

As for your testing and version questions, they are good ones, but I have no idea how to answer them, except that I'm sure a US version run on a computer in France will work just fine.
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Old 02-21-2010   #70
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The prices of many software products are different all over the world but so are things like import and distribution taxes for doing business in any given country. Adobe no doubt employs people somewhere in Europe and that costs them a certain amount of money, probably more than what it does per person in the USA. There's many issues at work that determine the final price you purchase something at, it's not all Adobe being predatory and thinking they can swing one over on the Euros. But I'd take it to them and ask directly "why?" if you're a potential customer, they owe this much to you to explain it, and if it sounds like a fabrication then it probably is... move on and support someone else.

Having made my living with adobe products for some time I'll fully admit to having used pirated software of theirs for years. I was a student putting myself through school and I simply couldn't afford it even at the educational discounts... that being said I now own pretty much all of their products, with multiple user licenses and think their software is well worth the money. Once I started charging people for my output I figured it fair to pay them for theirs.
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Old 02-21-2010   #71
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A few weird comparisons going on here, but this one takes the cake. You don't see the difference between wine and software?

martin
I think the comparison goes together quite well...I know the work I do on Photoshop improves greatly after a few glasses of wine!
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Old 02-21-2010   #72
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The VAT, but also the event of internet, has changed the photo business drastically. But also the jewels, expensive watches - anything compact & expensive that can be transported easily. These products you don't buy back home here in Europe anymore. A hefty VAT is common in most European countries. In Germany 19% of the sales price is VAT. 21% in Ireland, 20% in Norway, Sweden and Finland - and so on. Most likely, USA will have to introduce some kind of VAT in the future. I see this is being discussed on Bloomberg TV and so on. Then you will see the advantages of going to tax free havens.
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Old 02-21-2010   #73
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We can drop the special language part. It is not relevant since we are talking of 'English version' only. A 'Norwegian' CS4 is so expensive that it is only relevant for Hasselblad users. We can drop the tax part. Which leaves us with 'nothing' substantial as arguments as to why a CS4 should cost $ 500 more in Norway than in USA.

No. We are not buying that many CS4s. Particularly not here in Norway. That could change if Adobe applied a price policy more adjusted to the international realities. - Like what Canon and Nikon have done. Adobe has a range of excellent products. Give us an oportunity to not feel like the stupid farmers we most likely are - and we just might buy the stuff.
I agree.

It is in countries like the Scandinavian countries, Ireland, Germany, Italy etc - with consumers with a high purchasing power and a relatively large community of semi pro/advanced amateurs that well could fall for a time limited campaign with favourable prices of CS4. Pro users, many of whom are willing to pay the $ 1,100 regardless, will not hop on such campaign offers. This because purchases are tied to budgets and investment decisions, an so on. While an amateur/semi pro on a consumer-like budget would certainly take the advantage of a favourable offer.
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Old 02-21-2010   #74
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One poster asked why somebody who buys expensive cameras won't pay for software... Actually there are good reasons:

1.) A good film camera does not require me to purchase an update every 3 years when I change operating systems! I bought CS and shortly upgraded to Tiger 10.4. Acrobat never did work properly again.... Now, who's ripping whom off here!?

2.) My film camera does not collect information about me and require data to be sent to the manufacturer to "reactivate" what I purchased. Why should I pay for an invasion of privacy?

3.) I'm using a Lightroom 2 now, but since Adobe won't support PPC processors anymore, I'm changing to Bibble 5 now that it supports the M8. Here, software companies are working together to force this continual cycle of upgrades down my throat! Alas, the Captialist business model at it's best.

Actually, in my view, software is much less valuable than hardware from a customer point of view, because REAL hardware should last without having to pay for updates...

Grrr.

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Old 02-21-2010   #75
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It's not that simple. Adobe is the leader by a long run in its market segment. It is THE standard for imaging software in the creative field and as such it has a quasi monopoly. For most people working in this field not using Adobe products simply isn't an option as there's no real competition around. I'd venture to say that the could even double the price tomorrow and a lot of people would still buy it because they have to.
Disagree on two points. It is what the market will bare. In fact, you have it backwards. The more competition exists, the less it's about "what the market will bare" and the more it's about price equilibrium. For example, commodity items - wheat for instance. The market may "bare" twice or three times the cost per bushel. However, because it's a commodity item with lots of farmers producing wheat, supply drives every person to the same price per bushel - the farmer has "zero" influence on the price of his produce - even if the market will "bare" a higher prince.

In a monopoly - and I disagree completely that Adobe has a "monopoly" on image editing SW at all but I'll play along, they could charge $100,000 per license but they would find themselves soon out of business. What price do they charge? The highest price the market will bare.
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