Yesterday, on his blog, in an open letter to Adobe, National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) President, Scott Kelby asked Adobe to reconsider a new upgrade policy that took most Photoshop users by surprise. The new policy would force anyone using CS4 or earlier to upgrade to CS5 before they could qualify for upgrade pricing on the new version. Users who don't own a copy of CS5 will have to pay full price for CS6.
In his letter Kelby calls the new policy "unfair" because they didn't announce the change until the end of the product's life-cycle, forcing many users to purchase CS5.5 for just a few months. He goes on to say:
"You're kind of holding us hostage—–you're making us buy something we don't need now, just so we will still have the option to get something that we may want (CS6) when it is released without buying it all over again from scratch. You're playing hardball with your customers—either upgrade twice or you're out. That's not the Adobe we know."
A fairer option, Kelby says, would be to not start the policy yet, to start the new policy with CS7 and to make CS6 the transition version. That way, everyone is aware of the new policy up front, at the start of the product's life cycle.
"That way, we're not spending money just to spend more money again. Adobe, you can still have what you want—-you can still get everybody on the current version, but it gives us time to save, time to plan, and anybody still left behind at that point will have had more than fair warning," says Kelby.
Another option that Kelby offers is a tiered upgrade that rewards Adobe's best customers by giving those who upgraded to the last version the best deal on the upgrade.
Kelby goes on to say that he fears that the new policy could force many users to abandon the product all together.
"I also know that the clearest message you can send any company is not to buy their product and I am not suggesting in any way that we intentionally don't buy Adobe products, but I am afraid for many people, including many of the Photoshop users I represent, that will be the case. Photoshop CS4 will wind up being their last version of Photoshop ever, and I for one would hate to see that happen. I think that would be a lose/lose for everybody."
Adobe "can still fix this," he says, by making CS6 a transitional upgrade. With everyone knowing that after CS6, a new upgrade policy will be in place.
"That way you don't leave anybody behind that wants to stay with you. Nobody can say you pulled a fast one on them at the last minute, or didn't give them reasonable notice about the next upgrade. You never go wrong by doing the right thing," he says.
What do you think about Adobe's new upgrade policy? How will it affect your plans to upgrade to the next version?