When it comes time to upgrade your Adobe or Corel software, the criteria to qualify for the upgrade vary quite a bit and that divide has become greater with a recent Adobe announcement. Let’s look at the two policies as it may have an effect on what you spend in the future.
For the sake of this discussion, we’re talking about the full product from the respective companies. This does not include academic/education versions, NFR versions, OEM products and anything else that may come with a significant discount along with limitations on usage and upgrades.
Corel’s policy has always been pretty simple. If you owned any previous version of the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, you are eligible to buy the upgrade version of the current product. With the last few versions, the list price of the upgrade is $199 (in the United States). With the last few releases being spaced about two years apart, users who upgrade to each version are spending around $100 a year. It is common for users to skip one or two versions if they don’t see a compelling reason to upgrade. There are certainly users who are many versions behind and I don’t think they realize what they are missing in the newer versions. The good news is that a user who hasn’t upgraded in more than ten years can still pay the upgrade price to get CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X5.
The downside to Corel is that the funds they have to develop new versions are limited if users decide to skip several versions. I think users would be amazed at what could be accomplished in future upgrades if all users would upgrade each version. That would be a huge jump in revenue.
Adobe recently announced a new policy that would only provide upgrade pricing to users who currently own either CS5 or CS5.5 versions of the products or suites. With the CS6 products due out in 2012, it only gives users of older versions a short timeframe to move to CS5 or CS5.5 just so they have the opportunity to upgrade to CS6 at the discounted upgrade price (which is already significantly above Corel’s pricing). Users of the earlier versions would have to pay the full price to get the CS6 products. This has upset the Adobe community at large and one of the biggest third parties, Scott Kelby, has written an open letter to Adobe about it. He encourages Adobe to not adopt this policy until CS7. This gives current users time to plan and save for the policy change.
Personally I think it would be wise for both companies to make a change. Corel needs to made their policy more strict and only offer upgrade pricing to users with the most recent three versions. I’d suggest the same policy to Adobe. That way users of previous versions can still receive a discount for their loyalty. Users who don’t upgrade for more than 5-6 years would be required to pay full price since they didn’t help fund development in the interim period.
If Adobe keeps their new policy as it is now, this is a great opportunity for Corel to try and get some Adobe users to consider the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. It won’t meet the needs of all Adobe users, but it could be more than enough for a significant percentage of them.
What do you think about these policies? Do you have any suggested changes? Post your thoughts in a blog comment or on the Graphics Unleashed Facebook page.