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Adobe Considers Withdrawing from Asian Markets 507

Max Groff writes "This brief ZDNet article (printer-friendly version) describes how Adobe is considering leaving its Asian markets due to the apparently high levels of piracy across the Pacific. This change would not only cut off the marketing of Adobe products to Asian markets, but also halt the development of much of the company's Asian-language software."
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Adobe Considers Withdrawing from Asian Markets

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  • Take your ball home; might open some eyes. But I'm sure that somebody else would step in to produce the right software, and Asia can be a BIG market.
    • Re:Go for it (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Asia can be a BIG market"

      Asia *is* a big market, but piracy apparently makes it much smaller. They're leaving because the real market (the one that buys their products, from them) is too small. Any other company coming in will have exactly the same market Adobe has, and they will face the same problem.
      • Ah, but if they can get Asia to adopt something slightly different, then they gain an automatic foothold with any company that DEALS with Asian countries. It's not completely cut and dried; otherwise, Adobe would have just said 'kiss off' and left.
      • Re:Go for it (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Ethanol ( 176321 ) on Friday January 18, 2002 @09:20PM (#2865933)
        Any other company coming in will have exactly the same market Adobe has, and they will face the same problem.

        Not necessarily. Depends on whether they're clever enough to find a way to adapt to the Asian market instead of throwing up their hands and running away.

        When pirated copies of XENIX were running every bank in China, a SCO sales guy told me: "Trying to convince the Chinese not to pirate software is a waste of time--they'd just laugh. But they want to buy manuals, and the idea of paying for books is part of their culture. So let 'em copy the software if they want, but charge 'em for the doc, and you can make lots of money in China."
    • Re:Go for it (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nomadic ( 141991 )
      and Asia can be a BIG market.

      For cigarettes, electronics, and cars, but the market for legally licensed software is actually pretty small.
    • I've been waiting to see when they'd do it. Adobe and Macromedia are some of the only major producers of desktop apps that M$ hasn't yet gone after.

      This may be the moment Bill's been waiting for. Of course, he has his own piracy troubles in Asian markets...
      • The funny thing is is that Bill does not care, Balmer even said that they don't really mind it becouse they are using MS software, now in 3 or 5 years when Asia has a better market going on eveyone will know how to use MS software and the big corps don't want to be bothered so they will fork over the money.
    • We lose money on every unit sold, but we make that up through volume.
    • C|Net News Article (Score:2, Informative)

      by panaceaa ( 205396 )
      A more complete version of this article [] was released four days ago by C|Net. The decision only seems to effect the Chinese language versions.
      • ... which kind of makes sense since apparently other asian markets are healthier regarding piracy rates. Japan is probably close to western levels, Thailand and Korea somewhere between mainland China and Japan? Anyone have any actual figures (estimates) regarding various far eastern countries' piracy rates?
    • by nixnixnix ( 81148 ) on Friday January 18, 2002 @08:49PM (#2865813)
      Everyone thinks they are the biggest market in the world, but here are some facts about china's "market".

      Out of 3 billion people, 900 million of them are rural peasants who don't have a pot to pee in. These are people that are so poor that they go for months without even seeing currency, let alone using it.

      100 million of them are rural farm workers who may sometimes receive a "paycheck", but who are not employed for long periods of time. These people make a fraction of what a McDonalds grill cook makes in the US.

      Of the remaining 2 billion, you have a tiny elite of maybe 120-80 million people who make money in a range that is remotely similar to the west. Of all the people who receive somewhere in a living wage range, maybe 500 million of them, save 40% of their income and use 60% to live. They do this because their economy is fragile and they are subject to losing their incomes rather easily. Compare that to Americans where 4% of people's income (on average) is saved.

      The Chinese do not have descretionary income to spend on software. This is what Adobe is really coming to grips with. If it were made to be incapable of stealing the software, they would just go without!

      Companies that make money in China are like Coke-a-Cola, Pepsi, Marlboro. These are companies that make 80-90% of their money outside the US anyway. The rest of the companies (like Adobe) tread water for years and never turn the corner. This is the reality of the Chinese market: they are an export economy with a weak domestic economy. A place where slavery was "abolished" in 1929. A place where children participate in forced labor programs to pay for their educations. Where you recieve the death penalty for selling a fossil you dug up in your own backyard to a non-Chinese buyer.

      (I have no idea why we have a normalized trade relationship with this country and yet Cuba is still under an embargo)
  • by Duke of URL ( 10219 ) on Friday January 18, 2002 @07:27PM (#2865358)
    A professor at a local US University handed our help desk a CD labeled "Adobe & Macromedia's Greatest Hits, Vol. II"

    She wanted us to install Photoshop and Dreamweaver off the disk. The help deskers explained how it was a pirated copy, and how her dept. could legally purchase the software for significant discount for educational purposes. She protested, saying it was legit because she'd paid 5 dollars for it on her travels in Malaysia.
    • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday January 18, 2002 @07:35PM (#2865421) Homepage
      She protested, saying it was legit because she'd paid 5 dollars for it on her travels in Malaysia.

      This is a great example of the wackiness of intellectual property law as it applies to software, in the eyes of most consumers. Because, for just about anything else except software, she'd be right!

      For example, yes, it is illegal to make pirated CDs of Britney Spears albums. But it's not illegal to buy one in Malaysia, or to own one in the United States! It's not even illegal to play one in a CD player!

      The software manufacturers have pulled an amazing fast one on all of us, by somehow creating a whole new set of rules to apply to their products. You can bet every other intellectual property-owning corporate entity in the world will stop at nothing until they can follow suit.

      • Yeah, but you're mixing two different streams of thought; paying for the media and packaging ($5) and paying for the man hours to produce the product and to provide support and updates for the product ($600).

        So paying $5 for Adobe's products means you pay for the physical cost, even the distribution cost, but not for the labor cost.
        • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday January 18, 2002 @08:14PM (#2865666)
          > Yeah, but you're mixing two different streams of thought; paying for the media and packaging ($5) and paying for the man hours to produce the product and to provide support and updates for the product ($600).
          > So paying $5 for Adobe's products means you pay for the physical cost, even the distribution cost, but not for the labor cost.

          To play Devil's Advocate, if you've got a pirated copy, you're not exactly consuming much in the way of support costs!

          (Of course, that doesn't apply to the labor cost - the developers and QA people who built it, and that's probably a larger cost than the support costs.)

          But to carry your argument one step further, suppose it's bad to pirate Photoshop 6.0, because you're not paying for the labor that went into 6.0.

          What about 5.0, which isn't being offered for sale?

          Or 4.0? 3.0?

          Yes, I'm going down the slippery slope to abandonware -- at some point, the money that went to the developers ought to be "fully depreciated".

          Consider - if you incur a capital expense to buy a new building, you get to write it off against income over the life of the building, say, 20 years. If you incur a capital expense to buy something like a computer, many jurisdictions allow you to write the cost of the computer off over a shorter timeframe, say, 5 years, because computers decline in value faster than buildings.

          The money you pay a programmer to write software is an expense -- you "write it off" in the same year as you pay it out. If we think of it as another form of capital expenditure (intellectual capital; the brainpower of a developer), and we write it off in the same year, we're basically saying what the tech industry already knows -- software depreciates instantly ;-)

          Paying $5 for a 2-year-old game in the "bargain bin" at your local retailer is legal. Why can't paying your friendly neighborhood pirate $5 for a 5-year-old game, or Photoshop 3.0, neither of which can be found even in bargain bins anymore, be legal?

          • Sure, I can understand that view. Buy Photoshop 3.0 for $5.

            That still doesn't justify $5 for Photoshop 6.0
            • > Sure, I can understand that view. Buy Photoshop 3.0 for $5.
              > That still doesn't justify $5 for Photoshop 6.0


              If I were writing copyright law from scratch, I'd base it on an idea like "full retail price may be charged, and full copyright protection applies, for 5 years, or until the company ceases supporting the old version, whichever comes first. After that, it's fair game."

      • Actually, it is illegal to own an unlicensed copy of that CD in the U.S. And, I believe that Malaysia and other Asian contries technically have laws against piracy, they're just not enforced. If so, then it is illegal to buy such a copy in Malaysia too.
      • Really? (Score:3, Funny)

        She protested, saying it was legit because she'd paid 5 dollars for it on her travels in Malaysia.
        This is a great example of the wackiness of intellectual property law as it applies to software, in the eyes of most consumers. Because, for just about anything else except software, she'd be right!

        Cool, if I'm ever pulled over by a cop and have a happen to have some marijuana or hashish on me, I'll just tell him I bought it in Amsterdam since it's legal there and I paid for it fair and square.

        That should keep me out of jail.
      • In using software from a Pirated CD, you're going to have to copy it to the computers. In the case of the teacher there, she's be copying it on to dozens of machines that probably would be running licensed software.
    • 5 dollars, that makes it about 20 Ringgit Malaysia. Which means she's been scammed! You can buy Adobe Macromedia Vol. II for 7 Ringgit!

      Ha! Those western foreigners, so easily scammed!
  • Yes, ok. So now I can't legally buy it, and I used to.
    If I want it, I *HAVE* to pirate it!?
    Sounds like a great idea adobe.....
    • by MathJMendl ( 144298 ) on Friday January 18, 2002 @07:33PM (#2865411) Homepage
      Try as hard as you can to rationalize it, but if they are losing money there it makes good sense for them to drop out of the business there. I mean, cmon, piracy rates are over 90%! A vast majority of the software there doesn't make them any money and if they can't sell enough copies to recoup their losses, who can blame them?

      So, now the pirates have two choices: stop pirating (or at least to the same extent), or lose language support for their copies.

      I mean, they can pirate English versions still, but I'm sure they would prefer copies in their own languages. It is their own fault for this happening.

      I don't believe that they have actually lost $4 billion, because not everyone buys copies, but even if 1% of those people would have bought copies they would have lost $40 million.
  • ... of course that they will still have Adobe's products.

    Photoshop 4.0 works just as good as 6.0.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes, piracy piracy piracy. QuarkXPress version 4 didn't originally have a chinese version due to piracy. Like the owner of the company (privately) said "Everyone's using it there, but no one's buying" (apparently referring to 3.3.2 sales figures). Of course, due to political correctnesee issues that's a big no-no to say officially, even though it's not racism but more about cultural thing in many far-eastern countries.

    Korean version was produced (or planned) provided that a korean company would help in creating version plus guarantee certain number of sold copies; apparently (south-)Korea has similar problems but situation is perhaps not quite as bad.

  • English version (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SETY ( 46845 )
    The English versions will just be pirated over IRC, etc. There are little windows tools to turn the English in programs into Chinese (or any other language). So withdrawing from the market will not really kill priacy. It is only worth withdrawing if your not making money (obviously).
  • If nothing else, even domestic users who need to work with Asian-language materials should assure that. Adobe's main products are high-end, and in the case of programs like InDesign, are sold into markets where international audiences are common. I can only imagine that removing Asian language support would hand back any marketshare they have managed to take from Quark, despite the convenience of a basically all-Adobe publishing workflow.
  • Hmmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hahn ( 101816 )
    I get the feeling that Adobe is not just doing this for financial reasons, but also to punish the area by not providing Asian versions of it software. It's too bad that they're going to stop development of Asian language versions, but if punishment is their goal, somehow I think that it will have little effect, and may even backfire.

    The thing is that while their programs set the standard here in the US and many companies now depend on their products, the same is not true in Asia, where Linux is actually being adopted quite rapidly, especially now with Windows XP having copy protection in place (although that hasn't stopped many hacked versions from being produced). This may in fact be a big boon to the Linux industry as more and more users may come to find more full fledged Linux graphics solutions (GIMP is getting there).
  • by skoda ( 211470 ) on Friday January 18, 2002 @07:33PM (#2865407) Homepage
    I do not advoate software piracy. I've been weaning myself off of illigitimately copied programs for several years now, and encourage friends to also not use pirated materials.

    That said, I believe that the equivalent dollar cost in pirated products is highly mis-leading. People who pirate software wouldn't buy the programs if they lost access to it. They would just do without.

    Chizen said in the article that it can cost up to $750,000 to produce a Chinese-language version of a product, and extensive piracy makes it difficult for Adobe to recoup those costs.
    That said, I can appreciate theirt reasons for leaving. If they spend $750k to produce the Asian version, and don't sell sufficient copies to recoup costs and profit, then they should leave. My understanding is that most companies require a 15% return-on-investment from a product, or they shut it down.
    • It's not that pirates wouldn't buy the software, it's that some pirates wouldn't buy the software, some pirates couldn't buy the software, and some pirates would have to buy the software.

      The question is how to separate all of them enough to target the payers, and get them to pay.

      People who do without aren't interesting to this equation or argument. It's the people who make money with the product, and people who need the product, that should be targetted.

      In a very fair market way, if there isn't enough pirates who can pay, if they had to, to support the product, the product should go away. If there is enough pirates who can pay, then they can afford to sell, as long as they can convince the pirates to pay.

      The question is how lack of an Asian version of the product will affect the market. Will Chinese users, for example, start to use English or Japanese versions? Older versions? Does this mean that Chinese OS X users will be, literally, up the creek?
    • I completely agree! The BSA (bullsh*t association??) always makes these exorbitant figures about their purported losses, but yeah -- if you can no longer pirate photoshop 18.3, doesn't that mean you'll just keep using your real copy of 4.0? Or that you'll use the GIMP, or a more low-end product (even one from adobe?). I don't get their figures at all.

      and on your other point...Yeah I've finally gotten off of all Microsoft software, except that provided for free or gotten with a purchased machine. I downloaded their MS Office for my OS X machine, and it's just such a bloated feature-itis mess now, that I can't be bothered to even pirate it. Or buy it. I'm making do with a slightly more feature-light program that comes free with every mac (AppleWorks).
  • I've been waiting to see when M$ would launch an all-out assault on Adobe and Macromedia, with their own graphics and video editing software apps.

    Maybe this will be the opportunity they've been waiting for...

    Of course, M$ suffers from massive piracy in Asia too.
  • "Apparently" high piracy? You're talking about a market in which people do not generally realize that software exists in shrinkwrapped form. I have talked to people that literally were not aware of shrinkwrapped software before coming to America. Most software is purchased in the form of $5 CDs containing EVERY SINGLE PROGRAM EVER MADE by a particular company.

    I should know; I have a copy of just such a CD full of Adobe software ;-).
  • Nah...what's REALLY happening is that their Asian languages translator(s) quit, and they can't find a new one in time for their next release :)

    It's so much easier to just forget about a substantial portion of the world, you know?
  • Indeed, i am absolutly sure that Adobe will give up on half the world's population (Asia) containing the only big market that's still growing at 7.8% (5 times the european rate) a year (China).

    Yes, i can just see how incredibly briliant that market strategy is!!!
  • by LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Friday January 18, 2002 @07:40PM (#2865452)
    I see a lot of posts here saying that this will not stop piracy of the Adobe's products, because it will eliminate the only legal way to obtain the software, so people will be forced to pirate it. Adobe knows that, but that's not the point. The point is that Adobe is actually spending money to support the Asian money, and that money is wasted.
    • exactly. that's the *same* reason that we're hearing so much about copy protection, hardware copy protection, etc. it's not that companies are necessarily evil - it's that in hard times, they need to trim the corners, and get the most out of the products they have. piracy (and therefore, copy protection measure, DRM, etc) wouldn't be such a big deal if we weren't in a recession. i think once the US (and globally, as well) start to recover, we'll see less emphasis on stopping piracy, enforcing product activation, and tracking customers; and we'll see more emphasis on new products.
  • by hacksoncode ( 239847 ) on Friday January 18, 2002 @07:40PM (#2865453)
    Come on, folks, the article strongly implied, if not stating it expressly, that the reason they are considering stopping producing Asian language versions is that they don't make any money on them due to piracy.

    It doesn't hurt them at all to have English language versions pirated in Asia, in fact they probably prefer that to having their competitor's products pirated.

    But if it costs $650,000 to produce an Asian languages version of their products (a number I can easily believe, having done localizations of much smaller products), and they don't recoup that cost, there's no point in doing it.

    This is news?

  • If the piracy is so rampant that Adobe is actually losing money, then it makes sense to cut the product line.

    However, I don't think this will hurt the pirates. Anyone willing to go to the lengths necessary to acquire the software and circumvent anti-piracy measures (serial numbers, dongles, etc.) is probably willing to put up with English menus. Photoshop and Illustrator aren't exactly language intensive applications -- they're intuitive graphics apps.

    The people who will really suffer are the people who do pay for asian versions of Adobe's software (businesses, schools, etc.) and the employees who work on those versions at Adobe. If you're an internationalization guru who got laid off because international piracy is just too rampant, you're in trouble.

    • Photoshop and Illustrator aren't exactly language intensive applications

      It's not just a case of search & replace 'Printer' for 'Drucker' like translating for european languages. The software needs to deal with Unicode pretty well, and understand the layout of non-roman character sets properly. Illustrator and Pagemaker may be 'visual' software, but they deal with laying out a LOT of words.

      Incidentally, this cuts both ways. It was a real challenge for me to get good Kanji truetype fonts last year when I wanted some for a software project (those cool advertising-style fonts). My OS supports Kanji, and so did my graphics software, but actually getting decent fonts was hard. Eventually I found Font Too [] who were happy to export a CD for me.
  • by Wonderkid ( 541329 ) on Friday January 18, 2002 @07:41PM (#2865470) Homepage
    Look, for 15 years US software houses have been charging nearly ten times as much money as they should for their applications. Our original AMX Pagemaker desktop publishing software launched in 1985 for the BBC Microcomputer sold for £40 (about $65), which was just within the budget of most people who needed it. Today your typical application or application suite is $300-$500. And then, you have to constanly pay to upgrade. And I'm a Mac user, so I now have to 'upgrade' all my apps from OS 9 to OS X which will cost thousands. What makes all this far more serious is the complete niavity of American business culture to the reality that the rest of the world (and I include the UK in this) have MUCH less money. To a Brit, spending £50 ($80 approximately) is equiv to a middle class American spending about £250 ($350). For those who do not believe me, if you're a Brit, go live in the US for a few years. If you're an American, come live here. So, in Asia, where the standard of living outside of wealthy communities is even lower than the rest of the Western world, the situation is even worse! Price it right, and people will PAY for it. People want their original user guide, colour CD insert etc. We did it! We created at just £14.95 (about $23) a pop for 5 years, feature upgrades included. It's on the net, so why should we screw people for more? A little more global understanding and increase use of ASP business model, and mass software piracy will be a thing of the past.
    • Your comparing two very different things. People don't need Photoshop to edit images, hell most people couldn't make use of most of the features even if the package was free. Photoshop and applications in its price range (and higher) are priced based on the work that went into them and the value of what comes out. If someone can use Photoshop to make an image for an advertising champain that they get payed thousands of dollars for then the 600$ price tag of Photoshop is well worth it. Having people bitch that they cant afford Photoshop to edit pictures of their grand kids is just dumb. There are lower end packages that cost less then 50$ which will serve their purposes just fine.
      Bottom line, if you think the software costs too much then you don't really need it. Go use something else, be it Gimp or Adobe Image Effects. Dont bitch and moan about the cost of Photoshop and don't condone the piracy of the software.
    • Why should I price software that I create at anything other than the price that I want. If you can't afford it, then tough, don't use it. Photoshop, Pagemaker, Framemaker, etc are not needed to sustain human life. People don't die because they don't have them. Newspapers can still use other means to create their publications.

      There are plenty of other free or cheaper products out there that will remove red eye from your pictures of the kids. If you need more than those programs will provide, then BUY it! Nobody has a god given right to software. We've already given the rest of the world blue jeans and knight rider episodes, why should we be expected to give you photoshop as well?
  • by mESSDan ( 302670 ) on Friday January 18, 2002 @07:41PM (#2865471) Homepage
    Chizen said in the article that it can cost up to $750,000 to produce a Chinese-language version of a product, and extensive piracy makes it difficult for Adobe to recoup those costs.

    That's like selling what, 10 copies of photoshop? ;)

    • Well, let's see :)
      $595 profit per copy translates to 1,260 copies to break even, assuming $5 in distribution and manufacturing costs.

      $195 per copy translates to 3847 copies to break a slight profit.

      Now, if China's piracy rate is 90% and Adobe isn't breaking even, then, at full price, then 1,260 copies is 10%, meaning then there are about 12,600 copies of Photoshop 6.0 running around. If we're talking $200 versions, then there are 38,470 copies of Photoshop 6.0 running around.

      Of course this is all meaningless math games.
  • ...for Photoshop, or $100 for Acrobat, or other outrageous prices for desktop software, maybe people wouldn't pirate it as much. Most buyers of pirated software over in Asia are normal Joes, who just want to do some photo work on a picture of his cat.

    Why spend $200 on something like that? It's ridiculous, especially when something like The GIMP is free. If a powerful program like the GIMP is free, shouldn't Photoshop be closer to it?

    Remember: only poor people pirate software.
    • For Photoshop Elements.

      What do you say to that?

      Adobe has every right to charge whatever they want.
      Consumers have every right to *not* buy something more expensive.

      Consumers don't have the right to pirate, just as Adobe doesn't have the right to take the bits from your bank account.
  • by StevenMaurer ( 115071 ) on Friday January 18, 2002 @07:45PM (#2865498) Homepage

    Despite the whining from the (lets not mince words here) pro-piracy segment of the slashdot readership, this sounds like a perfectly sound business decision.

    Face facts people, corporations are not charities. If they can't get a Return On Investment, they need to invest money elsewhere. Nor will any other business simply step in, because they're not going to get any ROI either. This has already elminated entire markets. The Hong Kong movie business is basically dead because piracy is so culturally acceptable in China.

  • Supply and demand (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by 2Bits ( 167227 )
    These companies are crying babies. Come on, ain't they the proponent of free market? Don't they understand the market supply and demand?

    They priced their product out of reach of 99% of the population, and they now complain about people not buying it. People can get creative, if they don't have the means to buy it. One copy of their software costs more than the income of a whole family for more than 80% of the population in China. Imagine you are US consumer, and your whole family earns $60K/year, and a copy (a license for a single user!) of Photoshop costs $80K. And imagine you get a chance to buy it at $100 on the black market. Go figure.

    Maybe Adobe should be more creative in pricing too, if they want to get into this kind of market? Otherwise, don't fucking complain, and stick to the US/EU markets.
    • By pulling Chinese support, aren't they doing exactly that? Sticking to the US/EU markets?

      Photoshop's price point isn't targetted to consumers, at $600. Photoshop elements, at $89, is targetted towards consumers.

      They do understand supply and demand. They supply Photoshop at $600, and the demand doesn't exist for the product. Therefore they exit the market, since it can't support them.
  • This is the sort of situation we can expect to see the big industry types cite when they clamor for content control, copy protection, etc. In fairness, they have a point; if the norm in certain Asian markets became the norm worldwide (or even just in the U.S.,) what incentive would companies have for pouring funds into the R&D, development, QA, and management required to make commercial-grade software?

    Open Source, while it's a great thing, really isn't enough of an answer. There are no OS equals to programs like Photoshop, Media 100, Oracle. (Yes, Virginia, I know about GIMP and PostgreSQL.)

    Copy protection isn't the answer, either. Fair use, monopolistic control, hell, you all know the arguments.

    Lassiez-faire isn't the answer, either. Given the option to purchase something or steal it without risk of repercussion, far too many people will do the latter. Adobe deserves revenue for their efforts, and they're apparently suffering enough in Asia that they're considering dropping the whole thing. Say whatever you will about the quality of their work beyond version whichever-you-love-most, but is this the norm you want to see developing with -other- companies?

    What do you see as the middle ground?

  • There'd be several extremely intelligent asians around with mastery of at least two dialects, but they couldn't communicate english as well as they needed to, in order to coordinate the translations (sometimes contextual) back into the correct app-string. This makes for unsettling (to the average asian customer) dialogs in the middle of a session. It is hard work, that localization. Not to mention all of the plane fares...

    Anyways, I doubt they'll discontinue the print drivers. Just a few non-profitable apps.

  • Perhaps commercial software just isn't the right model for the rest of the known universe.

    It'll take more than hardware DRM to shut down that distribution network, I promise you... why not free software? Emergin' Market nation-states could finance GPLed code development/I18N as a means of pushing their economic interests forward.

    They're already used to $5 software, dammit! This market is perfect for us! :)
    • Re:The Gimp, Natch (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Captn Pepe ( 139650 )
      This is a good point that really doesn't get made often enough -- namely, that every time a proprietary software company takes action to combat illegal sharing, they open the door a little wider to Free software. Usually this argument shows up when antipiracy measures are adopted to increase the cost of copyright infringement. One hopes that some of those who can no longer afford (or, as in this case, will no longer be able) to illegally acquire a given piece of proprietary software will turn to Free alternatives.

      Mind now, I don't fundamentally care how many users gFoo has. Userbase is important to Free software in a couple of indirect ways: some of those users will submit bug reports or patches, or help in other ways with development; also, many users of Free software make it difficult for proprietary vendors to lock users into their products through closed formats, much less force new users to their product by making such formats into de facto standards.

      Should Adobe go through with this withdrawal, I forsee (or at least hope for) benefits to Free software in that some former unlicensed users will go on to help make real Free substitutes for Adobe products -- e.g. Gimp has potential, but it ain't Photoshop yet -- or help i18nize various packages to their native locale.
  • Good... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yggdrazil ( 261592 ) on Friday January 18, 2002 @08:01PM (#2865600)
    I am a programmer. I do it for a living. I make a living because people can't just take what I make and sell it without my knowledge, without paying me. These people make a mockery out of my livelyhood.

    We care about companies breaching GPL-licenses, and we should care about these people breaching the commercial software world's licences.

    Asia will never get a software industry of their own if they continue this way, and will be doomed to producing cut-throat priced commodity hardware for the rest of the world.

    I hope Adobe makes it real hard to use their programs on computers where the clock is set to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Beijing time, or the internet connection reveals they are connected to .sg, .my or .cn ISPs.

    If they can't pay for commercial saftware, they'll just have to settle for GPL'ed alternatives!!!
  • Adobe is a hawk when it comes to what they consider their intellectual property, and they are just throwing their weight around. They need to complain a lot so that politicians believe that there is a problem.

    If Adobe were to pull out, some Asian competitor (or, gasp, free software) would fill their market niche, at a lower cost and probably higher quality. And those Asian competitors would have a much easier time delivering English-language versions than the other way around.

    Adobe won't pull out. They are just saber rattling. Pulling out would be foolish. They'd rather give their software away than let some other company take over their market niche.

  • oh no! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Suppafly ( 179830 ) <slashdot@suppafly. n e t> on Friday January 18, 2002 @08:07PM (#2865622)
    Then how are we supposed to be able to buy or download cheap pirated versions of adobe software in the US??

  • I have known Chinese (in China) who own little more than 2 white shirts, a pair of pants, and a bicycle.

    However, they may use a computer at work to do personal jobs. They may run software on a computer at work that costs, in the U.S., more than their entire net worth.

    This is not lost profit for companies like Adobe. It is free advertising and free trademark promotion.

    No amount of law-making or law enforcement will make these people pay hundreds of U.S. dollars for Adobe Photoshop. However, advertise that you need someone who knows how to use Photoshop, and hundreds will apply. Is this a bad thing?

    People in the U.S. get little accurate news of other countries. They often unconsciously make the assumption that other people are as rich as they are.

    U.S. Senator Biden, who is an intelligent and educated man, and who is the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, doesn't even pronounce the words correctly, yet he talks of changing (my article, see the Biden interview) [] the Saudi government and controlling the development of the government of Afghanistan. If Senator Biden is like this, make a guess about the knowledge of other countries of the average Adobe executive.

    Adobe executives should not consider that every pirated copy is a personal attack on Adobe profitability. There are many social situations that require more social sophistication than that.
  • Yes, it's justifiable to pay $600 for a flimsy cardboard box and a plastic CD.

    If you make $600 with said flimsy cardboard box and plastic CD, I think the product has paid for itself.

    Justification's from Adobe's view? If the $600 price funds the development of the next version of Photoshop and keeps employees and the company afloat, that's justification.

    Can anybody possibly justify taking property that doesn't belong to you?
  • by Cerlyn ( 202990 ) on Friday January 18, 2002 @08:17PM (#2865675)

    As I said in an earlier message (which is playing hard to find), I knew someone from India living in the United States. He made minimum wage to make his way though college. His father was one of the top engineers in an Indian company. Guess who had the higher salary? My friend, not his father.

    A $15,000 yearly salary in other countries is enough to make one live like a king. In India (I've been told; perhaps someone can comment), a $15,000 U.S.-equivalent salary is enough to have a personal cook prepare your lunch, and a personal servant bring it to your workplace.

    $15,000 may seem like a lot to many students, but there are countries out there where people make $1.50 an hour or less. Companies make items abroad where it is cheaper yet attempt to sell said items abroad in the same countries at U.S. pricing.

    Personally, I'm predicting a severe devaluation in the U.S. dollar to come sometime within the next century or so; one cannot price an item at price A in country X and price B in Y without a third party Z coming along and moving the item from A to B at a lower cost. Given that most other currencies are worth less than the United States', the dollar likely will be devalued as we start kicking and screaming and wondering why.

  • How dare they not pay for software like Photoshop, especially when it's at the eminently reasonable price of $600! The nerve!
  • by jafac ( 1449 )
    What, they're not profitable?
    You mean they're not enjoying having a huge marketshare and no competition because software piracy gives them all the benefits of "dumping" without any fingers of blame to point at the company?

    They're just a bunch of whiners trying to justify a clampdown on our rights to their paid lackeys in the government.
  • On Pirating software:
    I myself pirate some software titles. Yet even I can see that this article is not about Adobe trying to stop piracy. Adobe's products are aimed towards businesses and professionals, not home users. I personally dont think they expect a home user to pay the $600 for the software. In fact they probably dont mind piracy by the home user because it would extends their user base. However I do think they expect someone who makes money from the software to pay it. The artists are the people who Adobe makes photoshop for. If you are an artist who has the cash it is probably in your best interest to pay for the software. Adobes continued existance would be a good thing for them.

    On the discontinuation of asian localization:
    Adobe is losing money when they localize the software. If they continued to localize while losing money it would go against all business logic. does 2+2=5? Also Asians can localize the software themselves. If some korean was using OS X and an adobe app used .nib files then all that is needed is to change some strings since OS X supports nearly all language formats.
  • "Yeah that'll work."

    I mean, come on, pirates can't get on a plane?

  • Anyone have any idea how much these products are in China? I mean, China has a per capital GDP of $3600 (see here []), vs. $36,200 in the USA (see here []), so if Photoshop costs $600 there, that would cost 2 months of salary, equivalent to at least $6000 here, in addition to the fact that they still need to spend money for life's necessities (i.e. food, clothing, shelter).
  • (I honestly don't know if this has been posted yet, but...)

    It seems maybe Adobe is just simply noticing things that are already out there []. No piracy, just smart minds coupled with fast fingers. Adobe is trying to make a buck. Others do it because they need to (or just want to, whatever. Sortof the same thing IMHO).

    Just a thought.
  • by f00zbll ( 526151 ) on Friday January 18, 2002 @09:29PM (#2865957)
    Anyone that wants to get into the chinese market needs to learn one thing from the start. The idea of IP and copyright in chinese is non-existent. Pure and simple, chinese business operate on relationships and respect. American businesses have a hard time understanding it. When american companies sign contracts with Asian companies they don't realize that contract means squat. There a saying in chinese about doing business "just because a contract is signed, doesn't mean negotiations on the contract are finished."

    In most cases, a handshake means more than a contract. Contracts in china are worth S_ _T. The government isn't going to enforce a law the entire country percieves as stupid. The chinese culture believes in practicality and utility. Take the phrase "Kung-fu". It isn't just martial arts. The phrase is applied to anyone who has refined/exceptional skill and strong work ethic. A businessman can be said to have "kung-fu" in the art of negotiation. A teacher can have "kung-fu" in inspiring students.

    Adobe needs to first learn about the culture and understand it before they try to dictate how chinese people should behave. Chinese are very proud of the culture, history and tradition. No self respecting chinese is going to roll over just because adobe says so.

  • Bulk buy? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday January 19, 2002 @04:17AM (#2867387) Homepage
    Chizen said in the article that it can cost up to $750,000 to produce a Chinese-language version of a product, and extensive piracy makes it difficult for Adobe to recoup those costs.

    Over a decade ago, Autodesk faced the same problem. The English version of AutoCAD was #1 in the USSR, but the copies were mostly pirated. So Autodesk cut a deal with the USSR for a bulk buy of a custom Cyrillic version. That brought in a revenue stream, and the USSR got a version that their non-English speakers could use.

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal