I have conducted some research, and not only is it fact, the scope of the rip-off is mind-boggling when the license price is high.
As an example, I’m using Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection. This product will cost £2,313.58 if bought directly from Adobe’s UK web site. Alternatively, it costs US$2,499 if you live in the USA. Using today’s exchange rate supplied by Google – $1 = £0.5524 – the US price equates to £1,380.45. In other words, the price difference is just shy of £1,000. Surely this can’t be all duty and tax? The blunt answer is no, it isn’t. Most of it, is Adobe ripping you off.
If you purchased the software from a shop in the USA and brought it back to Britain, you would face duty and VAT charges. However, duty on computer software discs is 0% (Commodity code 8523 40 45 00), and VAT is 17.5%. So the price we British should be paying is £1622.03. This gives Adobe a cool £691.55 extra, whenever a British user buys this software.
It is possible to get a return flight from London to New York for £300 (see the BA website), add on £50 train fare to and from ones home to the airport, £200 for a hotel room and nice meal and it still comes out at £140 less. So if you are considering buying expensive software from US software rip-off merchants (and Adobe is not unique here, Microsoft etc are just as bad), have a nice weekend in New York, see the sights, enjoy some food and still save some money on your purchase.
Last year Adobe had a trade stand at Flash on the Beach. I hope they have one this year too, as I shall be taking the opportuinity to invite them to justify their UK pricing strategy if they do.