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Home > Tools January 11th, 2012

Adobe Listens to Users, Defers CS6 Upgrade Rule Change to Yearend

[UPDATE (May 2013) – CS4 and CS3 users no longer receive upgrade discounts to CS6, but to the new Adobe CC release instead.]

Two months ago Adobe made a major change in the Creative Suite upgrade policy that had been in place since CS3 came out in April 2007…

Had you heard about it? If not, here’s what they said on the new upgrade policy for CS6
In a nutshell, Adobe said only customers running Creative Suite 5 products would be eligible for discounted upgrade pricing to the new CS6 when it comes out.

Customers spoke up and reaction to the change was pretty unfavorable across the web… Results from our own poll here showed a striking 85% against the move including the company’s related business model changes to the Creative Cloud.

Thanks for listening to your customers Adobe

And now, in a stunning turnabout, Adobe says they have been listening and are backing off the new policy, in response to customer feedback…

Yes, it’s true – and just as we were one of the first to break the original story, we’re back now with the good news that the older Creative Suite versions like CS3 and CS4 will indeed be able to get upgrade discounts to CS6 in the future.

Here it is from our Adobe Partner Update:

CS6 Upgrade Offer for CS3 and CS4 Customers

With these great new releases coming in 2012, we want to make sure our customers have plenty of time to discover which offering is best for them. Therefore, we’re pleased to announce that we will offer special introductory upgrade pricing on Creative Suite 6 to our customers who own CS3 or CS4.

This offer will be available from the time CS6 is released until December 31, 2012. More details on this offer, as well as any introductory offers for existing customers to move to Creative Cloud membership, will be announced when CS6 and Creative Cloud are released later this year.

In other words, Adobe will effectively be restoring their longstanding “three versions back” upgrade policy through the launch of CS6, until the end of this year…

You can read more details about the new policy here, under the section, “What is Adobe’s upgrade pricing policy?”  Note you will be able to purchase future CS products just like today, as perpetual (permanent) desktop licenses… They are not phasing those out in the slightest; the Creative Cloud is separate and strictly optional.

So, all you folks with CS3 or CS4 can now rest easy if your plans have been to upgrade to CS6 all along, as this will give you the chance to do it with lower prices as you had been expecting. For those customers now on CS5 or CS5.5, it should cost even less for you to upgrade to CS6 under Adobe’s Tiered Upgrade Pricing Policy, because you own a more recent version.

Note the company has not announced CS6 pricing for anybody yet, so at this point we don’t know these exact numbers and how different they’ll be from those for CS5, if at all.

But if you do get on board with CS6 later this year, then looking forward under the new policy starting in 2013, you’d have nearly four years to think about later upgrading from CS6 to CS7 down the line.

So it’s good to see that after all the discussion, Adobe listened – and rethought this policy in a way that gave enough notice and made more sense for customers.

Please spread the word and share this news with anyone who you think should know!

See also:

Acrobat, Lightroom, and Elements: How Are They Affected By Creative Cloud?

News: All CS6 Upgrades Now Only Available through Adobe Direct

What’s the Difference Between Photoshop CS6 vs. CS5?

What’s New in CS6: Premiere Pro, After Effects & Audition

Win Adobe Photoshop CS6 + Lightroom 4 FREE! ($1000 Giveaway)

Give your input before it ships – what would you like to see in CS6?  Please share your thoughts below or at Adobe’s official feature request “wishlist”
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  1. Mary

    @Bryan Conner
    Hello, again, Bryan,

    I do believe Adobe puts out a great product, or I would not have ordered the upgrade. And it was truly my fault for not knowing that Adobe has a 30 day return policy, as with other software I have purchased, once you break the seal it is yours. Had I not read about the 30 day policy on your website I would not have know about it.

    As has been mentioned by others, I only upgraded from CS4 to CS5 because the word was out when I upgraded that Adobe would no longer allow upgrades from CS4 to CS6. That changed, which would have meant I would have waited for CS6 to come out. I think a “grace” period for a decent discount would be that 30 day return area, for those of us that were unaware of the return policy. That being written, I am trying to concentrate on the positives of the product and not the frustration of the live chat referring to Lightroom 4 instead of the CS5 – CS6 that I had been communicating about.

    • Hey there Mary, Adobe did try to make accommodations (and is still doing so) for customers who purchased during the window between when the CS6 upgrade policy changes were originally announced in November, and when the policy was retracted in January…

      But for folks that bought Creative Suite 5 since then, the 30-day return window is the only insurance. Believe it or not though, you can still return Adobe software even if/after you’ve opened it, and even if/after you’ve installed it – so long as it’s within that 30-day period. It’s a pretty generous refund policy to make sure customers are satisfied, so we try to let people know about it whenever appropriate.

  2. Bryan Conner

    @ Mary
    Hi Mary,

    I understand your point. I am happy with the complimentary LR4 because I had difficulty deciding between upgrading to CS5 and buying LR3 last November. I knew that CS6 (or whatever the new Photoshop would be named) would be available sometime in 2012 based on the time between previous releases. I had also realized that there was a possibility that I would be happy with LR3, so I downloaded a trial of LR3 as well as CS5. I stayed with CS5 because of Content Aware Fill (I was upgrading from CS3) and the fact that raw processing was the same in ACR 6 compared to LR3. Plus, I was used to the ACR interface.

    So, I would have been just as happy if Adobe would have offered me the chance to upgrade to CS6 without paying again. Actually, this is the most logical solution for Adobe to take in my opinion. I would have waited for CS6 and would not have bought LR3.

    But, I can see the logic that Adobe is probably using: From a business standpoint, they could possibly make more money from me in the future…I am now using Photoshop as well as Lightroom…two software products to upgrade instead of one.

    I am learning about Lightroom 4 now. I purchased a great video series from Luminous Landscape. There are pros and cons between LR and PS, but I am feeling more confident that Lightroom 4 is better for me personally than CS6. But, that is just me. If you are sure that you want to stay with Photoshop, then do not accept Lightroom 4. Do what is best for you.

    Good luck.

  3. ProDesignTools : Hey there Mary, Adobe did try to make accommodations (and is still doing so) for customers who purchased during the window between when the CS6 upgrade policy changes were originally announced in November, and when the policy was retracted in January…

    Interesting to know.
    Funny how I just came off customer services (UK number) and they don’t even acknowledge that Adobe ever said they wouldn’t update from more than 1 version back.
    I hope my email to them is more convincing.

    interesting thread.
    Thanks guys!

    • Hi Athanasios, thanks for your comment. You must have connected with someone new… because those of us who were there remember it was that way for two months…

      But even today, “one version back” is slated to be the new Creative Suite upgrade policy starting in 2013 – so it’s odd that your rep wasn’t aware.

      Feel free to point them here if it might help!

  4. Don’t know if you’re aware, but the Customer support for UK is a call centre in India…

    To be honest, the difference in price of upgrading earlier from CS4 to CS5.5 and then now to CS6 is just a couple hundred bucks more than from CS4 to CS6 directly, but that’s a couple hundred too much.

    I’ll be watching this thread.
    Thanks for your reply, and thanks for all the info.

  5. Let the fun and games begin…

    So, Adobe customer support UK, asked me to send an email with attached any Adobe distributor emails that mentioned “inability to upgrade from older versions”. As my distributor is based in Athens Greece (that’s where I used to live and got my CS4 and CS5.5 upgrade from), the emails are in Greek, so I forwarded them alongside a translation.

    Because I didn’t receive any confirmation from them, I called in (again) and after explaining the situation (again) they said that my email was blocked by their spam filter, but now they have it.

    Today I got an email from them asking me to “attach any emails from my distributor”… That’s what I did in the first place.

    If customer support can’t open a simple email, how can I expect any chance of a solution?

    I’m infuriated.

    If only it was as easy to get support, as it is for them to take my money. It only takes 1 minute to spend a few thousand dollars, but weeks to get an answer to a simple question…

    • So sorry to hear you’re having difficulties Athanasios. What is the exact issue – that the rep you were talking to doesn’t realize what happened with the policy changes for older versions at the end of last year?

      If email isn’t working or being responsive enough, then in our experience the best, fastest, and most direct way to communicate with Adobe Customer Service is usually via Live Chat.

      If necessary, just give them a link back to this page for documentation on the policy changes that actually happened for customers… No translation necessary. ;)

      Hope this helps!

  6. Anonymous

    @ Athanasios

    Athanasios, go to and state your case. This is Adobe Customer Care’s Twitter page. They are very responsive and I believe that they will take care of you very fast. If you do not have an account with Twitter, it is free.

  7. Greg

    I’m not thrilled with this news at all. I talked directly with a representative about the upgrade to make certain this was the case and this was THIS YEAR and they said yes it was. So I was lied to by Adobe and I’m past my 30 days. I received NO notification of this change and yet I receive all the promotional emails from them about their products.

    Yes the products are good, but I too only upgraded to CS5 because of the news.

    Their site gives dates of purchase where they will honor an upgrade to CS6 if you just upgraded to CS5, but again this went up AFTER I purchased mine and I was already OUTSIDE of that date.

    This is almost as bad as HP that stops making drivers for new OS’s so they force you to upgrade to their newer printer.

    I will write them, but I’m sure they will point to dates and postings that most will not see AFTER they make that purchase having been informed by their own representative about the upgrade.

    But they kept that hidden on purpose I’m sure.

    I will try the last two suggestions just see how things go.

    Here is a chance for them to get a heck of a rating from a customer because right now I feel lied too and that is not good at all.

    • Hello Greg, sorry you’re unhappy with your purchase… We’re trying to understand the sequence of events for your situation. When did you actually upgrade to CS5? Are you saying you felt compelled to do that because of the announcement last year that only CS5 owners would receive upgrade pricing to CS6? But that you did not hear the later news (covered here from January) of the postponement of the policy change – yet a customer service rep told you something different?

      If you felt compelled to upgrade to CS5 because of the original policy change, and your purchase was late last year or early this year, then you may wish to present your case in more detail to Adobe… As suggested in the comment above, live online chat and Twitter usually work the best. Good luck!

  8. Bryan Conner

    @ Greg

    Greg, go to Adobe Customer Care’s Twitter page and state your case there. You will get results very quickly.

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