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Maybe it's not obvious from the splash screen, but the software is available separately as new purchases or upgrades too. (kinda "design your own package")
Usually packages are for people who either work across a broader spectrum of animation, or it could serve to encourage you to take a look at the other software. With the new features in the MC, many (especially new users) might look to picking up Flash, Premiere Pro or other software they previously limped by without.
Thanks, Ko. It is prohibitively expensive to purchase separately.
I'm just not interested in learning Flash or Premiere. AE, Cinema and FCP already eat
up more of my life than I'd like!
Based on the purchase of those three applications (AE, PS and AI) you are still saving money by purchasing the Production Premium. Sure, it comes with software you don't use or don't want to use, but you do still get a substantial savings over the cost of the packages. Savings are also big on the upgrades, as individual product upgrades would also be much more than the suite upgrade costs.
All things considered, I'm not sure why your client's failure to pay bills is Adobe's problem...? Was that entered in the post by accident?
After the Macromedia merger, Adobe discovered they had so many different software bundles on the market it was becoming almost impossible to satisfy every customer's upgrade requirements. The decision was made to simplify the entire range and reduce bundle pricing so that users who don't require all the software can still benefit from bundle purchases.
If you compare the bundle price of CS4 to that of an equivalent CS1 or CS2 bundle, you'll see it is now significantly cheaper, despite the individual packages costing around the same.
Clark, please, for goodness sake, don't rant off like that. We all have our burdens to bear and many of us are in a similar situation - my primary uses are AE, Encore, PS, AI, Acrobat and Dreamweaver and except for the Master Collection, I cannot get all tools bundled together anywhere. So go figure. Rest assured, that just like all the technical aspects, bundling is discussed everywhere and that we use every little bit of what influence to have to nudge "the powers" in the right direction.
As for your hardware - well, that's entirely your issue, I'm afraid. Intel machines have been on the market for quite some time now and, like it or not, new software is made for new machines and operating systems. You should not expect any company on this planet to keep dragging around UB forever and least of all a company that uses performance-hungry apps like Adobe does (yes, in the positive and negative sense).
I know this sounds harsh, but if you really are building a business around this, upgrading your software and hardware should be part of your regular business plan. Adobe (or Apple for that matter) can't take that responsibility from you. In any case - nobody can force you to upgrade and depending on what your clients desire, you may go without it for a while longer. You have to weigh that on your own and decide, whether any of the improvements in CS4 are worth the investment and considerably boost your business. Ultimately that's the only decisive factor.