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Amazon leaks Adobe CS3 pricing, availability dates, code split [u]

One of the largest online retailers has let slip the entire launch strategy for Adobe's Creative Suite 3 and its various individual apps —and revealed that PowerPC-based Macs may soon become second-class citizens in the program designer's eyes.

Adobe may not be set to formally announce its CS3 software lineup until March 27th, but a leak by Amazon Canada has laid bare almost all of the software developer's price plans days in advance.

While the full price list borders on the intimidating, the cost for users varies from as little as $110 Canadian ($95 US) for a Contribute CS3 upgrade to $3,440 ($2,969 US) for the complete Master Collection that bundles Adobe's deluxe artistic and video editing tools.

The CS3 Design and Production Premium suites for artists remain under wraps, though the Web Standard edition will sell for $1,375 ($1,186 US), suggesting a ballpark figure for its Design equal. European prices were revealed on Friday.

Not all of these offerings will be available to every Mac user, however. Amazon has tellingly earmarked each Mac edition with separate "Mac OS X" and "Mac OS X Intel" labels that indicate which of Apple's computers will run Adobe's latest software. Although most users of legacy PowerPC systems can be assured that their existing tools will see new life in the CS3 upgrade, including current CS2 and former Macromedia web apps, the Master Collection is listed as Intel-only —revealing that some or all of the revived Mac video editing components are unlikely to ever receive native PowerPC code.

Those looking to return to Encore, Premiere Pro, or Soundbooth will also have to wait longer than the majority of their fellow users, if published release dates prove to be more than just Amazon's rough shipping estimates. Most of Adobe's new packages will ship as early as April 20th; less than fortunate shoppers hoping to pick up the top-end Master Collection are told to wait until July 1st, however, suggesting that the online store has been fed information directly from Adobe's sell sheets.

With the majority of Adobe's strategy now exposed, Tuesday's announcement needs only to formalize US prices to give customers a complete snapshot of CS3's future.

Update: Amazon's US website now lists Adobe Creative Suite CS3 Web Premium for $1599, Adobe Creative Suite CS3 Master Collection for $2499, Adobe Creative Suite CS3 Production Premium for $1199 and Adobe Creative Suite CS3 Design Premium for $1599.