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Adobe Launching Creative Suite 3

A new version of Adobe Systems Inc.'s Creative Suite software will go on sale next month, a launch that executives have billed as the most significant in the company's 25-year history.

The software suite -- which includes well-known programs like Photoshop for photo editing and Dreamweaver for Web design -- is popular with videographers, graphic designers and artists in print, Web, mobile and film media.

Creative Suite 3 includes features to further integrate multimedia into Web sites and cell phones -- a key strategy as Adobe tries to expand from its core base of artists and designers. Already, its Flash player software is used to display videos on Google Inc.'s YouTube, News Corp.'s MySpace and other sites.

Adobe will offer six versions of the full suite, with suggested retail prices from $1,599 to $2,499. Customers will also be able to buy individual upgrades on 13 stand-alone applications, including Photoshop CS3, Illustrator CS3, Flash CS3 Professional, Dreamweaver CS3, Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 and After Effects CS3.

Most of the Creative Suite 3 editions will be available for computers running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP and Vista operating systems, and Apple Inc. computers.

CS3's prices may seem steep compared to other shrink-wrapped software. But Adobe customers -- particularly graphic and video artists with deep-pocketed corporate clients -- spend money relatively liberally compared with average software buyers, Chief Executive Bruce Chizen said.

"Our customer is not typically price sensitive," Chizen said last week. "The cost of the tool isn't what's critical -- it's the productivity and what their output can be. They want to pay for value as long as we deliver innovative features that allow them to be more productive and creative."

San Jose-based Adobe, which was founded in 1982 and acquired Macromedia Inc. in 2005, is in the midst of launching several major products. Last week, it began online distribution of the first public alpha version of Apollo, corporate software for Web developers that is already in use at eBay Inc. and elsewhere.

Shares of Adobe fell 4 cents, to 43.12, in Tuesday morning trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

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