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Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 Editor as iPhoto sidekick

The company is releasing a cheaper, more feature-light version of its image-editing product for release through the Mac App Store.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. That seems to be Adobe's approach to the entry-level photo-editing customer on the Mac.

Instead of trying to replace iPhoto with its Photoshop Elements image-editing software, Adobe is repositioning a version of the product as a complement to iPhoto in an interesting strategic move. Photoshop Elements 9 Editor is a less expensive, Organizer-free version of the product available only through the Mac App Store.

Making PSE as frictionless a step-up editor option for iPhoto makes a lot of sense, though I suspect a lot of Windows users will be baffled by the buying-decision logic: at $79.99 MSRP it's cheaper than the $99.99 version with Organizer, but you can find the full version for the same price if you don't buy from Adobe (notably from Amazon).

Plus, electronic delivery means Adobe has lower distribution costs, so you'd think it would cost even less. And I have to admit, I find the timing of the announcement odd. Version 9 will be a year old in September, which means that an update is likely in the near future. I don't know whether the Mac App Store version will remain a last-generation product or whether we'll see an update to Editor 9 as well.