This has been a long time coming. Heck, we might finally make some headway where our distant sauropod ancestors failed all those millions of years ago. At least, that’s how long it feels like Australians have endured outrageous price differences on products like Microsoft Office and Adobe’s Creative Suite, compared to the United States. While you have the inconvenient option of going overseas for these products, you really shouldn’t have to.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy yesterday give the inquiry his blessing, though things won’t officially get under way until later this year, according to a story today in The Age. All the big names will be asked by the House of Representatives to come up with proper reasons for their gouging ways, including Microsoft, Apple and Adobe, though Labor MP Ed Husic believes the likes of Canon and Lenovo should also be looked at with closer scrutiny.
The Age mentions that last year, the Productivity Commission published a report that said price gouging was “one of the key reasons for the rise in consumers shopping on foreign websites”, a fact I’m sure doesn’t surprise anyone. The arguments we always hear from these companies — the size of the market, support costs, taxes and duties, etc — were found to be “not persuasive” by the Commission, says Husic.
I reckon most people would have swallowed a five, even 10 per cent price difference, but when you’re asked to fork out numbers in the 50-80 per cent range (and sometimes higher)… well, that’s just having a laugh, really.
Image: Cimexus / Flickr