What Happened In The IT Pricing Inquiry Today?

The first and only scheduled hearing (so far) for the long-awaited IT Pricing Inquiry took place today. Companies came from near and far to plead their collective case as to why Australians are paying more for their tech and games. Here's a wrap up of everything that went on.

Before MPs had even taken their seats this morning, controversy was already brewing about the empty seats where Apple and Microsoft should have been. Why were these seats empty? Well, Apple has already had a closed-door, off-the-record hearing before parliament, while Microsoft opted only to make a submission (PDF) rather than an appearance.

According to The Australian Financial Review, Apple shifted the blame for highly priced iTunes tracks onto record labels and copyright holders, who reportedly set the prices for the content that Apple on-sells. Apple also blamed taxes and local warranty requirements in Australia for the price discrepancies between local products and those sold in the US.

Adobe also gave the inquiry the cold shoulder, despite the fact that the company has been named as one of the biggest offenders. It hasn't even made a submission, instead just pointing at the submission made by the Australian Information Industry Association (PDF) and saying that it agrees with it.

Federal Member for Chifley Ed Husic took the opportunity to slam Adobe for price gouging Australians while geo-blocking them from cheaper software prices.

The AIIA's chief Suzanne Campbell labelled a report by CHOICE saying that Australian's pay 50 per cent more for their tech than US counterparts as "fallacious", adding that Australia's consumer warranty policies drive prices sky-high.

Other companies and industry groups went before the public hearing today, including the Australian Retailers Association, the Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA and the Australian Publishers Association, all of whom blamed a combination of high taxes, warranty requirements and the cost of doing business in Australia for price discrepancies.

Image: Cimexus / Flickr



    Actually the population in the biggest city in USA is New York with just over 8 million.
    the benefit of buying in Australia is all these interest free terms we get and they're really hard to beat. I'll gladly pay extra to have the convenience of not having to spend all my savings at once

    People don't realize how small the Australian market is compared globally for these companies. Quite afew people have stated this though and i just wanted to reaffirm it. Hence why all the big companies did not bother showing up. Also while it does suck (i am an australian consumer) i do seem to agree with quite a few of these companies perhaps its because i have a part time job in retail that gives me this view but people are just so dumb these days.

    Eg: A customer comes in after a product (ipad laptop w/e) they tell me they can get it cheaper from america and complain about that to me etc.. but they dont realize that firstly Aussie wages are pretty dammed high globally (avg wage is more than double the american avg) thats one of the reaons why you can buy something thats like 2 dollars from ebay from a seller in china and get free shipping yet it cost like 10 dollars to post something overseas . There's shipping costs , the crazy stupid aussie statutory warranty policy which is so ambiguous that its just dumb since almost everyone offers extended warranties, theres 10% gst on aus goods.

    At the end of the day its their product and their decision of what price to sell it at. They know this and so they dont care And i agree with this. Imo aussies want everything and nothing will ever be enough

    I don't get it. Suppose this inquiry acknowledges the obvious and announces that we're all getting ripped off... what can they do? These international companies aren't under our nation's jurisdiction, are they going to nicely ask other governments to make their people stop draining our economy into theirs? Are they going to ban the sale of products, possibly making things even worse? Subsidise the difference and hike our taxes anyway? What can they possibly do?

    I have a yearly trip to USA, where I buy a year worth of clothing, gadgets, etc. It is half(or more) the price and the choice is huge.

    Just get the Australian Government to force companies to bring their software that you can purchase online and download in line with US Prices. This will go a long way for the public who buys the software. You will never get the price of software sold via retail stores lower than what they are but the stuff you can download....that needs to be in line with US price.

    Maybe the point I made previously was lost in my rambling;
    The EU made Apple extend their base warranty from one year to two years..
    I am sure if our governing bodies wanted to establish a fair ground playing field they could!

    I used a friends student card to purchase a copy of Adobe Photoshop
    CS6 online and only paid $187 for it (down from $536). Zaphodity 1
    Adobe 0

    As a duel citizen Aust /US i traveled to usa many times, and the price difference on all products is jaw dropping . Sports shoes 1/3 price of their Aust counter parts is probably the biggest standout. But this is nothing new the first time I reliesed the huge price difference was in 1994 when a latest VHS vid to rent was about $ 8 Aust, but in the US of A was 50cents and often free with package deals .

    The only thing high aust prices do in the tech industry is create piracy and further disadvantage the less financial families in Australia. Why should a new Dvd cost the hourly wage or new game be cheaper than flying to Sydney .

    Don't you love globalisation. Where the large powerfull companies can setup shop in china and singapore for slave labour, And still milk every cent out of us. Guess the advantages of globalisation is a one way street.

    I just bought Adobe Lightroom 4 today. $149 for the US based buyers, $187 for Australia. Why the difference I dont know, all the support etc is US (company call centre) based anyway. But the stranger thing is that the receipt is not a 'Tax Invoice' and it has a specific GST of 0%! They are not even including (and I assume paying for) the GST component as per Australian tax law.

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