Apple/Microsoft/Adobe Under Spotlight for Hiking Australian Prices
March 22, 2013 3:01 PM
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Apple says content providers like record companies, TV networks and movie studios are to blame
Apple, Microsoft and Adobe are currently being questioned for the high prices they
for digital products, but Apple accused traditional content distributors like record companies for the price hikes.
An Australian parliamentary committee is investigating Apple, Microsoft and Adobe for charging Australian customers around 50 percent more for digital products (and sometimes hardware) than customers in other areas of the world -- including the U.S.
Tony King, vice president for Apple Australia, New Zealand and South Asia, said that traditional content providers like record labels, TV networks and movie studios are to blame because digital pricing is based on wholesale costs set by these content holders.
"The content industry still runs with perhaps old-fashioned notions of country borders or territories or markets," King said. "The cards are in the hand of the folks who own the content, that is not in our hand to play."
Apple, Microsoft and Adobe also said that prices are higher in Australia because of higher labor costs, copyright issues, geographical product differentiation and Australia's 10 percent goods and services tax.
A survey by consumer advocacy group Choice showed that both hardware and software sold in Australia were priced 50 percent higher than the same items in the U.S.
While King pointed out that products like the iPad mini and Final Cut Pro software were the same price in Australia as the U.S., other products clearly are not. For instance, albums like Justin Timberlake's "20/20 Experience" and AC/DC's "Back in Black" on iTunes are priced 50 percent and 70 percent higher in Australia compared to the U.S. respectively.
For Adobe, Australians have to pay A$3,175 ($3,300 USD) for CS6 Design and Web Premium software while Americans pay just $1,899.
On Microsoft's end, the committee said that Australians pay A$4,136 for the same products that Americans pay the equivalent of A$2,324 for.
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RE: am I missing the problem?
3/22/2013 4:35:31 PM
It's not as simple as saying the products don't cost more just because they're digital goods. Unless MS, Adobe, etc have literally no presence in Australia - in other words, all Australian users do is download from the US or whatever - there could be higher costs. If there are Australian servers, offices, or personnel who are employed by these companies, there very well could be additional costs to support the product in Australia.
RE: am I missing the problem?
3/22/2013 7:48:14 PM
Except... Say you buy a game, 99% of the time you will get charged 40-50% more for it in Australia.
That's all well and dandy... But then the game company's still don't provide any servers.
Heck, Blizzard doesn't even provide actual Australian servers, we use Singapore in South East Asia or choose the USA and deal with high pings.
So where are the extra costs? Support is usually handled by the retailer, so it's not like EA, Blizzard, Ubisoft are paying for it, support on services like Origin is all overseas, same with the telephone support.
Besides, costs/exchange rate were the excuses companies made for games being so much more expensive and that was when the Australian dollar was worth about 60 US cents, however when the reverse happened and an Australian dollar was worth more than 1 US dollar, prices didn't budge. At all.
It's simply price gauging, plain and simple.
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