Apple/Microsoft/Adobe Under Spotlight for Hiking Australian Prices
March 22, 2013 3:01 PM
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.
“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
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