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Five questions for Apple, Adobe and Microsoft at IT pricing inquiry

22 March 2013

CHOICE is challenging global technology giants Adobe, Apple and Microsoft to answer five key questions at today’s Federal Parliamentary inquiry into IT pricing, which is looking at why Australians are paying about 50% more for software and hardware1.
“There is no justification for Australians paying more than consumers in the United States for identical products,” says Matt Levey, Head of Campaigns at CHOICE.
“We have heard all sorts of excuses from the tech companies, like claims that Australian wages, rent and taxes are too high and that our warranties are onerous. Our research shows that none of the excuses stack up and the only conclusion is that the technology companies are greedy.
“Today, Adobe, Apple and Microsoft have every opportunity to come clean on their dirty deeds,” says Mr Levey.
What CHOICE wants to know:
  1. Why is it costing Australians 70% more to rock out to AC/DC’s Back in Black on iTunes?2
  2. Why does it cost a graphic designer in Adelaide $3175 to buy Adobe CS6 Design and Web Premium when a creative in Los Angeles only has to pay $US1899?3
  3. Why does it cost a small business in Sydney $599 to buy Microsoft’s Office Professional 2013 when a business in San Francisco only has to pay $US399.99?4
  4. How many of their staff in Australia work on developing software?     
  5. Who sets the pricing on iTunes -  Apple or the music and film industry?
“The tech giants are using blocking tactics – they have been subpoenaed to appear before the inquiry after previously stonewalling, and they are blocking Australians from buying cheaper downloadable products over the internet.”
CHOICE has published a guide for consumers to get around ‘geoblocking’ and other forms of price discrimination.

“CHOICE thinks it’s time to end the great Aussie rip-off and stop discriminating against local consumers,” Mr Levey says.

Note: The three companies will appear at Parliament House in Canberra Friday March 22, with Apple kicking off the day at 9:30 am, followed by Adobe at 11:30 am and Microsoft at 1 pm. Matt Levey will be live tweeting from the hearing via @mattlevey and available for comment throughout the day.
1. CHOICE looked at over 200 IT hardware and software products in our submission to the IT Pricing inquiry.

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