You know how songs on iTunes in the US are 99c? Well in Australia they’re $1.69. That’s seventy cents extra for the same file, stored in the same data centre, sent at the speed of light across cables that have nothing to do with how Apple operates.
Adobe’s Creative Suite Master 6 Collection (Photoshop, Illustrator, the works) in Australia costs a mind-boggling AUD$4,334.
The same software in the US costs $2599 , Gizmodo Australia reminded us today. That’s a price difference of AUD$1,811, or nearly 72% more expensive for Australians to download or purchase the same software package. It is actually cheaper to buy return plane tickets to the US than it is to purchase Adobe’s arrogantly priced, monopolistic (antitrust) software.
As Gizmodo said today:
Almost $2000 difference on a piece of software distributed through an online store. It’s still cheaper to fly from here in Sydney to Los Angeles, buy it there, and come home. By doing that I’d save $601, and I’d get Virgin Australia frequent flyer points, too.
None of this is really news to consumers here, as we have long lamented the fact we’re getting ripped off without explanation by overseas firms, powerless in spite of our cries of frustration.
The reason it’s making headlines now is because finally, even our Federal Government has had enough.
Here’s what Kotaku Australia reported a couple of days ago:
Major offenders Apple, Microsoft and Adobe have been reluctant to speak to the Committee handling [the IT pricing inquiry in Australia] to explain themselves.
As a result of this all three companies have now been summonsed to speak at a public hearing on March 22 in Canberra (the capital city of Australia and home of the Australian Federal Parliament) to answer questions regarding the increased pricing of its technology in Australia.
In short: this means that if all three companies do not send representatives to the hearing there will be direct legal consequences.
Ed Husic, IT pricing’s Harvey Dent, welcomed the move but claimed its one they government shouldn’t have been forced to make.
“These firms should have cooperated and been prepared to be more open and transparent about their pricing approaches,” he said.
“In what’s probably the first time anywhere in the world, these IT firms are now being summonsed by the Australian Parliament to explain why they price their products so much higher in Australia compared to the US.
As a result of this subpoena, Adobe almost immediately dropped annual subscription pricing for its Creative Cloud suite from $62.99 to $49.99 per month in Australia. Casual subscription pricing also dropped, from $94.99 to $74.99 per month in Australia. But they didn’t touch their golden eggs, the Creative Suite packages. They truly do think Australians must be overpaid morons who will forever sit back and say “she’ll be right, mate”.
Apple’s iPhone 5 costs AUD $799 for the lowest memory model, while it’s insultingly advertised on Apple’s global website as $199 for the same model, unlocked and contract-free in the US. That’s $600 more expensive, or a jaw-dropping 300% markup. ie: For every iPhone sold in Australia, Apple makes the money of three sales back home.
So what’s all this then? Justified costs of shipping and marketing in the land down-under? Or is my theory more likely: that overseas pricing is inflated astronomically to help subsidize the price for their crucial Star-Spangled Banner home market?
I really applaud the Federal Government’s move, especially that the date they must answer and provide evidence is so soon: March 23rd is just over one month away and hardly gives these bastards enough time to put together a cohesive legal strategy… oh who am I kidding, they’re no doubt all armed to the teeth ready for a fight. Still, we are all wishing the summons date was sprung on them even sooner.
I’m sure we’re going to hear rubbish like “the cost of servers” and “marketing strategies in Australia” justify the exorbitant percentage increases, so here’s hoping the Federal Government has already done it’s homework and employed some network professionals of their own to rebut any of the tech jargon the IT giants are prone to spewing forth like Pokemon to stun their opponents.
I don’t think it should end there, either. I won’t be happy until a class action is mounted by Maurice Blackburn, Australia’s largest legal firm, or similar, just like they have done successfully against the great telecommunications companies and just like they are doing against the great four banks, demanding compensation and payback for unfair fees and penalties across those industries.
IT companies, your golden days here are numbered.
- Apple, Microsoft Summonsed To Explain Australian Price Disparity | Kotaku Australia
- Don’t Believe The Adobe Price Cut Hype, It’s Still Gouging You Silly | Gizmodo Australia
- Apple, Microsoft, Adobe summoned by Australian parliament (panarmenian.net)
- Australia summons technology giants (bbc.co.uk)
- The Secret Is Out: Australia’s Best Holiday Destination As Revealed By Australians (prweb.com)
- Australia to grill Apple, others on pricing (news.yahoo.com)
- Update: Australian Parliament Subpoenas Microsoft, Apple on Price Hikes (escapistmagazine.com)