Adobe, Apple And Microsoft Forced To Front Australian Tech Pricing Inquiry

One of the big disappointments of last year's IT pricing inquiry was that Adobe, Apple and Microsoft refused to make detailed submissions discussing their sometimes questionable pricing tactics. That's no longer an option: all three have been subpoenaed to appear before the ongoing Federal government inquiry.

Currency picture from Shutterstock

Luke over at Gizmodo reports on the latest development, which will see all three forced to appear on March 22. That option was first suggested in Parliament in October last year.

It's not clear that this means the companies will actually disclose any new information: Microsoft, for instance, did make a submission to the original inquiry, but it was one that lacked detail. Apple made a confidential submission but wouldn't discuss its pricing strategy in public, while Adobe — arguably the worst offender in the software field — didn't make an individual submission at all.

Scrutiny on pricing tactics is welcome, but I'm still not convinced the inquiry will make much practical difference. As I've argued at length before, forcing vendors to charge a specific price would essentially mean the government could dictate the prices that businesses charge, and that's not a viewpoint that's likely to be endorsed by either side of politics. Nonetheless, we'll be watching in March to see what happens.

Australian Government To Force Apple, Microsoft To Front Up Australia Tax Inquiry [Gizmodo]


Comments

    I don't think "forcing vendors to charge a specific price would essentially mean the government could dictate the prices that businesses charge" is the correct path to take but if the vendors stated and started to price their products according to the exchange rate, then that's a better option for everyone or allow Australians to purchase via the US sites. Maybe

    I'm sure there's plenty of regulation options to ensure the prices aren't insane.

    Actually they should pass a law decriminalizing piracy of products priced at a certain percentage about the exchange rate!

      You can't decriminalize software piracy.
      You can, however, make it publicly known that those who over-charge will find their piracy claims pursued about as enthusiastically as jay-walking. And prosecuted at a speed that would make a snail blush.

        I think that politicians can change the criminal laws. They easiest way would be to reduce the penalties for software piracy to a 'sternly worded letter'.
        I doubt that this could be made specific to Adobe or Microsoft though.

        Last edited 11/02/13 5:25 pm

          We're talking about which pirates we choose to prosecute. If [say] Adobe suddenly came to the party, and their price was cut to within 3% of the RRP in the USA - it's still piracy, but now the pirates get targeted more actively. Short of having a published list of "acceptable targets" I don't know how you'd manage this.

    "forcing vendors to charge a specific price would essentially mean the government could dictate the prices that businesses charge"

    There is a big difference between government dictating pricing and the government removing price discrimination where we get charged more for a product based upon where we live.

    But I like what you did there - the old 'xyz' is communism trick :P

    I'm sure Adobe will cooperate with the inquiry in much the same way they cooperate with Australian consumers.

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