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.