Tagged With pricing inquiry

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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Apple, Adobe and Microsoft faced off against the IT Pricing Committee in parliament today to explain why they routinely overcharge Australians for products and services. Their litany of excuses makes for some amusing -- and enraging -- reading.

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It's an appealing image: Apple, Adobe and Microsoft forced to front up to a parliamentary committee and explain why they overcharge Australians. But even if those organisations end up being subpoenaed and forced to testify before the IT Pricing Inquiry, we shouldn't assume that means anything will be learned or anything will be changed.

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Australians are often blocked from purchasing cheaper software, music and movies from overseas because the sites selling those products won't accept an Australian credit card. One possible solution to that would be to make it illegal to block access to cheaper prices for Australians, ensuring we could access better-priced overseas alternatives. That sounds like a clever solution, but once again it's extremely unlikely to happen.

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Discussions about tech pricing make everyone angry, but rarely solve anything. Software and hardware vendors are kidding themselves if they think their flimsy justifications for gouging Australian consumers will stand up to in-depth scrutiny. Consumers are kidding themselves if they think that this is a universal phenomenon. And we're all kidding ourselves if we think that the current parliamentary inquiry will have any real effect on the issue.

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The government inquiry into the price of tech products in Australia began public hearings today in Sydney. One argument we're bound to hear from vendors trying to justify the 'Australia tax' is that local taxes and expenses force higher prices to be charged here than elsewhere. Those arguments seem hard to swallow in an industry where Apple can make a 50 per cent margin on every phone it sells.