Big name tech companies are coming under the microscope in Australia for their price gouging activities:
Apple and Microsoft will be among technology companies asked to explain to Parliament why Australians pay much more for music and game downloads from iTunes, for example, than overseas customers.
Federal Labor politicians are hoping the publicity generated by calling the companies to account for their pricing policies will result in prices dropping.
The Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, has signed off on the parliamentary inquiry, which will also consider pricing of software and other IT-related material and could have big implications for businesses.
”There is evidence to suggest that the innovative use of technology is not always matched with innovative new business models in the case of products and services distributed online,” Mr Conroy said in a letter to Sydney MP Ed Husic.
”I agree that Australian businesses and households should have access to IT software and hardware that is fairly priced relative to other jurisdictions … the global digital economy is likely to make it increasingly difficult to sustain business models that are based on a geographic carve-up of markets.”
The terms of reference for the inquiry are being finalised by Mr Conroy but it will begin later this year and be conducted by the House of Representatives standing committee on infrastructure and communications.
It is ridiculous that territorial arrangements still exist for most products, especially in the technology area. However the problem is not confined solely to that area.
Take sporting goods….You can buy a pair of Irish Setter boots from Cabelas for $119 USD, the same pair of boots here will set you back $475 USD. The problem is that the distributors and agents are marking up and then the retailers are marking up meaning that the consumer is getting tucked. Ultimately though the retailer is getting tucked because people just go an buy online.