It looks like our Australian neighbors across the globe are feeling like they are being treated unfairly when it comes to software and media downloads. Apparently, residents are forced to pay extra, sometimes even $10,000 more, for digital downloads of software and such than the U.S. and Europe.
According to Australia-based Sydney Morning Herald, Federal Labor politicians are calling out technology companies like Apple and Microsoft to explain why they feel justified in their pricing policies. ”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,” Stephen Conroy, Minister for Communications, said in a letter to Sydney MP Ed Husic.
The official inquiry is not yet finalized, but is scheduled to begin later this year at the charge of the House of Representative’s standing committee on infrastructure and communications.
Husic has been raising his concerns over the price difference in downloadable software for over a year. He told the Sydney Morning Herald that he believes this will be the first time that major tech companies have been called before a parliamentary inquiry to explain their price policies.
Though no company was named specifically, the article mentions that excuses computer and software companies give for why they charge more in Australia is that the market is smaller, the cost to set up support centers is more expensive and local taxes and duties are higher.
Adobe was recently brought into the limelight when it became known that the company would be charging Australians up to $1,400 more than U.S. residents for the same software. Husic said that small and medium-sized businesses suffer tremendous disparities by paying as much as $10,000 more on software compared to overseas counterparts.
A Productivity Commission report released last year said the excuses that technology companies give for the increased cost to Australians is not justifiable, “especially in the case of downloaded music, software and videos for example, where the cost to of delivery to the customer are practically zero.”
Web developer Daniel Myles has been tracking price differences in his country for some time, now. He calls it “The Australian Tax, the tax we pay just by being Australian.”