Nearly a year ago, we heard that Apple was one of a group of companies that were being investigated for the possibility of price gouging in Australia. Today, the House of Representatives Committee on Infrastructure and Communications announced that the iPad maker, along with Adobe and Microsoft, have been issued subpoenas to appear before a public hearing to explain why they charge more for their products in the land Down Under.
The Committee began official inquiries in May of 2012 of major technology companies regarding complaints made by CHOICE and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, as well as the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy.
The committee wants to know why companies feel it is reasonable to charge much higher prices for goods and services in Australia than they do in the UK and US. Although there is no official list, other companies were named in this inquiry. However, Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe are the only ones who have not addressed the committee directly.
According to CNet, Apple previously gave evidence at a hearing and Microsoft submitted requested information but did not attend hearings. Adobe attended hearings, but gave no evidence and never submitted requested information.
Sydney’s MP Ed Husic spoke with Kotaku Australia on the matter. He believes the move is unfortunate but necessary. “These firms should have cooperated and been prepared to be more open and transparent about their pricing approaches,” Husic said.
Australia has been on the wrong end of what could almost be an international conspiracy. It seems that living in such a beautiful country comes with a high price. Many technology companies practice higher pricing in Australia, claiming that supporting an infrastructure on the island nation is cost prohibitive. The country is finally looking into how these major companies feel they can justify up to 60 percent higher costs for products than most other countries.
“Getting downward movement on IT prices and easing the bite of price discrimination should be an important micro-economic priority – so I’m looking forward to hearing from these firms about their pricing approaches,” said Husic.