Tech giants silent on Govt 'price gouging' findings

Tech giants silent on Govt 'price gouging' findings

Australia’s leading technology companies appear to have gone to ground following the release of the government's key recommendations into IT pricing.

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

Yesterday, the House of Representatives Infrastructure and Communications Committee released its report into alleged price gouging by the major tech companies in Australia.

If adopted, it will see Apple, Adobe, and Microsoft face several measures which could spell the end of their use of “geo-blocking” (regional restrictions) on the use of their products.

The report found a 50-100% difference in the prices Australians pay for IT software and hardware compared to their US counterparts. In the case of online gaming platform Steam, Australians were being charged up to 300% more.

The inquiry, established a year ago to examine why Australians pay higher prices for IT products compared to other jurisdictions, recommended that Australian consumers be offered more protection under the law when trying to bypass regional restrictions.

When contacted B&T this morning for comment about the findings of the inquiry, both Adobe and Microsoft said they were not willing to comment at this time.

The report recommended the government should educate consumers on how circumvent geo-blocking that has previously prevented them from sourcing cheaper goods in other markets.

It stated that “in many instances these higher costs cannot, even cumulatively, explain the price differences consumers experience in relation to many IT products, and especially those delivered via the internet."

In regard to a possible complete ban on geo-blocking, the report said this should be considered as “an option of last resort, should persistent market failure exist in spite of the changes to the Competition and Consumer Act and the Copyright Act recommended in this report."

However, committee chair Nick Champion has admitted that the Government would not be able to regulate the prices the tech companies charge for their products.

In March, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayenhe defended the company from allegations of price gouging in Australia saying the Creative Cloud products are charged “appropriately” across the world.