Apple and Microsoft Scrutinized by Australian Officials


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Australia's minister for communications, Stephen Conroy, wants to know why people in his country are paying more for digital downloads from companies like Microsoft and Apple than consumers in overseas markets like the United States. The Sydney Harold Reports Australia's parliament is hoping to draw people's attention to the discrepancy in order to force a price-drop on downloads.

Stephen Conroy comments in a letter to Ed Husic, Sydney MP:

''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.''

''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,''

Ed Husic is part of a committee who has been trying to raise awareness on the price discrepancies for over a year. He says the issue has a particular impact on small to medium sized businesses. One example of the problem comes from Adobe software company. Australians pay, on average, $1400 more for their software than US customers.

Ed Husic comments on the price discrepancies:

"Small to medium-sized businesses might pay over $10,000 more on software compared to overseas counterparts,''

"People here scratch their heads trying to work out why they get fleeced on software downloads,''

The ministry of communications and Stephen Conroy have just signed off on an official Parliament investigation on digital downloads and they are hoping to get responses from all the major software distributors. Many australian business owners currently set up addresses in the United states so they can enjoy the American price on downloads.