Australia Probes Apple, Microsoft, Adobe Over High Prices

Australian officials are looking into whether Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe charge too much for their products in the region.

The committee for infrastructure and communications within Australia’s House of Representatives will hold a hearing on Friday, March 22 to examine the issue. In a news release, the committee said it has issued summonses to the three tech firms to appear at that hearing.

“The Committee has been examining claims made by organizations such as CHOICE, and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.”

CHOICE, which describes itself as “the people’s watchdog,” said in a statement that it welcomed the committee’s probe. The group said the government’s investigation will focus on the price of computers, software, games, and digital music “to force international companies to front up and explain their higher prices in Australia.”
CHOICE submitted a report to the committee last year, which found that Australians are paying on average 34 percent more for software, 52 percent more for iTunes music, 88 percent more for Wii games and 41 percent more for computer hardware than U.S. consumers.

“We have recommended that the government investigate whether measures used to sustain international price discrimination, like geo-blocking, are anti-competitive,” CHOICE said.

On the Apple Australia website, an iPad mini starts at approximately $379, whereas it is $329 in the U.S. The Microsoft Surface RT, meanwhile, starts at $575 in Australia and $499 in the U.S.

PCMag has reached out to Microsoft, Adobe, and Apple, and will update with any statement they might have.
This is not the first time Apple has tangled with Australian officials. In June 2012, Apple was fined about $2 million for misleading the public about the new iPad’s capabilities.

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