If you’ve ever visited a foreign country or even stumbled upon the UK or Australian branch of a retailer’s website, you’ve probably noticed that all of the prices are different. Australians are finally asking why that is – specifically when it comes to products from Apple, Adobe, and Microsoft, many of which are downloadable software or media. The Australian government is now demanding the three companies explain the difference in prices.
According to MacRumors, the companies refused to send representatives to the initial IT Pricing Inquiry and now the Australian government has sent summonses to all three companies that require them to attend the inquiry with a warning that there will be legal consequences if they don’t attend.
So are the prices really that different once you account for currency fluctuations and included tax? In short, yes, but the amount that prices vary differs from product to product. A base model, 64GB 11-inch MacBook Air costs A$1,099 ($1,130 USD) in Australia, but $999 in the U.S. Take out the included Australian taxes and the price comes to the same as the U.S. price, A$999, but that’s still $1,027 once you factor in the currency conversion.
Purchasing Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 as a download, where the Australian VAT tax isn’t included, is another pricing adventure. The full version of the program will set you back A$131 ($134 USD) down under, but just $100 in the U.S.. So why does the same downloadable program cost $34 more in Australia than in the U.S.? That’s what the Australian government hopes to find out. It’s possible this could change pricing structures, not just for Adobe, Apple, and Microsoft, but for tech vendors everywhere. This is especially true for vendors of downloadable software and media that can’t blame shipping and stocking overhead on the higher prices. We can’t wait to see how this inquiry plays out.
Image via kawaiikiri/Flickr