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Australian government questions Apple over digital content 'price gouging' - Page 2

post #41 of 61

The australian consumer has been complaining about this for ever and largely been ignored...

 

We now have a government in trouble with extremely poor popularity ratings and a very slim majority in parliament, who are about to introduce a budget, and a new carbon tax.  To top this off there will be an election next year.  So perhaps they have announced this enquiry to divert attention from all the other issues that are not going well.


Edited by donvreug - 4/30/12 at 4:32pm
post #42 of 61

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Likkie View Post

This headline of this story completely misrepresents the original SMH article which it apparently references.

 

It is NOT specifically about Apple.

 

Apple has NOT been questioned.

 

They MAY be INVITED to appear before a Parliamentary Enquiry along with other vendors who fall within the terms of reference of the enquiry.

 

The truth is that the Government has announced that they PLAN to setup an enquiry into alleged price gouging of digitally delivered content.  This isn't a law suit, no one is actually accused of anything.  This is the Government, on behalf of the Australian people (of which I am one), wanting some answers to a various legitimate questions.  Thats all!

 

With regard to Apple, The Parliamentary Enquiry will find, what I already know, that for Apps we pay essentially that same as our US brethren, give or take a little for exchange rates and taxes.

 

And that Music costs more here because of the different agreement Apple has with local music companies.

 

On the whole I think this article is rubbish which, at best, misrepresents the truth and at worst seems to attempt to foster some kind of AUS/US dissent.

 

 

I wonder how the ACCC is getting on with their request for complaints from the physical book industry regarding digital books not undercutting them by enough.

 

One would have thought that drafting a complaint to the ACCC would make a welcome change from those boring accounting meetings with their liquidators.

 

Their hasn't been much news on that front, after the "They did it in the US and EU, let's do it here." anticompetitive headlines.


Edited by hill60 - 4/30/12 at 4:02pm
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post #43 of 61

All kinds of reasons for some of the difference:

 

1) Currency/Exchange Rates (even at par, it costs to convert currency)

2) Taxes (VAT is often included the price, rather than added later as in North America)

3) Import Duties

4) Distribution (Apple and many other companies use distribution services like Ingram Micro)

5) Local Taxes on business operations

6) Local rights holders for content (record labels, television, movies often have separate foreign arrangements)

 

Take the Adobe example ...if Adobe has a distributor in Australia, which is quite likely, they may add 25% or more to the price. There may be duty on software imported into Australia, plus add in the VAT - that might get you to a 50% difference.

 

 

post #44 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Maybe they have to  something like currency exchange rate and how it affects pricing?!


Yep, that's why we pay more even though the Australian dollar has been well above parity for quite some time now... I don't really see a problem with the prices in the Australian iTunes store being a little higher/different than the US.
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post #45 of 61

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

 

 

Their major complaints are why Australians pay more than Americans when they buy music and games from iTunes. Hell, I am wondering why I am paying $4/gal here in the US while in the middle east they pay less than $0.70/gal!!

 

Hey, we pay about 6 bucks a gallon. Turning it back into your cash it's more like 6.50, so don't be bitching about the price of gas.

post #46 of 61

The Australian dollar has been worth more than the US dollar for a while now, so if that was the case, things should be cheaper in Australia.

post #47 of 61
Some of these replies are just ignorant and stupid.
Australian USD exchange rates make have the AUD 5% more than the USD.. With digital download there is no shipping, and no import duties ( not that Australia has them, except on cars). this all should make things cheaper not more expensive.
Who was the dolt that said that Australia was far away? It is a part of the most dynamic region of the world, the US and Europe are all further away than Australia.
The difficult thing for some of you Americans to understand is that Australia is a society that still believes in fairness, it's called a "fair go". There is strong support for this kind of action as people in OZ know they are ripped off by international companies for everything. Just because we are not financially crippled like Europe and the US doesn't mean we should pay more.
post #48 of 61

Considering how few of you actually live in Australia, or understand the current situation, its interesting to see you all jump on the "there must be a reason" and "if you don't like it, don't buy it" bandwagon.

 

Apple is not being targeted, and that's essential to realise, no matter how AppleInsider wants to twist facts to create sensationalist arguments. This is about content pricing in general, including digital downloads.

 

Most IT retail in Australia is approximately 70% markup when compared to US pricing. Considering that our exchange rates are better, and have been better for years, its even more troubling. There is a 10% Goods and Services Tax on all goods. Add to that a possible further 10% tax for importing goods (I doubt this as the agreements between the US shouldn't require it, but lets be nice an provide this). You now still have a 50% markup on the product. The current price matrix was set when the Australian dollar was worth 65c of a US Dollar. Now that the Australian dollar is above parity, there has been no change, and no accounting for the continued slog. You want to claim "fees"? Where were those fees when the Australian dollar was not high?

 

The claim of "if you don't like it, don't buy it" isn't fair when we are expected to buy technology to live in our daily world, and every single technology company does the same thing. You can't win. There is no competition. Every company has failed to lower its prices when the comparison rate changed dramatically. They just keep dripping us dry of our money. WIthout competition, nor a reason to make Australian prices drop (they could go without the Australian consumer, and couldn't care less) we are left with the Australians being left in the lurch to pay sometimes more than double for a product.

 

Its very easy as a commenter from another country to go "what will be will be; that's the business's choice." But when the companies have no interest in competition, and you are the one suffering through companies' greed over an entire sector, and there is NOTHING you can do to get a fair price (even if taxes etc disappeared - they still wouldn't change the price) you're left going "what"?

 

As for the App Store pricing matrix drop? It dropped somewhat, but not completely to fairness. Nevertheless, this was in response to a similar call by the Australian parliament. But the majority of the money from the App Stores isn't going to Apple. When developers can take the hit for them, they'll do it. But what happened to iTunes, and Mac, and Microsoft, and Adobe, and basically every other price? It stayed the same. This was an admission that they are taking way too high a cut, by dropping OTHERS' money, as a way to placate the Australian government. And yet they didn't change THEIR pricing. They didn't change anything except what wasn't theirs to begin with.

 

Its the sorry state of this industry in Australia, but being on a high horse from another country and putting your fingers in your ears and calling Australians liars isn't helpful.

post #49 of 61

We lived with this sort of thing for a long time here in the UK, especially if it had anything to do with Macs (not necessarily with Apple) -- Adobe products were so overpriced that after buying the first versions I simply looked for alternatives or used "borrowed" applications. I even paid three times as much for a SCSI hard drive for my first Mac as I would have if I had been using WinPCs. Same with printers and other peripherals. Scanners? Don't even go there! If my wife ever finds out how much I spent on hardware and software, she'll probably castrate me.

 

Apple's products haven't cost that much more in the UK, and from time-to-time I do price comparisons in case I can get something cheaper when my US-based niece visits family in the UK, but so far I haven't purchased one Apple product from the US -- the price difference isn't worth it in most cases.

 

As far as digital content is concerned, we always lagged behind the US: the US is a huge market, copyright laws are favourable to digital content owners and royalty payments aren't on a par with overseas markets. The paperback fiction market is the weirdest -- almost all books are marked "not for sale in the US" and I have seen US-published books stating "not for sale outside the US & Canada". No need to scratch our heads -- it's all to do with copyrights & royalties.

 

And who is to blame for all these varying price differences between countries? Governments. I would love it if, at the end of the enquiry, the conclusion is that it is actually Australian law that results in determining pricing (excluding Adobe, of course!).

post #50 of 61

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Their major complaints are why Australians pay more than Americans when they buy music and games from iTunes. Hell, I am wondering why I am paying $4/gal here in the US while in the middle east they pay less than $0.70/gal!!

 

Well, you should not bleat about that too much. The middle east just pump it straight out of the ground. The US pays less per barrel than the rest of the world. Why should you expect the rest of the world to subsidise the US? Then the US subsidises the car and petroleum industries as against public transport, which can be faster, cheaper, and more energy efficient. So your $4/gal is all round a good deal. Car drivers in the US are all round subsidised.

 

On the Australian price gouging issue, it is price gouged all round. Why is Australian food in Australia more expensive than the same food elsewhere? Sydney is more expensive than Singapore and London.

 

Another case in point is the over-protected book industry. That's why bookshops in Australia are going out of business since people turn to Amazon. Even with postage it still works out at half the price.

post #51 of 61

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PG4G View Post

 

The claim of "if you don't like it, don't buy it" isn't fair when we are expected to buy technology to live in our daily world, and every single technology company does the same thing. You can't win. There is no competition. Every company has failed to lower its prices when the comparison rate changed dramatically. They just keep dripping us dry of our money. WIthout competition, nor a reason to make Australian prices drop (they could go without the Australian consumer, and couldn't care less) we are left with the Australians being left in the lurch to pay sometimes more than double for a product.

 

Its very easy as a commenter from another country to go "what will be will be; that's the business's choice." But when the companies have no interest in competition, and you are the one suffering through companies' greed over an entire sector, and there is NOTHING you can do to get a fair price (even if taxes etc disappeared - they still wouldn't change the price) you're left going "what"?

 

You have overlooked one thing Australians might do.  Invent your own technology and ecosystem.  Then  you can price it "fairly".

If things are that drastically overpriced, it should be a tremendous opportunity.

post #52 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Hempel View Post
The Australian dollar has been worth more than the US dollar for a while now, so if that was the case, things should be cheaper in Australia.

 

No, as that's not the only consideration.

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post #53 of 61

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

 

 

You have overlooked one thing Australians might do.  Invent your own technology and ecosystem.  Then  you can price it "fairly".

If things are that drastically overpriced, it should be a tremendous opportunity.

 

How does that differ from an American company selling items to Australia with a much higher cost than say the UK? Your point is pointless with an international company selling goods world wide.

post #54 of 61

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

No, as that's not the only consideration.

 

No but it's a major one though right? Certainly hard to justify 50% plus markups for downloadable content when the exchange is on par if not better.

post #55 of 61

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredaroony View Post

Uhh so you think international companies charging double, if not many time more, for digitally downloaded content is not an important issue? Maybe if it was happening to you then you might give a crap.

 

I'm guessing there are more important issues for the Australian government to be concerned with.

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post #56 of 61

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

 

 

I'm guessing there are more important issues for the Australian government to be concerned with.

 

I'm guessing there are more important issues for you to be concerned with too. Perhaps you should troll somewhere else...

post #57 of 61
The artists, software distributors, publishers are all to blame. They presently price gouge for all physical goods and want digital equivalents to match these prices.

The fact is that this happens in every single country around the world, it's just that the folk from oz are already getting shafted and the cost of digital downloads makes this blatantly obvious.

There is no reason for physical albums to cost the same as digital ones other than greedy publishers. Until they accept that the physical market for these goods is dying they won't reduce the cost of digital media.
post #58 of 61

I don't think iTunes is too expensive. The US market is just a lot bigger, with a lot more competition driving prices down.

post #59 of 61

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

 

 

You have overlooked one thing Australians might do.  Invent your own technology and ecosystem.  Then  you can price it "fairly".

If things are that drastically overpriced, it should be a tremendous opportunity.

 

We did.

 

You're using it.

 

It's called "WiFi".

 

Thanks for the royalties.

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post #60 of 61

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredaroony View Post

I'm guessing there are more important issues for you to be concerned with too. Perhaps you should troll somewhere else...

 

I can always tell when someone is on the losing end of an argument. They start the name-calling and accusations of "trolling."

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post #61 of 61

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredaroony View Post

 

 

No but it's a major one though right? Certainly hard to justify 50% plus markups for downloadable content when the exchange is on par if not better.

 

There are still a lot of factors to be considered. The big one is that we don't know what licensing deals Apple has with the media providers. In at least some cases, the song owners have demanded different terms in different countries and that could affect the price.


In reality, Apple doesn't really care that much about the price. They don't make money on iTunes and simply take a fixed percentage of the price. Furthermore, the Australia market is a relatively small market for them, so it wouldn't make sense for them to intentionally gouge customers there - not enough potential profits to make it worth while.

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