Apple, Microsoft given Aust IT pricing inquiry ultimatum

Apple, Microsoft given Aust IT pricing inquiry ultimatum

Summary: An Australian parliamentary committee has formally written to Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe to compel them to appear before the committee investigating IT pricing disparity in Australia.


The parliamentary committee overseeing the inquiry into the so-called "Australia tax" for IT products with higher prices in Australia has written to reluctant participants Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe with an ultimatum seeking to compel them to give evidence.

The three companies have provided written evidence for the committee, and Apple has been given a closed-door briefing, but Labor MP Ed Husic, who is spearheading the inquiry, said that the companies would under normal circumstances front up to the public hearings to take questions from members of parliament. He said that the committee has written to the companies several times before, with no luck.

"There's a lot more questions you want to ask to flesh out those submissions, but what these guys have said is, 'no, we've given you enough,'" he told ZDNet.

The committee is set to meet on Friday, and last week it sent letters to Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe, stating that if the companies do not agree to appear, then the committee has the power to compel them to appear.

"We've basically written back saying it is not enough; we need more information and we do have the power in the committee to summon companies to appear. It's a none-too-subtle way of saying, 'can you just turn up and things will be a lot easier,'" he said.

Husic said that if the committee does not hear back, then it is unlikely that the report to parliament will be very flattering for the companies that have refused to give evidence.

"There's a belief that these companies are turning their nose up to the parliamentary process, and a number of us [on the committee] feel that it is unsatisfactory," he said.

Future hearings will be scheduled around the remaining sitting periods for parliament. Husic said there is no formal date set for when the committee has to report back to parliament with recommendations.

Topics: Government, Apple, Government AU, Microsoft


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • also not gst

    With a recent purchase I made with Adobe, not only was their AU pricing higher than the US version (A download of Lightroom) their final invoice stated 0% GST.. So it seems they are not collecting GST for Australian specific purchases. So after the purchase and not getting my activation code, the business hours call to their AU 1800 help line went through to that inevitable Indian call centre. So what part of this is a reason to have a different price, AU support (no), GST (no), Services (no it's a .com/au), Pricing exchange (no, we are 1.04 to 1), Shipping (not for a download with no delivered material).. Just a revenue opportunity.
    Warren Morgan
  • Adobe pricing in Australia is over the top

    Agree with Warren, all their products, including downloads are double and in a few cases, nearly triple the price in Australia compared with the US price. I wrote a submission to the inquiry, I hope something is done and they are forced to drop their prices to the same as the US, would be more than happy to pay GST on it then, if price was US equivalent
  • Tradewind

    Glad to see parliment doing something about this arrogant price gouging. It may not seem as important but i'd like to see Steam brought forward too.
  • About damn time

    Nice to see that someone is finally getting around to dealing with this, I'm tired of being forced to pay a premium because of my geographical location -.- Bit of a double standard