Adobe restricts Australians from accessing its US-based website, which sells its products at a lower cost, in order provide a more "personalised experience" to users, and to track the company's revenue within the region, according to Adobe managing director for Australia and New Zealand Paul Robson.
Most of the ire regarding Adobe's software pricing is directed at the company's online store, which often charges a large premium in Australia. Considering that the software is digitally delivered and requires little logistical cost above and beyond serving other geographies, many consumers consider the prices in Australia as being inexplicably exorbitant.
Australians are unable to access Adobe's US website to buy the products at a lower cost, because they are automatically redirected to the company's local website.
It is important to geo-block and restrict Australians to Adobe's Australia-only website to provide a more "personalised experience" for consumers in different markets, Robson said at the IT pricing inquiry parliamentary hearing on Friday. It also allows the company to "capture the revenue that is relevant to the Australian market", and to make better business decisions, he said.
The higher cost of online products in Australia reflects the costs of running the local Adobe operations, the salary of staff, and investment into developing its local sales channels, Robson said. The cost of the development must also be recouped during the sale of software products, so that the company can support ongoing innovation to deliver to customers, he said.
For physical boxed products, freight and logistics costs are also considered, but the company is encouraging customers to move onto adopting its products through Adobe Creative Cloud, which is a subscription-based service that has Australian pricing comparable to the US, he claimed.
Robson continuously defended Adobe's high online store and boxed product pricing in Australia, claiming that it's to push users to the subscription-based Creative Cloud, which the company sees as the way of the future for software distribution.
It is important to note that Adobe only lowered the pricing of Creative Cloud access in Australia last month, after it was summonsed to appear before the IT pricing enquiry.
Adobe noted that 85 percent of its sales flow through local channel partners, and its online store is only one way that customers can purchase its products.
"Direct sales and sales through our channel partners are also very important for effectively supplying and servicing our Australian customer base and ensuring the success of the Australia business," Robson said in his written submission to the IT pricing inquiry.
At the parliamentary hearing, he said that customers can buy Adobe boxed products overseas, but that those products would not be covered by the company's local warranty policies.
Apple also appeared before the parliamentary hearing earlier on Friday. While the company said it has little control over pricing of digital content on iTunes, its hardware and software products have similar pricing across Australia and the US.