Adobe's price drop just the first step: Husic

Adobe's price drop just the first step: Husic

Summary: In a sit-down interview with ZDNet, Australian Labor Party MP Ed Husic spoke about his efforts with the IT pricing inquiry, the NBN, and IT skills issues.


Labor MP Ed Husic told ZDNet that summonsing Apple, Adobe, and Microsoft to appear before the parliamentary inquiry into price disparity of IT products between Australia and other countries is a power that the parliament has only used three times before — and getting Adobe to drop its prices is just the beginning.

Last week, the parliamentary committee investigating IT pricing disparity formally summonsed Apple, Adobe, and Microsoft to appear before the committee in March. The tech giants had previously refused to speak in a public hearing about why prices for their products in Australia are higher than in other countries, like the United States.

Husic, who sits on the committee and has spearheaded a lot of the work behind the investigation, said that the summonsing was required for the committee to give a full and complete report.

"We had a situation where we felt we couldn't feel entirely confident we could bring down a thorough report ... without some of the big players getting involved," he said.

The Labor MP said that a committee summonsing organisations or people to appear before them is something that has rarely been used in Australia.

"Based on some of the research [I've done], the only times there have been summons have been in 1963, 1982, and 2000," he said. "So three instances, now this makes four, that a committee has had to issue formal summons in an attempt to get evidence as part of doing a report."

Husic said that the companies should see the hearing as a chance to get their side of the story out.

"This is as much of an opportunity for the companies to educate in the factors they have to deal with as much as it is for us to get the facts to do a proper report in something people do want to see movement on," he said.

Shortly after being summonsed, Adobe lowered the subscription price for its Creative Cloud product. However, when questioned, the global CEO refused to say whether the company would drop the price of any of its other products.

Husic welcomed the drop, but said that the company needs to address its other products that are still more expensive in Australia.

"Full marks to them, but this is only the initial step. As consumers are rightly pointing out, [the price drop] is not for the stand-alone products; this is restricted to the cloud at the moment," he said.

"They do have a long way to go. Adobe is one of the companies I have a lot of people writing and contacting me about their pricing structure."

The best outcome for the inquiry is to address what companies are charging versus what people are willing to pay, Husic said.

"For so long, the sector has priced on what the market is going to bear, and the market is saying we don't want to bear this anymore."

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU, Australia


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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  • Not just Adobe that are buckling

    Apple seems to have improved a lot too.

    Apple's prices on the software I have looked at are same as US prices with GST added. (FCP X - US$299.99 = $320.25 inc GST / Actual AU$319.99 - slightly cheaper here)

    Apple's prices on Hardware seem to be a lot closer to US plus GST than they used to be.(MBP 13" US$1199 = $1280 inc GST / Actual AU$1349 - $69 more here)

    So hardware is more which may be explainable as freight etc. Or may not?

    I think this inquiry is having an effect.

    Anyone got an up to date comparison on other companies?
  • We don't like your prices . . .

    . . . so we're going to put a gun to your head until you charge the prices we like!

    The right to property and free trade carries with it the right to charge whatever price you like to whomever you like on whichever day of the week you like. Governments preventing individuals and corporations (which are just collections of individuals) from doing so violate their most fundamental of rights.
    • Francisco d'Anconia

      "FDanconia"'s screen name comes from the character Francisco d'Anconia in Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged". So we can assume he's fanatically in favour of unrestricted free market economics over any other considerations. It's usually impossible to reason with people like that.

      In case you hadn't noticed @FDanconia, this is Australia; not some Objectivist fantasy island (or even the USA). There are no inalienable rights to property or free trade in this country. Australia is a Commonwealth, where competing interests are balanced to find practical, satisfactory solutions for all ... even if someone's imaginary "rights" gets ignored. No software vendor will be materially harmed by the sensible and moderate activities of the Parliamentary committee.
  • Fair prices

    @FDanconia: free trade and market forces work well when there is competition.

    The major players being asked to front this inquiry, inc Microsoft, Apple and Adobe, are effectively global monopolies abusing their monopoly power in their respective market sectors.

    This inquiry is not about Government restricting fair trade but asking these companies to explain their pricing structures since there appears to be price gouging when comparing the prices in regional markets globally - the pricing disparities are well documented online.

    Recent price drops indicate that some progress is being made towards global price equity and fairness - pity it takes Govt inquiries to achieve it.
  • Adobe Price Fixing in Australia

    The following a copy of the conversation I had with Adobe after I noticed over a 50% increase over what they ask to download software from their USA site versus the Australian site. After this BS conversation I was so furious with the lies, I bought another product. All I can say is they are thieves and profiteers. I have removed the Adobe consultants name and mine to protect us from these crooks. Buy another brand and dump these crooks.
    Thank you for choosing Adobe. A representative will be with you shortly. Your estimated wait time is 4 minute(s) and 10 second(s) or longer as there are 3 customer(s) in line ahead of you.
    You are now chatting with Adobe support agent.
    Adobe support agent: Hello! Welcome to Adobe Customer Service.
    Adobe support agent: Hi Me.
    Adobe support agent: May I please have your email address registered with Adobe while I review your request?
    Me: Hi
    Me: Why the price difference?
    Adobe support agent: As I understand that you want to know the reason for price difference, am I correct?
    Me: 30% more between the Adobe USA site and the AUD site
    Me: Sorry AUD site is higher
    Adobe support agent: I will be glad to help you with the information.
    Me: OK, tell me how I can upgrade my Elements by USD$80 versus AUD$122.+
    Adobe support agent: I would like to inform you that due to currency rate, the price is difference.
    Me: AUD is higher then USD - try again.
    Adobe support agent: I can understand your concern.
    Me: At present exchange 80.00 USD = 78.1861 AUD
    Adobe support agent: However due to the tax, the price is difference.
    Me: Same tax - buying online - download.
    Me: Tell me how can I buy the Adobe Elements upgrade for $80USD.
    Adobe support agent: Me, it is not possible.
    Adobe support agent: However if you want to purchase the upgrade I can transfer this chat to our Sales Team.
    Adobe support agent: Would you like me to transfer the chat?
    Me: Tell me how can I buy the Adobe Elements upgrade for $80USD. - I am happy to terminate my support of Adobe and use this conversation to add to evidence of pricing fixing by Adobe in Australia. Adobe's choice.
    Adobe support agent: I'll be right with you.
    Adobe support agent: I am sorry for this there is no option to buy the product with the US price in Australia.
    Me: OK, then sell it to me for 78.1861 AUD in Australia
    Adobe support agent: Me, you can purchase the product as per the price.
    Me: Never mind - I will report this conversation to the Consumer protection and the Senate enquiry task force.
    Adobe support agent: We are from customer service but we are not trained for any sales information.
    Adobe support agent: In this case you need to contact our Sales Team.
    Adobe support agent: Would you like me transfer this chat to our Sales Team?
    Me: You are a representative of Adobe and representing Adobe. Not my problem.
    Me: You can transfer me to anyone you want to; but I am only interested in a fair upgrade price.
    Adobe support agent: I will transfer this chat to purchase the upgrade version.
    Me: My final offer to Adobe is 78.18AUD for the upgrade
    Me: If they agree to this, then ok to chat with them; but otherwise - I end
    Adobe support agent: Before this, just to confirm, do you have US credit card with the US billing address?
    Me: No, I am in Australia - with an Australian credit card.
    Adobe support agent: I am really sorry for this.
    Adobe support agent: This is not possible.
    Adobe support agent: Is there anything else I can help you with?
    Me: As I said previously - Never mind - I will report this conversation to the Consumer protection and the Senate enquiry task force.
    Me: bye
    Adobe support agent: Thank you for contacting Adobe. We are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Goodbye!