In late July last year a national IT pricing inquiry was begun to examine what the consumer advocate Choice has called ‘international price discrimination’; when international businesses such as Apple, Microsoft and Adobe charge more in an Australian market for their goods and services.
The inquiry was began after extensive campaigning by federal MP Ed Husic, who accused international companies of ‘ripping off’ Australian consumers. There are fears that the high costs of these products on the Australian market are detrimentally affecting university students, and placing them at a disadvantage on the global stage.
Currently Adobe products are retailing for at least 50 per cent more in the Australian market than in the United States. Doctor Sean Rintel, a lecturer at the University of Queensland with a focus on new communication technologies, has labelled this state of affairs as completely unreasonable. He argues that in the highly globalised society we live in, especially one which utilises an internet distribution system, it is imperative that everyone receives the same content, and pays the same price for it. “I don’t see why we can’t at least push for accountability in that realm… To me it’s not really particularly valid that they can say ‘well, we need to internationalise and set up all these ecosystems and resellers, and if we don’t do that then we couldn’t sell our products’. I just think that’s unreasonable.”