Talk about ants in their pants. After giving regulators the runaround and repeatedly dodging the question of why they charge Australians so much more than Americans for the same products, senior executives from Apple, Microsoft and Adobe have finally been forced to sit down in front from a parliamentary committee. They weren't always especially helpful, mind you, but they did at least offer some justification as to why, on average, their products cost 50 percent more in that country. Read on for a quick rundown of who said what.
[Image credit: Delimiter]
Microsoft's Pip Marlow:
- Refused to comment on a particular instance of Australians being charged $4136 for a software package in Australia but only $2324 in the US
- Implied, according to The Australian, that prices are set according to local competition.
- Said, "Our customers will vote with their wallets"
Adobe's Paul Robson:
- Explained that Australians were forced to buy from Adobe's local website, which charges up to 167 percent more, so that they could get a "personalized" service
- Highlighted higher running costs, salaries and the need for investment in Australian sales channels as some of the reasons for higher prices
Apple's Tony King:
- Argued that some Apple products were similarly priced in the US and Australia
- Admitted that there were serious price disparities on iTunes, but blamed them on copyright holders who still operate according to "old-fashioned notions of country borders or territories or markets"
The Australian press isn't overwhelmed by any of the responses, and it's certainly true that all three corporate execs put on a steely front, offering no hope of price reductions. As we've already seen though, pressure applied in the right places can produce all sorts of sudden cracks.