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Aussie Parliamentary Inquiry Into Software Pricing Announced

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the but-it-takes-special-engineering-to-work-upside-down dept.

Australia 259

New submitter elphie007 writes "Australian consumers may finally see the end of being overcharged for software simply because they live outside the U.S. Minister for Communications Senator Stephen Conroy (champion of Australia's National Broadband Network) is reported to be finalizing the terms of reference for a parliamentary inquiry into software pricing in Australia. Last week, Adobe announced Australians would be charged up to $1,600 more for Adobe CS6. With the ongoing strength of the Aussie dollar against the U.S. dollar, Australians should really be paying less, not more for software & music purchased online."

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259 comments

To be fair (5, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#39835261)

Translating text and manuals to Australian isn't free.

Re:To be fair (1, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#39835405)

Translating text and manuals to Australian isn't free.

Neither is appearing in Australian Court when some customer decides to sue you, or the Australian government decides to pull you through some local knot hole of product liability that is over the top when compared to what is required in the US.

Because of different Taxing regulations, the software may have sold for that much higher if it was developed in Australia,

As for the strength of the Australian dollar, that is purely a rubbish argument, because US companies typically price their software in US dollars, and let the exchange rate take care of itself.

$1600 more sounds like over kill, (depending on what percentage of list price it was). However, because of different Taxing regulations, the software may have sold for that much higher if it was developed in Australia, and the software manufacturers may be responsible for such tax difference. Australia has a GST tax [wikipedia.org]. Just figuring out if you are liable for this will cost you a bundle. Collecting it and dealing with it from Chicago will cost you more in terms of staff time, and hiring work done in Australia.

It could easily be that the cost of doing business for high end software could amount to a pile of money.

Re:To be fair (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835495)

You're talking crap, dude.

Re:To be fair (4, Informative)

Zerth (26112) | about 2 years ago | (#39835507)

The US price is 1300. Even including GST, that is in nearly double the US price. Considering the Aus $ trade for $1.04 USD, that's outrageous even including currency exchange costs.

Re:To be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835557)

The US price is 1300. Even including GST, that is in nearly double the US price. Considering the Aus $ trade for $1.04 USD, that's outrageous even including currency exchange costs.

Yeah we have the same problem in Europe.
I can't shake the thought that somehow worldwide suckers ahem (consumers) are subsidizing american consumers when they buy Adobe products, Microsoft, Autodesk you name it.

Re:To be fair (1, Troll)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 years ago | (#39836087)

Don't worry. We're subsidizibf your lifestyle too. With our purely private healthcare (higher rates for drugs paying much of the research) and defense (all our soldiers everywhere).

Re:To be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835561)

how is that close to double?

Re:To be fair (2)

moss45 (2543890) | about 2 years ago | (#39835693)

US price= US$2599

Aus price= AUD$3949= US$4134

US/AUS= 2599/4134= 0.62

So not double but still a 60% increase (50% when you take into account GST)

Re:To be fair (3, Informative)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#39835623)

1300 is the price for the absolute cheapest version of Adobe CS6. The article says "UP TO" so we can assume that is for the most expensive version. The Adobe site says the Master Collection is $2600:
http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite.html?kw=p&sdid=JRSIM&skwcid=TC [adobe.com]|22178|adobe%20CS6||S|e|10550251960

Second, the article says it is "up to 1400 more", not 1600.

So 4000/2600 = 54% markup in Australia.

Re:To be fair (4, Insightful)

the_B0fh (208483) | about 2 years ago | (#39835569)

jesus. no matter how stupid the topic is, you can find an apologist for it. Here're the rebuttal points:

1) USA is the most lawsuit happy country in the world. If the company can do business in USA, and the price covers the cost of lawsuits, then the same price will cover the price of lawsuits in Australia.

2) WTF are you smoking on development taxes? *NOBODY* pays fucking taxes on writing software, only on selling it. If you are talking about salaries of developers and so on, then shouldn't there be a *DISCOUNT* since it's so much cheaper to develop it elsewhere?!

3) I guarantee you Adobe has already figured out the taxing regulations previously, and it's fucking sunk cost. The cost of figuring out the tax regulations (as a delta against US tax regulations) do not recur yearly. If there are changes, it's the same kind of changes that happen in USA, and obviously Adobe USA can handle it, so why can't Adobe Australia?

You're full of shit.

Re:To be fair (3, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#39835683)

Well I'll be honest. As a Canadian I know exactly what Aussies are going through, we've been dealing with it for decades and we're next to the US. It took a hell of a long time for it to change, the worst offenders were books. Seeing a list price on the back of $5.99USD and $11.99CDN with the dollar at parity broke the back of everyone on the issue. It was the same for software back about 15 years ago too. $49-59USD and $79-89CDN, until people said screw it and started ordering stuff from the US via backshop mailers who were willing to cut the price by $10.

Re:To be fair (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#39835803)

Don't get me started on books in Australia!

A novel here usually costs in the 20-25 AUD range. This is because there is a special book tax meant to protect Australian local publishers. It's ludicrous.

Everyone, and I do mean pretty much everyone, now orders books, electronics and computer games from overseas, usually the US or UK, because the likes of Amazon can sell you the item and ship it to you for half the price of buying local.

Re:To be fair (3, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#39835963)

I can't get Amazon US to send me anything. I get better results from Amazon UK, even though it travels farther to get to me (US is usually cheaper, but if they won't send it, I have to get it from the UK who will or send it to someone in the US who will then resend it to me)..

Re:To be fair (2, Informative)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 years ago | (#39835587)

At least australia wont send you to gitmo or send some fake FBI to arrest you with false warrants.

Dude, all adobe is selling is a serial # for activation, it doesnt matter where one lives. I know you americans are poor and cant afford 20 tacos for lunch daily with their 4 gallon coke drinks.

Stop asserting MAYBEs.

My AU$ converted to US$ electronically is done automatically via Visa or Paypal, and at only 1-2% rates. NOT your imaginary 10%, high street 711 stand.

Buying a serial # from USA is not the same as importing products into AU. From adobes point of view, I an AU customer should be identical to an American.

Stop lying, american corporates are charging Au, Eu, Asia, everyone higher prices to subsidise the dismal crap economy in mainland USA. If you had zero foreign sales, your local ones will send you bankcrupt, but thats no reason to RIPOFF the planet, or all AU customers should just use a friend or proxy contact in usa to buy from usa.

Re:To be fair (3, Interesting)

sg_oneill (159032) | about 2 years ago | (#39835971)

At least australia wont send you to gitmo or send some fake FBI to arrest you with false warrants.

You really haven't been following the anti-association law stuff recently havent you?

In numerous states now, if you so much as talk to an outlaw biker you can get done for serious time, and in most the cases what designates an outlaw organization is not decided by judicial review but the whims of the police minister. Theres nothing in the language of the laws that says they cant declare an unpoular political group, like socialists, or activist group, like the sea shephards (Ok granted sea shephard is very popular in australia, just not with the government) to be an illegal organization and thus imprison people simply because they want to organize around their beliefs.

Our political masters have been taking notes from abroad, and its not looking good.

Re:To be fair (3, Insightful)

moss45 (2543890) | about 2 years ago | (#39835665)

Australia has a GST tax [wikipedia.org]. Just figuring out if you are liable for this will cost you a bundle.

Figuring out whether you are liable for GST takes about 5 minutes. Registering for GST would take a few hours. Nearly every company in Australia registers for GST, so the government made it extremely simple. These things are such a marginal cost that it is ridiculous to use them as a reason for significant price differences.

Re:To be fair (5, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#39835675)

As for the strength of the Australian dollar, that is purely a rubbish argument, because US companies typically price their software in US dollars, and let the exchange rate take care of itself.

They clearly don't. 10 years ago the AUD was worth US$0.50, now it's worth US$1. Software prices in Australia are not 50% less than they were (relative to US prices).

For example Office Professional Edition 2003 was announced at US$499 [pcworld.com] in 2003 in the US, but at AUD$899 [microsoft.com] in Australia. The AUD was worth USD$0.65 at the time. So the Australian version was USD$584 and USD$53 of that is GST giving a $32 or 6% premium over the US price which no one complained about since that's reasonable.

Now Microsoft Office Professional 2010 (2 PC/1 user version) is AUD$849 [microsoft.com] in Australia. It is USD$499.95 [microsoft.com] in the US. The AUD is currently worth USD$1.05. So the Australian version is USD$891 of which USD$81 is GST giving a USD$310 or 62% premium.

Notice even though the AUD has increased in value by about 60% in that time frame the relative USD/AUD prices have essentially remained unchanged (wooho a $50 reduction in Oz).

Australians wish they priced in USD, since then prices would have fallen by almost half over that time frame.

So how do you explain a 6% premium turning into a 60% premium? What massive changes product liability and taxation systems do you think happen in Australia?

Australia has a GST tax. Just figuring out if you are liable for this will cost you a bundle. Collecting it and dealing with it from Chicago will cost you more in terms of staff time, and hiring work done in Australia.

Oh sure. It's real hard. If you are you selling it in Australia then you add 10% to the price and send that in to the government. If you are selling it outside of Australia then you do nothing. Wow, that's so complicated! All software qualifies for the GST making it even simpler to work out.

Re:To be fair (0)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#39835829)

Didn't you just explain the entire markup?

adobe cs6 is $2600 usd + 1400 markup = 4000.. or 54% more - 10% GST = 44%

Coincidentally, that nearly matches the change in the exchange rates (according to you).

If I buy a microwave for $100 USD that was made in Mexico.. and the USD becomes worth more... They don't adjust their US price.. the manufacturer pockets the difference.

If Adobe software was priced at $4000 AUD, and the exchange rate changes, and they still priced it at 4000 AUD.. how is that any different. It's just keeping the local prices intact.

Re:To be fair (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#39835849)

And if you think Adobe should adjust their prices according to the exchange rate... I'm sure you won't protest when cs6 is 2600 AUD, and the next day you wake up and it's 2800 AUD... and within 3 months, it's 4000 AUD..

By your numbers, when the exchange rate recovers, Adobe CS6 should go from 2600 AUD today to 5200 AUD.

Australians will appreciate the inflation.. yes?

Re:To be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835999)

well on that front, if the exchange rate changes to make it more expensive all of these people are to ready to INCREASE their price,but when the exchange rate alters in Australias favour it is very rare to see a decrease in retail price

just saying

Re:To be fair (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#39836029)

The exchange rate won't recover. The USD is worth about 10% of the OZ dollar, and will hit that soon enough, whenever China decides to pull the plug on the US dollar.

Re:To be fair (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 years ago | (#39836119)

Because china (as a huge exporter) can afford to pull the plug on the largest importer. That'd work really well for them:-)

Re:To be fair (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#39835943)

except all of the point of sale costs are paid in Australian dollars, to Australians. The fact that the Australian dollar has doubled in nominal value compared to the USD is mostly irrelevant.

As was said, the legal arrangements are made by hiring Australians, the distributors are paid in Australian dollars. Even if you're talking minimum wage employees the minimum wage in Australia is 15.51 an hour, it's 7.25 in the US. That's your phone support, delivery, even local web hosting type stuff.

Need local phone support? Local servers? Local.. well, anything? You're starting from a different footing than in the US.

Have a look at http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=as&v=67 and http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?v=67&c=us&l=en. That's the per capita PPP for Australia and the US. In 2003: 30k to 37k. In 2011 41k to 47k. Notice the problem with the currency argument yet? It means nothing. Just because the Australian dollar has relatively doubled in 8 years doesn't mean it has doubled its relative buying power. With nominal GDP on a per capita exchange rate basis for both 2003 and 2011, but I can't find that data very well. The same articles I linked give australia a 2003 nominal GDP of 542 billion, 2011 1.24 trillion, and the US 10.x to 14.x, but without population numbers and it's too late for me to hunt for more data. So yes, while australias currency converted GDP has almost tripled compare to the us 40% increase), their per capita buying power hasn't done that. The price of any given item is both a symptom of that, and of the cause of it, at the same time. Software development isn't worth dramatically more in 2011 than it was in 2003 the way say.. mining has been.

When you talk about microsoft products specifically, they audit your compliance with their licences. If you're using a home and student product on a business machine that doesn't tend to go over well. Who do you think does the auditing? They're paying Australians. In fact, if you look at the microsoft australia jobs page (https://careers.microsoft.com/search.aspx#&&page=1) most of the positions are services of various sorts and sales, including a licencing executive position. I somehow doubt the average microsoft Australia employee has seen his (in aud) pay increase by a factor of 2.5 since 2003. Possible. But I doubt it.

In europe everything 'costs more' because taxation is loaded into purchases, and because local point of sale cost employees are paid a lot more than they are in the US. And on some things the tax rates are just different. With Australia you do have compliance costs for a small market, which have to be done locally. It sounds stupid, but I doubt microsoft can add in support for 'english, australian' for nothing, they probably have to have specialists who determine what goes in that version, and, again, small market. They have sales costs (because the box copy in store is the same price as the one you order online basically), if you want to download it they need to have the network infrastructure to support that. If you need support (i.e. phone support) they need someone working your timezone, which is either pay someone night shift in the US and hook up the call centre, or pay locals (and given how big australia is you may need two call centres for each time zone and so they can be connected reasonably well).

When it comes to paying corporate executives Australia, Canada and the EU are a bargain compared to the US. When it comes to paying everyone else the US is dirt cheap and only out competed by china and poorer economies.

lets put this another way. Since the AUD has doubled since 2003 has your pay been halved to compensate? Right.

Now adobe CS6 is a whole other problem. Since well, you're buying a lot more than a box of software usually. It's the same basic problem as office, support etc. but at a whole other level, since it's a much smaller market and much more specialized knowledge to provide support and licencing.

Re:To be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836013)

Except, None of them has local phone support, Its all passed on to their "international" call centres in India or the Philippines,
and GST ?
GST on products Australians buy from overseas sites is 0%, unless the item is over $1,000 in which case it is 10%
so apple and others could save themselves a lot of GST headaches by allowing Australians to buy their software from an overseas site.

Re:To be fair (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836083)

What is this 'Support' you speak of? In my experience, most users of serious software in AU have resigned themselves to the fact that support is either not available/not worth the trouble/ or offshore in Currystan where english is optional...

Re:To be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835811)

When this kind of thing happens, it's usually down to the same problem - they're applying pricing that may have been appropriate ten or twenty years ago. Back then, Adobe would realistically have required an Australian presence, and the price they sell the software for would have to take that into account.

So, you'd have to manufacture the media and packaging somewhere (likely the same place as the US version, although they frequently have different boxes or documentation to go with them), ship that to Australia (which still costs more than shipping to the US, but not nearly as much as it used to), possibly pay import taxes, get (or become) an Australian distributor, pay local workers (who earn more than their US counterparts), local taxes (which are comparable, as far as I know), and then ship the software to retail locations (which costs more than it does in the US), who then sell it (paying local taxes, and local workers again).

Fine. That might account for some of the price difference. Not nearly all of it, though - doing business in Australia might be more expensive than the US, but it's not that much more expensive. So either Adobe, or their Australian distributor (which might actually be Adobe themselves, for all I know) are taking a huge chunk of extra profit from selling to Australian customers.

Doesn't explain online sales, though.

Adobe are, obviously, already taking a much larger slice of the pie from online sales, compared to physical sales. Delivering software, even something as large as Adobe's suite, doesn't cost nearly as much over the Internet. You don't have importing, you don't need anybody at all in the country you're selling to (in fact, it takes extra effort to even work out what country your customer is in), you likely don't have to pay any local taxes or import taxes (because you're not importing anything), and there's no production and shipping of physical media, and absolutely no middle-men (distributors, retailers, and so on) to deal with.

There are two reasons Adobe don't sell the online version for a significantly lower price than a boxed retail copy.

First, customers are obviously willing to pay the retail price. If those same customers then buy an upgrade from you (which is much more convenient than having to track down and buy a boxed copy), you get to keep all the money you'd have spent on production and shipping, plus you get to keep the cut that your distributors and retailers would have taken.

Second, they don't want to antagonize the distributors and retailers. They haven't moved to 100% digital distribution yet, so they still rely on distributors and retailers. If you undercut them by, say, 50%, nobody is going to buy retail copies. This is made worse in countries like Australia, where we have limited download quotas on virtually all ISPs, and until very recently, those quotas were extremely low. You could have easily burned through an entire month's allowance, just by buying one piece of software.

For example, I rarely bought games off Steam until a couple of years ago, precisely because downloading one game could easily burn through a month's quota. When I bought the Orange Box, it took me about four months to download all of it. Now, since the ISP I used allowed free access to Steam (doesn't count towards usage quota, as long as it comes off the Steam server co-located on their network), and our quotas increased significantly (something like 10x in the past five years), it's not a problem.

In related news: On Steam, Valve sell their games to Australian customers for exactly the same price as they sell to US customers. Billed in US dollars, since Valve has no Australian presence whatsoever. Smaller indie studios tend to do the same. So, I could have bought Portal 2 for something like AU$100, or I could have got it off Steam for US$40 (something like AU$38 at today's exchange rate, more like AU$42 back then).

Games published by larger companies, who DO have an Australian presence (and / or do business with Australian distributors) charge full Australian retail prices. So, a game that might be US$40 to a US customer is sold to an Australian customer for something like US$90. This is precisely because they don't want to antagonize their distributors and retailers. I'm sure they also don't mind being able to sell a game for a 100% markup, and not having to give their distributors and retailers a cut. It's not like you have much of an alternative, after all - if you want that game, you're going to have to pay around AU$100 no matter how you get it.

If you're selling something purely digitally, none of these excuses make the slightest bit of sense. None. Even the price difference for retail copies doesn't make much sense anymore. The exchange rate is close to 1:1, has been for a few years, and doesn't seem likely to go back anytime soon. The costs involved in selling and distributing retail software in Australia are nowhere near as high as they once were. I could potentially understand 10%-20% (which is roughly the price premium we pay on consumer electronics, for example), but 50%-100% just makes no sense.

Re:To be fair (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#39836081)

lol you're comparing litigation in australia with the us, and trying to convince us that it costs more in australia... bahahaha... what a moron

Re:To be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835639)

Why would it be expensive to translate the American texts to Australian English? I would presume that once they were translated from American to any dialect of English the cost of translating to regional English dialects would be quite low.

Re:To be fair (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#39835685)

Why would it be expensive to translate the American texts to Australian English? I would presume that once they were translated from American to any dialect of English the cost of translating to regional English dialects would be quite low.

Because you have to carefully read through all of the documentation and make sure that when someone talks about driving on the right side of the road, you change it to the left. Then you have to deal with bathtub whirlpools spinning in the opposite direction.

And don't get me started on the metric system.

All of that crap is time consuming and expensive. Somebody has to do it....

Re:To be fair (2)

commlinx (1068272) | about 2 years ago | (#39835885)

Why would it be expensive to translate the American texts to Australian English?

Well I'm pretty sure the OP intended it as a joke, but on a serious note most software sold in the Australian market isn't localised anyway. For example in Windows 7 installed with Australia as the locale I have "color management" not "colour management". Microsoft Word comes with an Australian spell-check dictionary but otherwise all menus and documentation are American English. Not that I think many locals would really give a shit either way, especially if it meant paying more.

I can't think of any software off-hand where selecting the locale makes much of a meaningful difference other than timezones and metric units / paper sizes. But considering pretty much all the rest of the world uses metric you need that to export pretty much anywhere.

Re:To be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835735)

Not to mention that you have to translate it from American.

Better beaches (3, Interesting)

rjames13 (1178191) | about 2 years ago | (#39835267)

If we lose the better beaches tax does that mean that New Zealand has better beaches than us?

Devils Advocate (4, Informative)

Kawahee (901497) | about 2 years ago | (#39835329)

I went to purchase Diablo III from Blizzard's online store, and after signing in to my Australian (or SEA or whatever region) battle.net account the price went from US$Price to AU$(Price+20).

I tried to play devils advocate on this one, and what I came up with is that bandwidth and rackspace in Australia are much more expensive than other parts of the world.

But I get the feeling Blizzard don't have battle.net servers in Australia, and since most of their content delivery comes through Bittorrent (and who cares if they "seed" it themselves from the US with cheap bandwidth or AU), so I don't know why it costs so much more.

Re:Devils Advocate (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835371)

I know why they don't. You can blame Telstra, who tried to F them in the A over space and bandwidth.

They found it was cheaper to keep the servers in the US

latency is high, why not sinapore (2)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 years ago | (#39835601)

Singapore has Amazon EC2 servers, is closer to AU for low latency, so why cant they have servers there?

Yeah telstra run by idiots who couldnt figure out how to reduce costs if they were even told how to. Outdated, and over paid managers.

Re:latency is high, why not sinapore (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#39835789)

Outdated, and over paid managers.

It's a worldwide phenomenon. No need to blame any Australians on that account.

Re:Devils Advocate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835653)

There's more than one hosting, and network provider in Australia, than Telstra, they could of sought as an alternative.

Re:Devils Advocate (0)

fostware (551290) | about 2 years ago | (#39835571)

Local Distributors have the final say.
The local software box movers / local arms of the game publishers have higher overheads, sure but not that much that affects digital distribution.

Classic example is CoD:MW2 is $89.99AUD or $19.99USD in their respective zones.
SteamPrices for CoDMW2 [steamprices.com]

There's also no chance of settings up an office in another state to get around taxes, like some other country we all know ;)

And while there are $/GB charges, as an example Steam has at least 5 CDNs in Australia with four of them on Non-Telstra peering exchanges.
Not to mention the Akamai CDNs in every state, CacheFly, LLNW, and EdgeCast.
Although according to this [whrl.pl] (WhingeWhirlpool - July, 2010), maybe the disties aren't the only ones rorting the system:-
"With Akamai via vps.net its now 15c/GB, for Australian customers its 20c/GB (in USD). Signup with Akamai Australia direct and its around $1.80/GB."

Re:Devils Advocate (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835655)

Not quite right.

You never play on US servers when in Australia, no matter what the game is unless the local SEA(South-East-Asia) division doesn't have English (usually HK and Singapore have English, and Philippines, Japan, and Korea may also support English.) This is more about latency than anything else, as playing from AU to the US results in more than 200ms of latency, which makes realtime combat with US people impossible.

Likewise playing on EU servers from the US.

Basically the case in the world where the price differential makes no sense at all is in the US versus Canada. Canadians can very well cross-border shop, Aussies can not. So you see this price differential in everything, with the closer you get to the US border, the cheaper the prices become. When you order online, you get fleeced however, so you're better off digital-downloading everything when possible, as the US and CAD price for digital is almost always identical.

In Australia however, this is nonsense, why is the download version any more in Australia than it is in Canada or the US?

Adobe is just one example of an absurd price differential, but it's not limited to just Australia. You need a US address to use the US iTunes store which has more content than the Canadian and Australian stores. And indeedly this is a problem because taxes are applied based on the type of account.

Ideally, purchasing online would not incur any kind of price differential, and paying with US cards (or US denominated cards) would avoid the entire exchange bruhaha anyway. Australia is required to have taxes included in the price, where as in the US and Canada it's not. If the US and Canada had the same kind of sales tax laws, you'd instead see different prices for every state and province.

The ideal solution is to show US prices always, and then subtitle with the local cost including taxes if known. If the taxes are not known, then leave it in USD. But the regional restrictions are still extremely annoying, with some content not being available to Canada or Australia until years later or even never. In these situations you're basically telling foreign customers to pirate it, because the region restriction prevents you from buying it. If something is potentially illegal or "unrated" then simply put a warning that the content is intended for US customers and foreigners can buy it at their own risk.

Re:Devils Advocate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835715)

You never play on US servers when in Australia, no matter what the game is unless the local SEA(South-East-Asia) division doesn't have English (usually HK and Singapore have English, and Philippines, Japan, and Korea may also support English.)

dumb and wrong.

Likewise playing on EU servers from the US.

also dumb and wrong.

Re:Devils Advocate (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#39835825)

You're quibbling with details, nothing more:

This is more about latency than anything else.

Damned straight. I'm not even a gamer, and I get this. Some manager decided latency from AU to $wherever wouldn't work, the dork.

Re:Devils Advocate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835991)

It is because they (publishers) sign non-compete clauses with Australian retailers saying they will not undercut their recommended retail prices. The retailers will not stock their games if they do not sign these agreements.

Why Australian retailers find it necessary to charge $20 extra for games is something worth questioning, but it sucks that publishers give in to them. If all the publishers decided that they wouldn't put up with their crap, it would leave the retailers with no choice but to comply (they have to stock some games).

Re:Devils Advocate (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | about 2 years ago | (#39836043)

Rackspace is more expensive, for sure. But We're talking a few extra cents, not $20 , for a game.

Largely the costs in hosting in australia are not bandwidth related (although some colos do charge stupidly for that) but power related. Because of the ridiculous price in power lately due to all the grid updates (no its not carbon price, that hasnt been introduced yet!) power is just stupidly expensive and that translates to expensiveness in rack hosting since a 1U rack can chew up quite a good few amperes of power and then some more for air conditioning (which is a huge part of rack hosting costs).

So generally when your getting your stuff priced in rack hosting , at least in supply-your-own-box stuff the biggest component of the billing has a tendency to be power related.

I cant wait for the NBN to be fully cranking so I can just host my box at home on my own 100m/b fibre with some grey-box diy server.

Either way though, I dont think that really is what the costs are. CDs + DVDs are also ridiculously priced despite usually being manufactured overseas in cheap asian pressing plants, and bandwidth/hosting has nothing to contribute to THAT cost.

Champion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835331)

Also champion of the internet filter that was being pushed on Australians.

YOU FAIL iT?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835337)

Memb3rs are needs OS. Now BSDI fear the reaper on an endeavour MAKES ME SICK JUST shit-filled, off the play area Whether you corpor8ate To the politically

The Farscape rule? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835341)

Since Australia has continually kicked the US in nuts regarding high quality, low cost science fiction shows, this is Adobe's way to ensure that some of the t.v. money makes it back to the USA where they can squander it on Kardashian franchises and reality singing shows.

I think Australia should make a Lucy Lawless clone army and attack us. Really, please!

It's not as simple as you think (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 2 years ago | (#39835349)

I can accept the argument that it costs more to deliver a digital-download to "the rest of the internet" vs The US of A (due to many and various special deals cut by content providers) but not that much more. Especially for something like a song/album/movie or whatever where there is literally zero customisation for the geography or nationality of the end-consumer.

The worst part is that this pricing disparity is heaping insult upon injury.

Not only do we pay more than US based customers, but our downloads are often objectionably slow due to the inherent lesser throughput as a result of US based content hosting.

Seriously folks, when are you going to MAN UP and host some servers in Down Under Land? The NBN is coming, end-customers will have 100Mbps links, and you will NOT BE ABLE TO PROPERLY SERVE THEM.

Re:It's not as simple as you think (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835403)

Especially for something like a song/album/movie or whatever where there is literally zero customisation for the geography or nationality of the end-consumer.

Hey, it takes a lot of money to translate into Australian. G'day, mate, sheila, sunnies, rellies, that sort of thing. It costs millions.

Re:It's not as simple as you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835787)

Most of the time we settle for an en_GB translation. For a 50% reduction in price I'm sure people could deal with such atrocities as centering or colorizing.

aussies can do it (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 years ago | (#39835611)

Us aussies can sell software to usa cheaper, and bandwidth is not an issue, we find ways to do it fast, get closer proxies etc...

Prices are what the market will bear (4, Insightful)

23940823908235908 (940365) | about 2 years ago | (#39835355)

We Australians pay high prices for a simple reason - our market can bear the prices. The strong Australian dollar coincides with higher wages and costs of living, and any professional who needs photoshop will buy it, albeit begrudgingly. Adobe provides discounts for students and other groups, but the prices are still quite high.

This is basic economics: charge as much as possible to each customer, also known as price discrimination [wikipedia.org].

The same goes for "luxury" cars. Let me give an example. Here in Australia a new BMW M3's recommended retail price is $154,000 AUD. In the US, it is around $60,000 USD. Government taxes, extras, shipping costs, etc only account for a very small percentage of this difference. How does BMW sell any cars in Australia? Enough people are willing and able to pay the price.

Re:Prices are what the market will bear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835379)

Difference is, digital providers are playing with fire seeing as their products scarcity is artificial. Consumers don't look too kindly on being ripped off.

Re:Prices are what the market will bear (1)

pfarber (1123907) | about 2 years ago | (#39835395)

Your economics are 180 out. The strong AU dollar should buy you MORE American product, not less.

Unless (like Zimbabwe) there is a $1 Trillion dollar note that's good for a loaf of bread?

Setting an artificially high (or simply made up) value on a product is not what 'what the market can bear' but more like a monopoly abusing its power.

Re:Prices are what the market will bear (2)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#39835417)

How does BMW sell any cars in Australia?

Because importing a BMW from the US is a pain in the butt; not to mention, the car would then have left-hand drive, which Australian customers are unsued to. On the other hand, routing a download from the US, or spoofing an online service into thinking you're buying from the US is trivial.

Also, you can't torrent a BMW.

Re:Prices are what the market will bear (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 2 years ago | (#39835649)

Most [wikipedia.org] BMWs are made in Germany (hint: Bayerische Motoren Werke = Bavarian Motor Works = BMW). Only the X3, X5, and X6 are manufactured in the US, but they're also manufactured in Austria, Mexico, and Russia.

Re:Prices are what the market will bear (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#39835953)

Ok, I mean importing for a private individual. Companies have economies of scale, trade agreements, offshore assembly, etc etc to reduce the actual cost of importation.

Re:Prices are what the market will bear (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#39836027)

AFAIK all lefthand drive BM Wobbleyous are made in South Africa. So the Auz Beamers are actually imported from SA.

Re:Prices are what the market will bear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836113)

And then flipped upside down to be right hand drive cars?

Re:Prices are what the market will bear (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 2 years ago | (#39835553)

Your BMW example isn't the best example as that BMW M3 will have both import tariffs and fees (designed to protect what is left of the local car manufacturing industry) and luxury car tax (introduced by the Howard government in order to ensure the difference in the tax rate between luxury cars and normal cars remained the same under the GST as it did under the old wholesale sales tax system)

Lets look at a better example:
Take the LEGO Star Wars Super Star Destroyer. In the US you can buy one for US$399.99. To buy one in Australia you would need to pay AU$699.99.
Thats $300 more here in Australia than it is in the US. Is it any wonder more Aussies are importing everything from toys to books to car tires from overseas?

Re:Prices are what the market will bear (5, Insightful)

bertok (226922) | about 2 years ago | (#39835865)

It's not just the tariffs or the taxes. How do you explain that even cars made locally in Australia cost more than the same model in New Zealand? They have shipping costs, taxes, and tariffs too, yet a locally made car somehow costs more here!

I just found an informative page [customs.gov.au] for importing a car into Australia. It has a worked example for importing a car worth $56K into Australia. The total payable tax plus tariffs is $11.5K. Doesn't exactly account for a BMW going from $60K to over $130K, does it? Where the hell did the other $60K increase in the price come from?

I once worked as an IT contractor for a car importer that had an exclusive deal with a manufacturer to import cars into Australia. I asked one of their senior staffers why cars were more expensive in Australia. He basically admitted that all of the importers jack up the price because they have an effective monopoly position (for their brands), and can get away with it. There's a sort of gentleman's agreement between them to maintain this status quo and not compete on price. This works because importers often import several brands, so there's only a few of them catering for the entire market. It's not the taxes, the shipping, the retailers, or the manufacturer. Nameless middle-men obtain exclusive rights to import, and then milk the market for everything that they can.

It's blatantly obvious if you know what to look for. For example, I wanted to get a nice sporty car, like the Nissan GT-R. Here in Australia, it's over double the cost of what it is in Japan or in the US. I worked out all the taxes, and it still didn't explain most of the difference. I looked into importing one direct from Japan -- I'd still have to pay all of the Australian taxes and tariffs and pay an additinal overhead for organising the whole thing, but the end result would still about 30-40% cheaper. However, it turns out that I wouldn't be be able to get my imported car serviced! The "official" importer also controls all of the parts and servicing, and they'll refuse to do business with you if you own a "grey" import. You can have it serviced elsewhere, but with a small-volume model like the GT-R, it's a risk. Compare that to, say, buying an iPad in America. Apple will repair it for you in Australia happily.

There's no way to do the equivalent in America because the market is too big, there's too many importers, and hence there's enough competition to prevent a successful collusion from forming.

This is why I don't buy anything except food and clothes from local retailers any more. I get all my gadgets and software online. Lots of other Australians shop online from overseas too. It's probably harming our local businesses, but fuck them and their greedy price gouging.

It's about time the ACCC started investigating this. First software, then I hope they look into cars next...

Re:Prices are what the market will bear (2)

outsider007 (115534) | about 2 years ago | (#39835599)

According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] US per capita income is well above AU, being topped only by Norway and a few city states.

Re:Prices are what the market will bear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835941)

Per capita income is prone to gross distortion by outliers.

Look at median.

Good (3, Insightful)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | about 2 years ago | (#39835367)

Excellent. I'm sick of the exploitation of software pricing in Australia. Price ratios haven't shifted at all since the 90s when the AUD was worth 0.6 USD. Now 1 AUD > 1 USD.

Just more BS (1)

registrations_suck (1075251) | about 2 years ago | (#39835399)

Oh come on. By what magic force should a company charge the same for a product (accounting for PPP) throughout the world? Maybe companies charge more in certain parts of the world simply because the people living there WILL PAY MORE! I'm going to go out on a limb and take a guess that medicines cost less throughout the world than they do in the U.S. (for various reasons - none of which are important). I'm sure that no one in places such Australia would offer to pony up more money if they learned their (fill in drug name of choice here) costs a lot less than it does in the U.S. If you're willing to buy (whatever) for twice the price of your neighbor, you can't really blame me for selling it to you at that price.

It's called Capitalism! Get over it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835413)

It's called capitalism! Get over it! Use GIMP, Paint Shop Pro, or something else. If you don't like GIMP, pay someone to write something better.

Re:It's called Capitalism! Get over it! (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#39836115)

only reason why someone would think any adobe graphics product is better than gimp and other foss projects is that they don't know any better. if you get fed your info from noobtards on slashdot, what do you expect. gimp is better

Prices are already insane there (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | about 2 years ago | (#39835419)

There seems to be a duty on "luxury" items or something. An inflatable camping mattress that would have been less than USD$30 was AUD$130, and other prices in the camping store were similarly crazy. If you're outfitting as a camper there, you can probably save by flying to the U.S. to buy your stuff.

Re:Prices are already insane there (2)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 years ago | (#39835629)

There seems to be a duty on "luxury" items or something. An inflatable camping mattress that would have been less than USD$30 was AUD$130, and other prices in the camping store were similarly crazy. If you're outfitting as a camper there, you can probably save by flying to the U.S. to buy your stuff.

No duties on most items, Almost everything that is not alcohol, tobacco or has a motor has GST only (Goods and Services Tax, a flat 10%). Camping gear is no exception, no special duties on it what so ever.

It's distributors profiteering. With tax, a $30 item in the US should cost $33, maybe you could stretch that to $40 with shipping. Yet Distributors price it at a 100% or greater mark up compared to the US prices.

BTW, smart Australians are already buying from overseas. Shoes, clothing, computers, electronics games and movies are cheaper to buy overseas (via the internet) and import. Items under A$1000 can be imported GST free. This is something the retail dinosaurs in Australia hate as it means people aren't paying 3-5x for the same products as much in their stores, they've gone as far as suggesting a special Internet tax to try to drive up prices online.

About bloody time! (1)

old_kennyp (949607) | about 2 years ago | (#39835427)

This sort of Sh*%t has been going on far too long and is not only limited to software! Music, Video, Ipads and even to clothes and Shoes. Motorcycle parts anyone? How come I can buy a pair of Nike runners online in the US, and have them shipped here for 1/2 the price I can buy in the store here? they are made in Asia anyway, shipping costs should be the same Same applies to just about everything imported, Can buy online in the US cheaper than here.

Re:About bloody time! (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 2 years ago | (#39835517)

I know of people who have been able to get a set of 4 car tires bought from online stores in the USA, shipped to Australia AND fully fitted at a tire shop for LESS than it would have cost to buy those same tires in Australia. (and remember the shipping on car tires is expensive because they are heavy and bulky)

Here's to hoping - Europe as well? (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 2 years ago | (#39835483)

There used to be a great document at http://www.amanwithapencil.com/adobe.html [amanwithapencil.com] that detailed the situation in 2007 for the UK. Thankfully, there's archive.org

http://web.archive.org/web/20100702205054/http://www.amanwithapencil.com/adobe.html [archive.org]

Adobe even replied to some inquiries, and you can see some of their excuses in:
http://web.archive.org/web/20100526120202/http://www.amanwithapencil.com/adobe_spin.html [archive.org]

The UK, just as Australia and Europe, were - and still are (at one point it was even cheaper to get the boxed version than to get the download version) - basically being screwed over (and good luck checking that - their various international websites make it a pain in the ass to compare pricing) and the only reason for this is that the market will pay anyway.
Why? Because 1. It's Adobe's products. If you have an interest in them, you're probably in an industry where you have little choice, so you'd probably pay twice the price and limit yourself to some grumbling on twitter, and 2. you probably earn the price of these products back on just a handful of jobs, after which you'd only have to worry about the upgrade pricing.

It's one market I wouldn't mind Apple upsetting, not one bit.

Re:Here's to hoping - Europe as well? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836005)

It's one market I wouldn't mind Apple upsetting, not one bit.

Except Apple are MORE guilty in this than most companies, since they have deliberately structured iTunes, the App Store, etc. to entrench and exploit these regional price differences.

Expecting Apple to fix this is like expecting Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to speak out in support of Israeli settlements.

Before tax & after tax makes up price differen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835523)

People don't seem to understand that in the US taxes aren't included in the advertised price. Also the US sales tax which is added on is lower than in Europe and much of the world. When you add 20% to a $50 USD item that adds another $10 USD to the purchase price. As a result the Australian price is now the equivalent of $60 USD. Now compare this to the after tax price of a $50 USD item in the US state of NJ. It's only 7%. So that US $50 price is actually going to cost the customer another $3.50 USD. If there is some one to blame it is probably the Australian tax structure which taxes purchases more than in the US. The US doesn't have a nationalised health care. Citizens need that lower price to pay for health insurance or they need the company they work for to sell more product in order to pay for the employees health insurance.

My company actually takes a loss when we ship to the EU from the UK because we don't tack on VAT and charge the same as if we shipped from the US. So while it costs us less to ship from the UK to the EU it actually eats into our profits. In reality it actually costs us even more because we need to pay someone in the UK as well. Ultimately we make significantly less and have customers accuse us of overcharging on shipping. Humorously.

Re:Before tax & after tax makes up price diffe (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 years ago | (#39835697)

A USA $50 retail item did not cost the NJ store $50, they bought it for probably $30 WHOLESALE.

So what I am saying, is why cant the Australian retail shop, buy USA products wholesale at the same wholesale price as the little tiny shop in the small town in NJ.

This is where we aussies are pissed off, retailers/shops dont buy things RETAIL, but WHOLESALE. And their wholesale prices from usa are either too high, or there is only ONE single importer that they must buy from at 2x wholesale price.

Look today, the PS3 in AU is close enough to USA price, but 2 years ago it was like 2x difference before sony got a clue. http://www.shopbot.com.au/m/?m=ps3 [shopbot.com.au]

But software, that takes zero space to transfer, should cost the same, always by law or call the WTO.

Re:Before tax & after tax makes up price diffe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39836051)

I have been told by some friends in a music shop, that certain things like some guitars and amplifiers are being sold Retail in the US cheaper than the Australian Distributors can buy them from the Manufacturer

Some shops are now finding it cheaper to fly to the US, buy guitars Retail and bring them back and sell them as unplayed secondhand.

Precisely one reason for higher prices .... (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 2 years ago | (#39835525)

... is that the market will bear it. All the claims about increased cost are bogus: the non-US sales are delta sales of software.

Software has a fixed developement cost (plus the localization), so if cost were the issue, customers in non-US locations should ONLY pay for the delta cost to develop the local version.

You americans are THEIVES!!! (2, Funny)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 years ago | (#39835543)

Comon now, you can sell stuff cheap in singapore, or to mexico, or to canada, but let it pass through one middle mad on its way to australia and that FAT asshole prick will bump up the prices 30%. Its like USA is so advanced , but asking it to ship products outside USA zones is like asking them to ship to mars or something. Yet UK/europe/asia, they can ship anywhere TWICE as quick. Why is it stuff from UK arrives in 1/3rd the time than USA stuff? Is it the DHS scanning 50 planes/hr ?

And adobe, screw your resellers, just sell your shit 100% online.

Resellers OFFER NOTHING in the internet world, sure in 1990 they did advertise and offer support, today none.

Re:You americans are THEIVES!!! (0)

Tjp($)pjT (266360) | about 2 years ago | (#39835637)

Lower your import duties and maybe the price will be closer to a real parity. And wait for the middle of the night to call all the support calls in. Stuff a hundred million more users into Oz then get back to me about the strength of the Aussie dollar being something important in Adobe's pricing model. Alternately we subsidize worse economies than ours, so while yours is going stronger you can subsidize ours ...

Regards shipping products, I can't get half the eBay Aussies to ship to the US at all, and when they do it takes 3-4 weeks ... So that shipping thing goes both ways. I got a package from Kazakhstan faster than any from Australia. So ... Buy from Amazon us. Get yourself a US credit card and buy it with that. Send it as a gift to yourself. Use the bank as the US remitter address. It will cost you a little bit each month for the account and a bit each time you fund it but _might_ work out to be a bargain in some cases.

Just make sure inland revenue or whatever the Oz tax agents are, get their due, that way you get to pay the import taxes directly! I wonder which Adobe CS6 package he was talking about ... You might also download the demo versions, then pay by US credit card (above) to get the registration code ... No shipping involved.

Re:You americans are THEIVES!!! (3, Interesting)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#39835753)

Wrong train of thought. Australian import duties are quite low for most goods (alcohol and tobacco are exceptions). For the most part all you really need to do is pay 10% tax on a container load of goods.

But the problem goes way beyond. I ordered a camera lens from B&H in the USA. I paid $70 shipping. It was over $1000 so I paid 10% tax ($180), it arrived on the weekend so I got a double whamy of a customs good holding fee $50, and for some reason UPS charged me again for the privilege of customs delays $30. I paid a total of $300 to get this over the listed USA price and the end result was it was still $250 cheaper than the cheapest price I could find anywhere in Australia.

ebay thing? For that the problem is Australia Post. I received a faulty product from America. USPS shipping was $7 to get this thing slightly larger then a letter over here. The company asked to ship it back and I went to the local post office. Our post office said it was slightly too thick to be a letter, no matter we'll send it to the USA for $55. !!!!!!! My father is CEO of a direct marketing company here. They have some 10000 subscribers in the USA and they have worked out it is cheaper to get the letters printed in Germany and bulk shipped to Hungary where they get inserted into envelopes and sent via Hungarian Post to the USA than it is to print them themselves and ship them direct to the USA. Can't do it internal to the USA unfortunately due to some rules about the contents of the mailings.

This is Australia. Everything is upside down here remember? We enjoy getting raped in the wallet here mate.

Re:You americans are THEIVES!!! (2)

deniable (76198) | about 2 years ago | (#39835977)

Middle of the night? That's the USA, not Australia. The Indian call center is only a few hours behind our west coast. While we're at it, what import duties?

Re:You americans are THEIVES!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835699)

If you don't want our stuff don't buy it. Use some crappy AU software some dingos made

I have a better idea... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#39835559)

Instead of this ad-hoc 'inquiry' nonsense, which is necessarily reactive and highly liable to regulatory capture, why don't we just adopt some of that 'free trade' stuff that assorted Respectable People tell us is so salubrious when the chaps who produce the products in question are shopping around for the cheapest inputs?

Absent legal barriers, arbitrage in software should cost next to nothing, especially now that much of it doesn't even come on shiny disks anymore. See to it that Australian customers can legally import goods from the location of their choice, and that middlemen can import goods from the location of their choice for domestic sale, and the price difference should collapse in a loud puff of nebulous whining about 'intellectual property'...

The whole notion behind the term 'grey market' is pernicious. It Should Not Matter whether the manufacturer/seller of a good is pleased by the ultimate destination of the goods they are selling. Yes, we would all like to enjoy perfect price discrimination. No, that isn't a good argument for letting us do so. In the absence of absurd restrictions on arbitrage, various pricing shenanigans, release-date bullshit, and other nonsense simply collapse.

Such restrictions would be one thing if they were applied evenhandedly, if the producers weren't already shopping all over the world for the lowest prices, laxest laws, and sweetest tax breaks; but they are not. You want cozy protectionism for your retail prices? Well, perhaps you shouldn't expect to enjoy worldwide free trade on your input prices... You want worldwide free trade for the things you buy? Well, that's nice, you deserve no less than worldwide free trade in the things you sell.

Should we start naming companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835621)

The number of companies doing this is probably greater than people think. Form personal experience:

Apple

Microsoft (check the price on Technet for US vs AUS customers)

VMware (check the price of Workstation, Fusion, etc. on their web site)

Various goods purchase via Digital River

The number of companies doing this, and the extremely lame excuses the put up (only Microsoft will discount if you point the issue out and ask nicely for a better price).

Re:Should we start naming companies? (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#39835817)

Apple?

I don't own any apple stuff, but whenever I've done price conversions between the US and Australian prices on the Apple website, they've been pretty close. I don't think you can point to apple on this one. Maybe third party resellers of Apple stuff?

"Should" is not "must" (1)

Pecisk (688001) | about 2 years ago | (#39835633)

I wonder how do you push vendors and resellers to set price government and voting nation would like in capitalism. Because, it's like, unless it's monopoly (and CS can be replaced with other software for some cases), they can do whatever they want and *you* have rights to ignore them, too. Come on, where's the problem?

Or current regime is not capitalism, but some kind of twisted "we all do right thing unless we doesn't like the outcome" in all cases (there are valid reasons when gov. have rights to say "stop", but this is not one of them).

Check yourself before you wreck yourself (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | about 2 years ago | (#39835729)

Already I can see a few uninformed individuals making giant assumptions or just outright "ooh crybabies!" posts. This issue is just one an aspect of the maelstrom of distributors vs retailers vs customers in Australia.

If you don't live here (in Australia) and think Australians should be charged (quite often) upwards of twice the price for things.. Fuck off and die in a house fire. You're a bad person. Well, no, that's not exactly true, what you are is a dick with an opinion (that is wrong). Please educate yourself or die in a house fire - your choice. Should I work twice as long so I can experience the same product as you? Obviously not. Prices should most definitely be sold with "economies of scale" in mind, yes. Do you have $90 US games? We do. Skyrim, for instance - and that's through digital distribution!

The ultimate question is always this. Why can I have "some guy" on ebay in the UK ship me 1 single copy of a game through snail mail (expensive) to Australia and still end up paying 60% of the price of the game, locally. Why? how is that possible? It can only be possible because somewhere in the market we are getting fucked over. There is no other reason. If I can buy 1000 copies of a game, I can get a better price. SomeGuyInABedroomOnEbay98 can trump the entire Australian retail sector walking into a shop in the UK (and just so you know, the UK are also victims of this gauging) and paying for a SINGLE UNIT to be shipped to Australia.

But, we're evolving. Even the previously unsavvy commoner is going online to get a better price - We're just buying stuff from people around the world, that realise they can exploit this gauging themselves. And thank (whoever) for them ! Thank you! Please, feel free to get on board. Ship the products bought locally to us! Meanwhile, the retailers are seeing diminishing sales, crying foul and attempting to have us taxed, so they can continue to exist without evolving.

The key point in here is that there is always someone either gauging or offsetting their shitty distribution chain management onto the customer. A guy on ebay can beat them. Distributors and retailers will have to evolve. One of the mechanisms that will facilitate this is by mandating that prices in this country MUST be justifiably so.

Re:Check yourself before you wreck yourself (1)

ausrob (864993) | about 2 years ago | (#39835895)

Quite right, it doesn't add up. We used to be the last "1st world" marketplace for goods (typically, US/Europe/Asia then us), and we'd cop the original RRP (or new release price) for it to boot. Some things never even made it to Australia (sold out in other regions). So yeah, unless you actually live or have lived in Australia (or another place which has had the same experience) you don't know what you're talking about.

It used to be that we, as consumers, could short cut the price gouging by buying direct (from Amazon.com, etc) and having to cover the international postage (which was still WAY cheaper), despite things like DVD regions (don't get me started on that bullsh*t). Sometimes this was the only option when said thing/movie/TV show wasn't made available for sale locally.

Manufacturers have wisened up since those days and now impose export restrictions on sites like Amazon e.g. can't buy a DLP Projector on Amazon and have it shipped to a non-US address, or can;'t use an Australian-issued Credit Card as payment. Those manufacturers want you to pay the local price from *their* distributors (often double overseas prices). This also goes for services - e.g. I couldn't book train tickets in Europe online with an Aussie-issued credit card, had to book locally at twice the price.

It gets more hypocritical when we start to discuss digital sales when many of the aspects of handling physical products no longer apply. I'm glad this is finally coming to light, most Australians I know are fed up with the constant price gouging which has been going on for decades.

Charge them more! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39835765)

That'll teach them for living in Ausfailia.

All thank the grey market arbitrage! (1)

sugar and acid (88555) | about 2 years ago | (#39835853)

In the end the only way to not get gouge in australia is to buy on the grey market from another country. Here instead of plowing through copyright laws by absolutely flouting them, you can bypass the arbitrary high price by going into the grey zone and buying from overseas resellers engage in arbitrage.

These companies have to get realistic, the government is already taking a dim view on this so it is unlikely, and the fact you have to go grey market often means it might be easier just to pirate the whole damn thing.

This is a massive competitiveness issue. Especially if it cost 2 times a seat to employ in world terms somebody in Australia than it does in the US just on software.

Governments don't like arbitrary things like that, especially if they can outlaw them....

Why buy Adobe products anyway? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#39836039)

The Free software products are generally better and the price is right, so if Ausies pay more for Adobe products, then they have only themselves to blame.

Protect small buyers at Apple's iTunes store, too! (1)

ivi (126837) | about 2 years ago | (#39836055)

I found a list of songs priced (presumably for the buyer in USA) at $0.99 each

When an Aussie went to buy some from within AU, prices jumped to $1.69 ea.

Calculus taught me that lots of DeltaPennies add up to BigBigs, eg, for Apple,
and I don't think it's fair to pay more outside USA than within, even for low-
priced items, such as songs.

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