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Australian Govt Forces Apple, Adobe, Microsoft To Explain Price Hikes

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the what-the-market-will-bear dept.

Australia 371

An anonymous reader writes "Live outside the U.S.? Tired of paying huge local price markups on technology products from vendors such as Apple, Microsoft and Adobe? Well, rest easy, the Australian Government is on the case. After months of stonewalling from the vendors, today the Australian Parliament issued subpoenas compelling the three vendors to appear in public and take questions regarding their price hikes on technology products sold in Australia. Finally, we may have some answers for why Adobe, for example, charges up to $1,400 more for the full version of Creative Suite 6 when sold outside the U.S."

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371 comments

Valve / Steam... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42855837)

should bloody well be on that list as well.

Re:Valve / Steam... (3, Informative)

Shikaku (1129753) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855855)

No they shouldn't. The producers determine the price for Austrailia if they sell there at all.

Re:Valve / Steam... (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856053)

[Steam] producers determine the price for Austrailia if they sell there at all.

Then these producers should "appear in public and take questions regarding their price hikes".

Re:Valve / Steam... (4, Interesting)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856093)

No they shouldn't. The producers determine the price for Austrailia if they sell there at all.

This is similar to the philosophy in China. Everyone watches the latest Hollywood movies and uses the latest software. If the price is low enough they may decide to actually buy the legitimate copy instead of the bootleg. It sure is great when the government doesn't get involved... gotta love the free market system :).

Re:Valve / Steam... (5, Interesting)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856263)

While I have no love for those companies, I wonder if the answer to your questions isn't going to be obvious (and annoying). It's "known" here in the US, that Europeans are willing to pay more for the same goods, and thus we charge them more for the same goods. Americans are known for choosing to buy cheap crap that will break in a week because it's cheaper, therefore more reliable vendors have to go lower to make the sale. Going to the farthest extreme, the Chinese are known for stealing software, movies, etc. and thus to make a sale there the price has to be very low.

They call this "market based pricing", and I agree that it is actually quite a destructive practice, but I don't think it's illegal.

Re:Valve / Steam... (5, Insightful)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855857)

I already know the answer. It's the same reason Canadians pay far more for the same items in the US even though our dollar has been at parity for years now.

There was one scandal where Bombardier, a Canadian company receiving government money, was charging Canadians more for ATVs made in Canada than they charged in the US. So effectively the Canadian government was subsidizing a company to rip-off it's own citizens.

Re:Valve / Steam... (4, Informative)

green1 (322787) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855905)

You talk about that one scandal as if it's unique, there are MANY examples of us paying more for Canadian made products than the Americans do. There was a news article a year or two ago about a specific model of car that was priced more than $10,000 higher at the Canadian dealership across the street from the factory than it was in Hawaii, and best of all, the excuse given was that the transportation costs in Canada were higher!
Thing is, the Canadian government has "investigated" this sort of thing many times, including yet another report that came out just last week. Do you think anything will ever change?
Canadians pay more because... well, because we pay more, that's why!

On some things we can buy online and get the same price as the rest of the world, but if you just can't do that (some products don't work well that way, and the government makes it illegal to do so with other ones, not to mention the companies that flat out refuse to sell to customers outside the US) then you're just screwed.

Re:Valve / Steam... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42855927)

Perhaps for different reasons but it's not a one way street. Rx anyone?

Re:Valve / Steam... (2)

green1 (322787) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855937)

slightly different in that due to our public health care system the governments actually legislate the prices for certain drugs.

Re:Valve / Steam... (4, Interesting)

definate (876684) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856185)

Canada and the US share a boarder, so it is somewhat ridiculous for them to charge more in Canada than in Hawaii, that's a fair complaint. However, what I think is even more ridiculous is a car that's made in South Australia, the Pontiac G8 [wikipedia.org] is cheaper to buy in the US than in South Australia. The average price in South Australia is around $50,000 the average price in the US is around $30,000. Remembering that the dollar was at parity or close to parity. This means it was $20,000 cheaper to purchase a car that had been shipped to the US. GM has consistently done this to us, and just about every large company does this to us.

Valve actually doesn't do it that much, though some game producers that use Steam do.

Re:Valve / Steam... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856219)

Canada and the US share a boarder...

Hmmm... boarders can be real trouble. I had one that I just couldn't get rid of...

Can I suggest you wait till the "boarder" leaves to get food, then burn all his or hers possessions. It worked for me and I'm confident it will work for Canada AND the US!

Re:Valve / Steam... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42855863)

Yeah but Gabe can just swish his hand through the air like Obi Wan and blame EA etc

Re:Valve / Steam... (5, Informative)

Wizarth (785742) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855931)

Actually, Valve is mentioned in the article as one that people wanted investigated - but not as one that required a subpoena to provide information. This suggests that Valve voluntarily told them how their pricing works.

Which, as far as I know, is "We set what price the producer wants us to, or they refuse to sell on Steam at all."

Re:Valve / Steam... (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856173)

I tend to think they're fairly honest. I pay about what (when the US dollar currency takes a dive I smile... :) Cheap games! )Americans pay for their games, here in SA. They could really rip us off here (it is south africa they can charge pretty much what they like), but they don't. Add to that the endless specials and I have very little issue with them. Australia seems very different though for all things. People who go over from here are always complaining about the high cost of everything, expecially data/software, which is weird, because it isn't like shipping is a major cost for that sort of stuff...

So obvious.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42855843)

Printing the instructions upside down costs money silly.

Re:So obvious.. (4, Funny)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856049)

Got to localize the instructions. Rooting your computer means something entirely different. Electrocution hazard if the instructions got into the hands of a drunk bloke. What am I saying, they don't read instructions.

Translate this to legalese: (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42855867)

"Why? Because fuck you. That's why."

Re:Translate this to legalese: (5, Funny)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855879)

Please mod +5 informative. This is the actual answer.

Re:Translate this to legalese: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42855975)

If by "fuck you" you mean "supply and demand", yes. But I do admit "fuck you" is more appropriate.

Re:Translate this to legalese: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856017)

I believe that's "fuck you mate"

Re:Translate this to legalese: (5, Funny)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856027)

This is the actual answer.

No it isn't. The real reason is that Australia has a relatively small population, so the cost of translating all the documentation into Australian is spread across fewer customers.

Re:Translate this to legalese: (5, Insightful)

Tacticus.v1 (1102137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856105)

I'll take that into account the first time i see 'colour' in a manual.

Re:Translate this to legalese: (4, Funny)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856261)

I'll take that into account the first time i see 'colour' in a manual.

I wonder how you spell "whoosh" in Australian.

Ratings cost money (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856131)

It's not just translating documentation. Video games also have to be rated in each country where they're sold, and ratings boards don't tend to give discounts just because their countries are smaller markets.

The above is an obvious joke (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856265)

I don't think there has ever been a single bit of software documentation ever produced that has been translated into "Australian".
Also ratings boards don't charge.

Re:Translate this to legalese: (2)

Chrisbie77 (664669) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856195)

Seriously? Surely you jest... It can't be that hard to translate from "American" into written English, since most Australians can read that just fine. Many like myself are bilingual, and can understand "cookies" and "asshole" without confusion.

Re:Translate this to legalese: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42855967)

"Why? Because fuck you. That's why."

And I suppose that's the same reason they get their meds for about 10% of what we pay here in the U.S.

Re:Translate this to legalese: (5, Informative)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856145)

That'd be because the majority of pharmaceuticals are covered under the Pharmaceutical Benefit System, ie, subsidised by the government as part of free and universal health care. I'm sure that if the Australian government didn't do that, we'd get an especially large "fuck you" from the pharma companies as well.

As far as media goes, I'm hopeful that something might come of this, it's one thing on physical products (where at least you can put it down to "shipping"), but when buying the exact same software, (or even the same song), costs at least 100% more, then there is no other explanation than price gouging. Particularly galling when most of these countries don't pay much Australian tax on their Australian profits either.

Re:Translate this to legalese: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856129)

Maybe it's because half the folks outside the U.S. are ganking this shit via demonoid.com

Re:Translate this to legalese: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856255)

Did you just say "ganking"?

What are you, like twelve years old?

bad idea ? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42855887)

difference in pricing models like this encourages piracy.

Re:bad idea ? (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855973)

uh. replying to undo mistaken negative comment

Re:bad idea ? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855997)

Piracy?

Continued watering down of words. Grey markets perhaps. Not piracy.

A real pirate would climb up an anchor rope and silently kill every person on the ship. Not unlike a ninja.

Bunch of pansies living in their parents basement running torrent software. Pirates?

Re:bad idea ? (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856097)

How do you know that's what he meant? I, for one, fully intend to join a ship's crew as soon as possible. Nothing gets results like holding yachters hostage.

Re:bad idea ? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856109)

Whoops; forgot the happy emoticon indicating insincerity.

Re:bad idea ? (1)

Lotana (842533) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856223)

Why are you being such an underachiever?

With your knowledge of virology, biology and access to equipment/facilities you should be able to hold an entire COUNTRY hostage.

Always aim high. There is nothing motivation, drive and access to biological/chemical resources can't achieve!

Re:bad idea ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856167)

A real pirate would climb up an anchor rope and silently kill every person on the ship. Not unlike a ninja.

So... pirate == ninja. Please finish the rest of the equation!

Monkey == ?
Robot == ?
Zombie == ?

Re:bad idea ? (5, Funny)

Lotana (842533) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856233)

Let me have a go:

Monkey == Human
Robot == Overlord
Zombie == Politician

What do I win?

Re:bad idea ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856277)

Thank you for once again wasting precious time arguing petty semantics when the rest of the real world decided on the use of the term without you! It's arrogant, self-centered thinking like that which will all but guarantee nerd culture remains a marginalized, ignored-at-best subculture thought of only with disdain and theme park-quality stereotypes! Keep up the hard work, and once Son Of SOPA or DMCA 2 come around, the most concern the real world will be able to muster over us is a thorough eye-rolling!

Re:bad idea ? (5, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856023)

difference in pricing models like this encourages piracy.

True, and then companies will hike the prices up in the regions with high piracy rates to "compensate", which makes the piracy problem even worse, and you have an ever-escalating cycle.

But the problem here is price fixing, using protectionist legislation as the method of artificially controlling the prices of products that have a near-monopoly in the market.
The only real solution to this is to disallow region based controls, and turn the laws around so that it becomes illegal to restrict users based on geography.
A free market is anti-competitive unless it's free for the buyer as well as the seller.

Its because we are an easy mark. (1)

barv (1382797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855889)

With the Oz dollar so high, everything looks ridiculously cheap.

The FED (-1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855893)

When you print money to pay off debts the currency devalues and it is a no brainer. THe exchange rates are going downhill as the house wants to debate whether to default or not eveyr 3 months.

Therefore, the Bank of Australia wants a higher percentage to avoid the risk as the dollar is the worlds worst currency right now with the highest risk. ... Well Japan might be tieing the US in this area if the government improves more printing of money.

So MS responds with the 30% premium to convert dollars to Australias currency by passing it on to the consumer.

IT also explains why healthcare costs are skyrocketing up with insurnace, food, housing and student loans while incomes decline. All this free money given to rich by low interest rates inflates the money supply.

Re:The FED (5, Funny)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855907)

When you print money to pay off debts the currency devalues and it is a no brainer. THe exchange rates are going downhill as the house wants to debate whether to default or not eveyr 3 months.

Therefore, the Bank of Australia wants a higher percentage to avoid the risk as the dollar is the worlds worst currency right now with the highest risk. ... Well Japan might be tieing the US in this area if the government improves more printing of money.

So MS responds with the 30% premium to convert dollars to Australias currency by passing it on to the consumer.

IT also explains why healthcare costs are skyrocketing up with insurnace, food, housing and student loans while incomes decline. All this free money given to rich by low interest rates inflates the money supply.

Holy shit. It's a real life application of the Chewbacca Defense. This is amazing... :)

Re:The FED (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42855935)

Its a real life case of idiot-with-a-microphone.

Chances are he is in fact a billion dollar a day trader though - he clearly shows that level of understanding.

Re:The FED (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856039)

It's not really that complicated, as long as you don't have a PhD in economics it's pretty clear. The fact that it's not more commonly known is purely because people are incredibly lazy when it comes to intellectual matters.

Re:The FED (2)

definate (876684) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856197)

Hi there, I've got a degree in economics, you're wrong. That shit's retarded.

Re:The FED (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856095)

someone who trades a billion dollars is not an idiot, he is smart enough to have a billion dollars to toy with at his whim, what do you have?

Re:The FED (1)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856179)

Aww how cute, you think rich people are rich because they're smarter than everyone else. How's 6th grade these days?

Re:The FED (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856193)

A lower UID, but only new money log in.

Seriously retards have billions, it doesn't take brains to inherit.

Re:The FED (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42855923)

Stop pretending you have a clue about economincs - AUD is TOO strong for our other economic indicators and not directly tied to this issues.

You are a rambling mad man (1)

definate (876684) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856015)

Sometimes I need to pretend I am a rambling mad man as a joke amongst friends. The problem is I can never quite pull of something which is coherent enough to actually be said by someone, yet insane enough to actually stand out as this guy is obviously a rambling mad man.

My go to response used to be some mish-mash of an Allen Ginsberg poem, something like...
"I passed through universities with radiant eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war, if I was expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull..."

It's good, but it's hard to memorise. Like myself, most of my friends have at least some university level economics/finance education, so from now on, I'm just going to memorise your comment, as my go to rambling mad man impersonation.

In other words, thanks!

Guitars, TVs, all Consumer Goods (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42855901)

This is almost across the board for imported goods sold under regional licenses, look to Fender (banning US/Mexican resellers from shipping to AUS), the costs of TV/Stereo gear etc.

Some vendor gouging occurs like when we were meant to get cheaper goods due to a 25% import tax being replaced by a 10% sales tax... and prices were stable, but until Aussie consumers stop paying for racism vendors will keep charging for it.

No, we're not price gouging (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42855915)

Interestingly, one Australian company made the submission that it was cheaper to send an employee business class from Australia to the US to buy a certain piece of software there, stay for a night or two in a hotel, fly back, and pay import and/or GST at customs than it was to get the software locally.

Re:No, we're not price gouging (2)

green1 (322787) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855957)

Don't worry, that won't be the case for long, (and not in a good way) companies would love to make buying something outside your local authorized dealer illegal.

Re:No, we're not price gouging (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856225)

Don't worry, that won't be the case for long, (and not in a good way) companies would love to make buying something outside your local authorized dealer illegal.

It may not be illegal yet, but Adobe has already moved in that direction.

Adobe closed off their international sales for several weeks while they reviewed their international pricing, right as we needed to bring on more people for a new project. After a few weeks of being told we'd be able to buy more licenses any day now, we sent someone to the US to buy a couple of retail copies so we could at least have new people doing more than just surfing the net. Within 24 hours of installing the US boxed copies we had Adobe on the phone demanding to know why our company was running pirated copies of their software, and threatening to revoke *all* of our licenses if we didn't remove them immediately. Turns out they consider running a US boxed copy in a foreign country as a breach of contract and will cut you off. Eventually they had to admit that we had been trying, continuously, to buy a copy from them, and agreed to let us continue until their online store reopened so we could replace the copies we were running.

Price gouging invites you to see the world. (2)

Ando031 (2750997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856169)

It is cheaper to fly to the US for some IT week-long training courses, stay the week plus weekend than a similar course attended locally. Cheaper including accomadation, food and flights as my colleague at work has experienced. Maybe we are meant to see the price gouging as opportunities to see the world.

seriosly (-1, Flamebait)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855921)

Why does Australia actually get totally screwed on price all the time on everything? I mean, I hate those drunk alcoholic loud-mouthed mental patients but that usually doesn't translate into business price points.

Re:seriosly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42855943)

They're talking about Australia...not the US....although you did miss out the "stupid", "fat" and "poor" bits..apart from that your description of Americans was spot on! Well done.

Re:seriosly (0)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855993)

I mean, I hate those drunk alcoholic loud-mouthed mental patients but that usually doesn't translate into business price points.

I hate MS, Apple and Adobe too. Unfortunately, I'm not related to them to the degree that would allow me to sign their papers for a forced admission in a mental hospital or rehabilitation clinic.

We all know why ... (1)

mister2au (1707664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855947)

Smaller market = higher overheads

There are still support, distribution costs and compliance costs associated with having a local operation - only a fully online model alleviates that and even then time zone issues imply potential for increased costs

To some extent, digital distribution and limited local support brings these costs down - the perfect example is Apple whose products are now more or lineball with US markets thanks to digital distribution of software, useless tech support and enough volume to compare to US stores for sales and basic support overheads.

High cost, low volume products will always have a premium (or at least an argument to made that this is the case with enough spin even it's not the case in reality) ...

There is NOTHING this committee can do to prove otherwise !!!

Re:We all know why ... (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855985)

What extra support costs? It's not like they are going to have a local call center... All the calls/emails go to India anyways.

Re:We all know why ... (1)

mister2au (1707664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856213)

Depends which "they" you are referring to ???

Apple and Microsoft certainly have large operations in Australia but would still wouldn't push through many copies of niche products.

I don't know about Adobe however - they certainly have corporate offices here.

Re:We all know why ... (2)

balsy2001 (941953) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856059)

I think you are right. I would also mention a couple of other reasons: 1) the difference could stem from the need to have extra personnel that work just on regulatory compliance for that country (depending on the business, there may even be ITAR export compliance issues). 2) There is also the currency conversion RISK. You have to price your product high enough above the normal fluctuations to ensure that you don't lose out on currency conversion (this is more than on a daily basis, think like quarterly or yearly). Setting the price sufficiently high prevents having staff to continually evaluate and re-price all your products. This idea affects the United States Mint selling bullion coins directly to the public. They set their prices much higher than the premium on spot gold/silver for bullion to ensure that they don't have to continually re-price and to ensure that they don't get burned.

Because they can (4, Informative)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855953)

That is the only honest answer that there is. As long as artificial monopolies like 'regions' are tolerated it will only continue. There is no valid reason why software or other companies should be able to use globalism for cheaper labor whilst denying consumers globalism for cheaper products. I don't see how things are going to change until world governments start demanding better treatment though.

Why are textbooks 1/10th the cost in Indonesia? Why couldn't I buy Top Gear in the US for years when it was available for cheap overseas in the discount bin? Why are Corvette's twice the price in Europe? The list goes on and the answer come back to artificial monopolies charging more because they can. Introduce competition, make grey market imports legal, demand manufacturers honor warranties regardless of the country of origin, allow people to buy software in any country regardless of where they live etc......

Re:Because they can (4, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856079)

"That is the only honest answer that there is. As long as artificial monopolies like 'regions' are tolerated it will only continue. There is no valid reason why software or other companies should be able to use globalism for cheaper labor whilst denying consumers globalism for cheaper products."

You might find this story interesting.

I think it was 1992, Texas decided to build another prison, located in New Boston, Tx. A Pennsylvania company won the contract, and part of the contract covered employment of local workers. A journeyman carpenter was supposed to get $13.00 or $13.50/hr.

When the company started hiring, they were paying $11.00/hr for journeymen craftsmen.

This obviously violated the contract - but the Pennsylvania company went to court, and successfully argued that because they were working in an "economically depressed" area, that $11.00 was equivalent to the wages stated in the contract. That is, $11.00 in the Texarkana area was equal to the $13.00 or $13.50 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

There is always some imaginary bullshit excuse for ripping off the locals.

Re:Because they can (1)

balsy2001 (941953) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856081)

One reason why some things cost more in different countries has nothing to do with monopolies. TAXES levied by the country where the foreign product is sold. This is especially common for cars. In China, for example, there are serious taxes on any car imported into the county.

Re:Because they can (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856279)

In this case taxes were reduced by 15% but prices continued to increase, so the tax angle is very misleading to the point of outright dishonesty in this case.

When we move to all digital, we're screwed (4, Insightful)

AbRASiON (589899) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855955)

The next gen of consoles are going to screw us on digital sales, infact anyone selling movies / games / music digitally in general, I hate to go all tinfoil on you guys but they've proven time and time again, they simply do not care about foreigners.

If you can charge bob 3$ for the icecream and mary 8$, then do it â" especially if you're the only place selling icecream now. Only bob is America and we're mary.

To take it to 11 on the tinfoil mode, when things become all digital "they" will have control, full control. EA have already proven just how evil digital control is, go find a GOTY edition of Mass Effect 1 2 or 3. They don't exist. You think you're getting a bargain when you buy Mass Effect 2, a 50$ US PC game for 5$ on a Steam sale? Awesome! (Well you are, it's still good) but the DLC is on THEIR controlled internal store and it's ONLY on their store and do you think the DLC is marked down to 10 or 15% of the original cost like the full game? Ok what about 20%? or 30%? No. Not only is it extremely rarely marked down, when it is, it's a small amount (I think it's been on sale twice, in nearly 3 years)

The console manufacturers are sadly GOING to region lock us when it's all digital and they WILL charge us more than Americans. Interestingly we probably wouldn't even notice or care if it was 20 years ago and we didn't have American buddies posting on the same forums or links to deals or reddit threads or whatever saying "holy crap, I just got a sweet God of War 4 deal on the PSN store for only 9.99" â" except we'll click the link "not available in your region" or "on special, this week only, 49$ AUD"

Australians need to be prepared that this whole digital thing IS going to shoot us square in the wallet, then the face. I'd wager good money on this.
Long story short, region free PS3 took me from being a dodgy pirate to someone really happy to purchase games, I'm happy to pay 20 to 50$ US a game, no qualms - hell the Americans do it, don't you? Except they frequently try to stiff us from 95 to 120$ US a shot,....... it's unreasonable, it's bullshit and unacceptable.

Even worse is on digital stores online, they detect my IP and the price for a digital product of 1's and 0's is 30 to 100% more. It's _incredibly_ frustrating as almost any foreigner could tell you.
Long story short? You think this is bad now? Just wait, soon there won't BE steam "gifting" from your American pals, there won't be a US PSN store to log in to with PSN credits you purchased on Amazon, there won't be stores which will ship you foreign region free games. There won't be a G2play where I can buy a cheap key of Diablo or Starcraft cheaper than the Blizzard online store or retail. Why would Blizzard, EA, Ubisoft provide these 3'rd party 'stores' keys to sell?

Australians, in my opinion we're actually in the peak part of bargains right here, in 2011/2012/2013 and maybe 2014 - we've got fairly cheap international shipping, we're in the mid retail -> digital conversion so everyone is clamouring for our buck. Soon the loopholes will be closed, the infrastructure, policies, design all in place for a single store for companies and bam. Kiss the awesome times we've had goodbye.
Finally, most stores won't do deals like Valve, they seem to be one of the few with respect for the customer, we're in for a bad time :/

Re:When we move to all digital, we're screwed (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856029)

Go to the store over Tor. Call it Tor roulette. You'll never know what price they are going to charge or where they will be willing to ship.

Re:When we move to all digital, we're screwed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856199)

Go to the store over Tor. Call it Tor roulette. You'll never know what price they are going to charge or where they will be willing to ship.

Yeah, nice theory. Works great until you enter your credit card number and they notice its an Australian card. Then Amazon goes the big "Fuck you! Because... fuck you!" and either charges you boatloads more or refuses to sell you Plants Vs Zombies because it's not for sale outside the US market.

You do have an option (3, Informative)

balsy2001 (941953) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856113)

You could stop buying the products. If enough people find the offenses of these companies egregious enough and stop purchasing the products they will change their behavior. You have to be willing to do without it though, not just pirate it, or they will blame the piracy as the reason they are losing business instead of their crappy model.

Build Your own software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42855959)

It's called capitalism. Just what does it take to get it through your thick un-American socialist sculls? These companies are merely trying to maximise their profits and are pricing their products in such a way as to accommodate the local markets. Where is the problem in that? If you don't like how Ameicans do things then build your own damn software. Let's just see how that works out for you. You should be lucky that we even bother "selling" it to you anyway for all the good plastic Monopoly money is worth.

Re:Build Your own software (4, Insightful)

green1 (322787) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856031)

I think the problem is that the manufacturer's use globalization to pick and choose the cheapest components, and the cheapest labour form anywhere they can, and then turn around and deny their customer's the same thing by region locking things, writing contracts prohibiting their dealers from selling to people out of country, and all sorts of other BS that they themselves don't have to deal with.

If "Free Trade" applied to customers as equally as corporations I don't think anyone would have an issue with a company pricing things however they wanted, wherever they wanted. It's the fact that I often am not allowed to pick the cheapest location that bothers me.

Re:Build Your own software (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856047)

get it through your thick un-American socialist sculls?

A winning team [wikipedia.org]

Re:Build Your own software (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856111)

Sounds cool.

Except, our government is actively engaged in writing treaties to prevent anyone outside the United States having the freedom to do anything other than pay us.

In short, you're an ethnocentric nationalist who easily justifies anything that screws the outsiders.

And, you make a nationalist like myself look bad, just by breathing.

Re:Build Your own software (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856117)

You should be lucky that we even bother "selling" it to you anyway for all the good plastic Monopoly money is worth.

...which was the more than the US' paper money was worth, last time I checked.

Scandalous! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42855961)

I think these companies should be forced to not sell their products in Australia. That will teach them.

Australian citizens should not be forced to pay for products that they don't want or need.

Re:Scandalous! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856043)

Australian citizens should not be forced to pirate products that they don't want or need to pay for.

fify

Re:Scandalous! (1)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856065)

Agreed. Australia and its citizens should switch to GNU/Linux and OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice or KOffice or Google Drive or ... for their laptops, desktops and servers and Android, Blackberry or anything else that isn't a Windows Phone or iPhone for their mobile device needs. As for Adobe products, they'll just have to get used to alternative software like KompoZer for Web pages, GIMP for images, etc. (PDF viewers are common enough nowadays; even Google Chrome has one built into it.)

Oh, and if their printers, fax machines, etc. don't have instructions for Linux and they can't get them to work any other way, they'll need to buy new accessories like that. You know. Because Australia is an extremely wealthy dictatorship that can ban all of that stuff from Microsoft, Apple and Adobe overnight and reimburse all of its citizens for such a drastic change.

On second thought, let's see what the corporations say before such measures are initiated.

Price Fixing? (1, Insightful)

7-Vodka (195504) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855991)

Yes, because you can ask the soviet union (USSR) how well price fixing works and how it doesn't ever lead to shortages and black markets.

Come to think of it, you can ask the USA right now how well their price fixing of money is working. Yes let's print $90,000,000,000.00 per month to loan money to ourselves because nobody else in the world thinks we're a responsible borrower who will pay back our debt.

And honestly it's like Obama says: "Raise the debt ceiling because we have to let the world know that we can definitely pay our debt, if they lend us the money to do it"

Re:Price Fixing? (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856121)

Shortages? May want to leave that part out. Just focus on the black markets. And the pirates. Lots and lots of scurvy-ridden, peg-legged pirates.

Re:Price Fixing? (3, Informative)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856139)

You might want to research your info a bit before you start spewing Fox talking points.

If you'd bothered to check when a Republican last balanced a budget, you would find that it was in 1957 under Eisenhower. Obama, in his last term, increased the debt/GDP by ~10%. If you look at Reagan and Bush Jr, both of them had terms that increased the debt/GDP by over 25%.

Don't believe me? Google "which republican president balanced a budget?". You might learn something.

Here is just one example, check this out... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856001)

Re:Here is just one example, check this out... (1)

WWJohnBrowningDo (2792397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856163)

8GB for FREE?!? I'll take it!

What is that anyways?

Nevermind, even if it's an 8GB anal vibrator I'll still take it.

Re:Here is just one example, check this out... (1)

kizza42 (978129) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856251)

In this case, You're comparing outright prices of a product to those locked into a contract.

Struth (1, Interesting)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856025)

The government isn't popular enough, so Gillard ordered a market research report into technology. When she got the results, she picked up an iPad and strolled around the parliament with it for a fortnight. Now she turned to page 2 of the report and launched a very obvious but practically useless 'public questioning'.

Adobe is going to hear more bitching from their paying customers .. and will probably release the 'Australian Edition' of the software with a free clip-on fuzzy Koala, Apple is going to justify itself with shipping costs and Microsoft is going to re-design it's software pricing for Australian businessees to make it appear cheaper but actually be even more outrageously expensive

Julia Gillard is going to win the next election because Joe Hockey will take over leadership from Tony Abbott and G comes before H.

Re:Struth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856057)

For what it's worth, Joe Hockey is an actual senior politician in Australia and in this context has absolutely nothing to do with Joe Football or Joe Basketball. He also owns joehockey.com and has turned down some very large offers for the domain.

Because... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856037)

When you have to market, ship, repackage, translate when needed, spend time setting up vendors and licensing deals, pay your attorneys to review everything for over seas and so on for a market that is much smaller than your american market where you wont make as many sales you have to increase your products price to adjust for that so you can actually make money on what youre selling.

So creative suit 6 costs 1400 more there. They will sell a whole hell of a lot less there probablly and have to justify selling it there.

Then you have currency exchances also and the american dollar isnt worth dick right now.

Australlians really need to just shut up and be quiet. They are lucky the rest of the world even aknowledges they exist beyond a really expensive vacation trip and crocodile dundee.

simple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856063)

Australia is a remote continent of land thats mostly back woods wilderness with a majority population of consumers and very little producers

so to ship a product to Australia you have to go well out of your way just to watch hundreds of thousands of shipping containers sit in purgatory hoping you can fill one up with didgeridoos a fucking year later at a huge loss either way

Then you have to deal with their center of the world fucking attitude, and their crybaby bullshit while they never notice they are one god damed step away from Antarctica in terms of remoteness.

stuff cost more? NO SHIT it always cost more when your out in BFE dumbshits!

Re:simple (1)

smash (1351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856241)

Except all this shit generally comes from CHINA and we are closer to China than the US is. We export far more per capita than the US does actually.

I know why. (4, Funny)

jafac (1449) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856101)

. . . it's because they have to translate their product into a weird foreign language. Right?

American psychology (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856123)

It's not that non-US prices are higher, it is that US prices are made low. This is because Americans are cheap bastards even though many have lots of money to spend. It is a big market, but one you can only break into at discount prices. On the plus side, it is easier to offload low quality goods to the US. Many companies are learning fast and sending lower QA-scoring product runs to the US, sometime even seperate products for specific low-quality US chains like Walmart. However, if your products are new or susceptible to review, or cheap enough to produce copies like software, you send the quality stuff and lose out on per-unit profit to get a share of American consumerism.

As a consumer in the long term, I wouldn't try rushing to emulate the US. Sure, you can get bread and cheese there at a super low price, but on the other hand you're likely to end up eating cheeze whiz and wonder bread.

I wish Germany would do that ... (1)

garry_g (106621) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856147)

Many products cost the US$-price in Euro here ... or even more in Euro than in US$ ... e.g., one of our customers complained about our price for a Fortinet device. They looked up the device on the Internet and found it on some supplier's page ... after converting the prices, it turned out that the street price in the US (including VAT but without state sales tax) was about more than 40% under our wholesale price (without VAT) according to the official price list (and we already get a pretty good rebate on the official prices). Try to explain that to your customers ...

But then, I reckon with all the lobbying, why would the government bother ... it's just the citizens losing money to an out-of-country company ... :(

Re:I wish Germany would do that ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856187)

Um, what is the typical VAT in the US?

I think it's about 0%

Not limited to 'technology' consumer products (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856151)

I wish they did this for cosmetics. Clinique face cream costs $25 USD and $110 AUD for the exact same product. It is outrageous!! There is one site I know of that will sell it for about $45 (obviously they are there to make money just not parallel import).

Why is this an issue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856177)

Why can't Adobe charge whatever they want for their products?

about time (1)

smash (1351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856207)

It's not just Apple, MS, etc. either.

We get ripped off on most things here. Rear tyres for my car - US price: $300/each. Local price? $900 each. Computer stuff is generally more expensive in terms of AU vs US dollars by a factor of 1.5 or more. Our dollar is currently above parity...

Fuel is about $1.50 per litre. A coffee from a cafe is about $5. A subway 11" long sandwich is about $6-7.

Why not just ignore the copyright... (3, Interesting)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856243)

Simply don't enforce any copyright laws against these products until the pricing reaches parity. "Authorize" a local "distributor" to sell it at the cost of the blank media it is distributed on. Make sure businesses are aware that they can get in on this action too, and that any copy acquired in this manner will be free from any future prosecution of copyright infringement. If the companies don't play ball after that, Australia suddenly becomes a much cheaper place to set up a small business... win-win.

Anyone remember the Parallel Imports stuff? (1)

fatmatt_oz (680839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42856245)

This is a repeat of the tactics the music and publishing industries used for decades. CD's used to cost double the price of the equivalent in the US and the release of books and music would be delayed usually by months. I think it was sometime in the 90's that the govt. brought in the parallel import rules, basically cheaper CD's and books could be imported (legally) from overseas if the local distributors didn't bring them in within a reasonable time. Don't quote me on any of this, IANAL and it was a while ago. My point is that the entertainment industry have been doing this to us for a very long time and the govt. has had some impact on these sorts of practices. They just need to act. A lot of the software priced like this is technical and productivity based where there is no alternative and adds to the high cost of doing business in this country. I've got memories of walking into one of the big name brand music stores in Asia 20 years ago and buying the same CD's I could buy at home for $10 when they were $30 in Australia, they were not pirate CDs.
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