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Adobe Bows To Pressure and Cuts Australian Prices

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the fairish-dinkum dept.

Australia 159

An anonymous reader writes "Software giant Adobe has bowed to public pressure and slashed the price of some of its products for Australian customers a day after being ordered to front a parliamentary committee hearing to explain its excessive charges."

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About darn time (3, Interesting)

sharkytm (948956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870655)

Adobe's pricing has been out of line for a long time, and IMHO, their products are slipping. Acrobat X fails to complete several tasks that I do regularly with Acrobat 8.

Re:About darn time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870699)

I'd like to see what these compulsive updaters think they can do with CS6 that they could not do with CS2. 95% of users of Photoshop do the same fucking things with the current version that they did with it in 1998.

Re:About darn time (2, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870895)

Not that this has anything to do with the GP post, but there is nothing that 95% of users of Photoshop couldn't do at least as well with GIMP.

Re:About darn time (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870995)

95% of users of Photoshop didn't pay for it either.

Re:About darn time (2)

RDW (41497) | about a year and a half ago | (#42872563)

95% of users of Photoshop didn't pay for it either.

Hardly surprising, considering how blatant some of the warez sites are getting nowadays:

http://www.adobe.com/downloads/cs2_downloads/index.html [adobe.com]

Re:About darn time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42871427)

If you're the kind of person who like getting slammed in the nuts, The Gimp is the right application for you.

On the other hand, if you actually want to get stuff done and don't want to spend a lot of money, Photoshop Elements is a great application at a reasonable proce.

Re:About darn time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42871797)

I love the gimp. Just to clarify, though, I slam *his* nuts, not my own.

Re:About darn time (2)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871891)

Actually, I did most of my graphics learning with GiMP and Inkscape. I did take some classes which involved the use of Photoshop and Illustrator (and others in the creative suite) but I found what most people find as a problem in GiMP and others. It comes down to what one is most comfortable and familiar with. While I was able to quickly adapt what I learned with GiMP to Photoshop, most people don't have the same general ability to adapt knowledge to other platforms. (Say, Windows to Linux.)

I'm not sure what the current state of CMYK support in GiMP is... I never use or need it, but to my understanding, that's about the only thing that doesn't really translate when comparing the two by function.

Re:About darn time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42871583)

Other then using an application with an acceptable UI.

Re:About darn time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42871945)

Other then using an application with an acceptable UI.

I realize it is fashionable to disparage the Gimp. I guess something about free software made easily available bothers some people?

But really. Really now. What is the probelm with its UI? "Not what I am used to" isn't a rational answer here. What feature does the Gimp have that you were unable to effectively use because a flaw in its UI got in your way? I really want to know. All I see on this is vague complaints with no substance. Can you explain?

Re:About darn time (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42872257)

I guess something about free software made easily available bothers some people?

Im going to hazard that most people who have used The Gimp have some familiarity with Linux, and no problem with Linux.

At some point youre going to have to stop and ask why of all OSS apps, The Gimp is the most consistently slammed for having terrible design.

Paint.net has always been far, far superior in my eyes, and costs roughly the same. That I cant view the source code really is no incentive for me to use a terrible, painful to use UI.

Re:About darn time (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42872795)

The Gimp's UI is a joy next to Blender.

Re:About darn time (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42872493)

Other then using an application with an acceptable UI.

i find the newer photoshops confusing..

gimp isn't that bad nowadays, it even ships with a all in one window option.

Re:About darn time (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871123)

I'd like to see what these compulsive updaters think they can do with CS6 that they could not do with CS2.

How about run on newer operating systems? How about open files created by someone else who uses CS6, with all effects in place?

95% of users of Photoshop do the same fucking things with the current version that they did with it in 1998.

But they don't run it on Windows 98.

Re:About darn time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42871839)

How about open files created by someone else who uses CS6, with all effects in place?

Ah, yes... the wonderful new advertised feature that everyone is scrambling for!!
  Upgrade to CS6! So you can open CS6 files (because we broke backwards compatibility so you'd be forced to upgrade)

Hi. This is FUCKING BULLSHIT you MORON. That's not a feature... that's EXTORTION.

Re:About darn time (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42872285)

EXTORTION.

You keep using this word....

Re:About darn time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42872903)

Hi. Let me help you out there... I know it's a big word...

extortion
/ikstôrSHn/
Noun

The practice of obtaining something, esp. money, through force or threats.

Now, I realize you have a brain the size of a gnat, so allow me to explain. By breaking backwards compatibility with previous versions of their OWN FUCKING SOFTWARE, which REALLY HASN'T CHANGED FUNDAMENTALLY IN 6 ITERATIONS, Adobe is extorting licensing fees from their own install base, forcing users to update. So, yes, it is extortion, in point of fact.

Re:About darn time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42872269)

The reason Adobe is still in business is because they've scammed you into buying something you don't need, then forced everyone you work with to buy it too because they can't open your files.

Re:About darn time (1)

Builder (103701) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871199)

1. Open pictures taken with a Nikon D300s without having to use something else to convert them to a format that PS recognizes.

2. Run on a 64-bit OS and use the available memory.

Re:About darn time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42871213)

I work indirectly for Adobe, but I dont speak as company rep, but rather as a nerd.
Mercury engine - uses GPU in many operations. It's especially good in blur and many other plugins. Speed boost is noticable.
Many new tools are making many operations from CS2 easier and faster. Basically it becomes somewhat smarter, for better or worse. All advancedoptions remain as far as I can see.(i have big gap in potoshop usage)

Don't even get me started on Premiere Pro. OpenCL is what video editor users were crying for ages.

And don't bash me. I am OSS user and I use ONLY Linux for many years. Don't know why they hired me in the first place. :P

BTW direct answer to your question:
1) It can work under 64 bit environment, on Vista and Higher.
2) It can use fakaload of RAM.

Re:About darn time (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871537)

The "smart autofill" function is effectively magic; that wasn't added in until at least 2010. If you were hanging out on CS1 or CS2 that would be an easy incentive to upgrade.

Re:About darn time (3, Informative)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871655)

The "smart autofill" function is effectively magic; that wasn't added in until at least 2010. If you were hanging out on CS1 or CS2 that would be an easy incentive to upgrade.

Or just use GIMP, which already had that feature. [linuxers.org]

Magic? FYI: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from FLOSS.

Re:About darn time (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871647)

Just looking at various PR photos from back then and now, this statement is easily proven false.

Re:About darn time (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year and a half ago | (#42872561)

I'm not a power user, but there are hdr and photo stitching functions that make my life easier.

there's some 3-d type effects that coworkers (who are much more power users than I) use.

text and vector handling is much improved

I don't know about the various Layer types, but I don't think all of the effects style layers ere there back then (nor the entirety of even what I do with non destructive editing).

The selector in cs6 is VASTLY improved.

The various healing brush type tools are better than in 98.

I am not an expert by any measure, and the difference between 1998 And now is extreme. Yes, perhaps 95% of what I do now existed then (probably more), but the remaining few percent saves a lot of time, and I suspect someone that uses Photoshop a couple hours a day would save over 100 hours a week, just with the new select from cs6.

My worthless statistic: 95% of the people that say things about Photoshop users, don't actually use Photoshop.

WHARRGARBL (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870747)

But wharrgarbl government coercion wharrgarbl the Free Market wharrgarbl!

Re:WHARRGARBL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870801)

and wharrgarbl niggers!

World of WHARRGARBL (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871285)

Actiblizzard is a private company and has every right to charge for World of Wharrgarbl in different countries!

jhgjn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870661)

uoytyy6gu

About time! (5, Informative)

Gumbercules!! (1158841) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870667)

It's ridiculously expensive to buy software in Australia. Most of it is purely digital and there's no justification. I hope the other vendors follow suite, soon. Overseas readers may not be aware that it's cheaper to fly TWO people to America and buy Visual Studio there, then fly back here, than it is to buy it here (link here if you think I'm exaggerating: http://theconversation.edu.au/cheaper-hardware-software-and-digital-downloads-heres-how-8382 [theconversation.edu.au] ). That's just an example (I know Visual Studio is not exactly top pick on Slashdot but it's still got its place).

It's much cheaper to buy games on Steam through a proxy - as in about 50% cheaper. It's just completely unfair and I'm glad someone is finally doing something about it.

Creative...Suite? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870805)

I hope the other vendors follow suite

I see what you did there.

Re:About time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870845)

I hope the other vendors follow suite, soon.

Yeah man, that would be sweet! It would suit me just fine.

Re:About time! (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870887)

Yeah, tout suite!

Re:About time! (0, Troll)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870909)

europeans complain about this as well

most times its because the people voted in all kinds of insane socialist laws and consumer protections and then complain about the extra costs

when i lived in italy everyone wanted the socialist benefits. and yet most businesses had the cash register open all the time so they could conduct some business in cash and off the books. same thing in the socialist paradise of greece

Re:About time! (3, Insightful)

animaal (183055) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870973)

So what added protections does Steam grant to a European that aren't granted to an American?

Re:About time! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42872121)

You can legally get a refund for a game that does not work. You can legally sell your games. You can legally sell your account. All of these things are impossible in America.

Re:About time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870999)

europeans complain about this as well

most times its because the people voted in all kinds of insane socialist laws and consumer protections and then complain about the extra costs

when i lived in italy everyone wanted the socialist benefits. and yet most businesses had the cash register open all the time so they could conduct some business in cash and off the books. same thing in the socialist paradise of greece

What youre talking about there is corruption, not socialism. Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal are corrupt to the core; states like Germany, UK etc are not. Hence the 'PIGS' states cant control their economies, since half of it is black market.
It's got nothing to do with socialism, and everything to do with common sense. All european states have the same consumer protections and they dont all have their hands in the till.

Re:About time! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871585)

What youre talking about there is corruption, not socialism. Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal are corrupt to the core; states like Germany, UK etc are not. Hence the 'PIGS' states cant control their economies, since half of it is black market.
It's got nothing to do with socialism, and everything to do with common sense. All european states have the same consumer protections and they dont all have their hands in the till.

It is rather ironic that the places that more or less invented political science as a discipline in the west(Greece) and reasonably competent large-scale administration(Rome) are now so feckless about it; but they are.

If it were a 'socialism' thing, you'd really expect much of northwestern europe to be living in corrupt, dystopian hellholes and bribing one another with bags of dried herring passed under the table. Apparently, that hasn't panned out...

Re:About time! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42871751)

What youre talking about there is corruption, not socialism.

That's funny. Every time a flaw in socialism is pointed out, somebody pulls out the good old No True Scotsman.

Capitalism isn't the Final Ultimate Answer to all our problems. Socialism isn't either. Is that so hard to accept?

Re:About time! (5, Insightful)

Gumbercules!! (1158841) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871177)

Umm, no... That's not what this is about.

This isn't a taxation issue - it's an extortion issue. This is pure and simple that (predominantly) American companies double, triple and sometimes a lot more than that the price of digital downloads when destination == .au. Apple does it with iTunes, Steam does it with games. Adobe does it with whatever crap they're flogging these days and so do most of the rest. Hardware as well. When I hear Americans talk about $500 computers at "Best Buy" or whatever, I feel sick. The kind of people who buy computers at Best Buy in the US are the kind of people who pay $2,000 for the same thing, in Harvey Norman, here - and our dollar is worth more than the USD, so it's not exchange rates.

Considering they're all assembled in China, which is closer to Australia, I don't buy that's it's a freight cost, either. It's long been known that IT companies just jack up the price massively if they're dealing with Australia because we've allowed ourselves to become accustomed to it.

Re:About time! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42871615)

If a person does not like the price they are asked to pay for a product they are welcome to write their own software.

Re:About time! (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871183)

actually, I'd say it's cheaper to buy a VPN package.

Re:About time! (2)

balsy2001 (941953) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871509)

Yeah, my astrill account cost like $60 bucks a year. I live in China and I can buy software online as if I am in the US just by selecting a server there. It also works when I want to appear like I am in Europe. I guess my US issued credit card helps with that too. I don't know how an international card would fare in this situation.

Re:About time! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871633)

I strongly suspect that the US cc helps a great deal.

It isn't this way across the board(obviously, for 'free'/ad-supported services your credit card won't save you at all, and some retailers enforce geographic shipping restrictions); but it is often possible to purchase as an American, so long as you have a US issued cc, even if your IP at that moment suggests that you are abroad. Unless it absolutely can't be avoided(because of some regional licensing deal or something), why would a merchant who sells to Americans want to piss off American business travellers or Americans with the means to travel for pleasure? Both are likely to be better-than-average customers.

Re:About time! (1)

balsy2001 (941953) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871931)

I basically get shut out from online purchases if I don't have the VPN turned on using an American based server. Even with that my paypal account gets Fed up every time I use it. I agree that the US cc is very important but far from the only thing that maters (sure to be vendor specific).

Re:About time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42872319)

Since you're Australian, you probably know that about Australia's 10% GST. Surprise, surprise, that increases the list prices by 10%. Buying through a proxy means you're not paying the GST and you're a tax cheater. Why didn't you mention that?

Re:About time! (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42872727)

>It's much cheaper to buy games on Steam...

As someone earlier said about extortion, "You keep saying that word...."

I think the term you want is closer to "lease". If Steam gets its back up, it can cut you off from the products you "bought". And finding out that you live in .au but bought as if you were in .us might do it.

Steam is only the lesser of two evils when you consider that the greater one is "always connected" DRM.

I'm Surprised (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870681)

I'm really surprised that they "bowed to pressure". When last I checked, Australian companies could set the price of their goods as they choose and parliamentary testimony had as much authority as the dog and pony shows of the U.S. congress.

The whole thing seems odd to me.

Re:I'm Surprised (2)

ixuzus (2418046) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871231)

Australia has a government that desperately needs some wins in an election year. Given Australia's previous form on matters of importation this may well be an attempt by Adobe to head off further weakening of parallel import restrictions. This is a token gesture - note that it only seems to apply to a few mostly consumer grade products.

Australia has already removed parallel import restrictions on quite a few things and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says that any attempt to enforce DVD region codes may well be illegal. Any legislation that weakened parallel import restrictions on software would probably be a badly needed popularity boost for the government and a major headache for Adobe.

Re:I'm Surprised (2, Interesting)

ThePhilips (752041) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871481)

But when all vendors are doing it, then there might be suspicions of cartel-like price fixing.

It is of course off and the whole case seem to set new precedent for the global market.

P.S. I wonder if WTO and other trade agreements come into play.

Re:I'm Surprised (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871679)

I'm really surprised that they "bowed to pressure". When last I checked, Australian companies could set the price of their goods as they choose and parliamentary testimony had as much authority as the dog and pony shows of the U.S. congress.

The whole thing seems odd to me.

Most organisms of nontrivial size in Australia are virulently venomous. Adobe is quite used to dealing with toothless legislators(and, indeed, found that the Australian ones were no more toothy than their counterparts elsewhere); but there are a number of venom-injecting structures found in nature that are not classified as 'teeth'. Lobbyist boot-camp doesn't train you on how to respond when a parliamentary committee starts making clicking noises and waving their palps at you.

Why so high? (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870695)

Is there any news as to why they thought their prices should have been so high in the first place?

Re:Why so high? (5, Insightful)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870731)

Because they thought they could get away with it. For a long time they were right.

Re:Why so high? (2)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870955)

And they still are right. Parliamentary enquiries have no teeth in the face of commercial operations. It's all about politics: "Look at me, I'm doing something-or-other about something-or-other. Watch this vacant space [ ]".

Re:Why so high? (0)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42872533)

"Get away with" as fancy-speak for "people were willing to pay that price".

You know, that old fundamental of economics 101.

Re:Why so high? (2, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870979)

The USD used to be worth a hell of a lot more than its worth now. Even compared to just recently. One of the many fun side effects of the collapse of empire.

About 10 years ago the conversion from USD to AUD was darn near 60 cents to the buck. So a "$600 USD" thing really should cost "$1000 AUD" because of currency conversion rates. Today the ratio is very near 1:1. But if you've trained the kangaroos or whatever to expect to pay darn near twice as much in AUD as USD, then why not keep doin it if they're dumb enough to keep paying it?

The government involvement is the .gov always gets worked up over black market currency transactions. You go ask them to explain, I donno. Something about pretending to be an unregulated currency exchange. Combined with some weird money laundering possibilities. Also one of many reasons a country crashes its currency (competitive devaluation, etc) is to increase exports. But if the disobedient companies refuse to recognize the new exchange rate, that kinda defeats the purpose, thus they get pissed off. Also there's a lot of game theory in international economics where all the big players (the nations) agree to keep all their minons in check, otherwise things don't go so smooth. So if we start a mini-trade war over crappy web dev software, the aussies might fight back by not selling us Crocodile Dundee sequel movies or WTF they sell us. Probably most (semi-valuable) rocks aka ores of some sort. We probably sell them as much horse piss beer as they sell us so that would break even and not matter too much. So... anyway...

The same thing has pretty much happened with the Canadians. A decade ago $1.40 CDN bought you a buck, now its darn near parity $1 for $1. In the olden days paperback books and magazines always had something like $4.99 USA $6.99 Canada printed in ink on the cover. Obviously that would be a tremendous ripoff now that $1 equals about $1.

Re:Why so high? (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871045)

I understand why it ended up this way; I was more interested in what Adobe's official answer to the AUS gov't was. (did they make some bullshit up or state what you wrote above?)

Re:Why so high? (2, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871245)

The devaluation of the dollar has nothing to do with empire collapse and everything to do with fiscal policy by the Fed, they're trying to prime the pump by dumping ridiculous amounts of money into the system (both through zero percent interest rates and through their t-bill and other bond purchasing programs). This will necessarily devalue the USD, which is actually a good thing when you're trying to raise employment and exports (not so good if you're a saver, but there aren't that many of those in the US anyways).

Re:Why so high? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871977)

Quite simple. Higher base wages and a more effective social welfare net leave more money available for general spending. Not having to worry about medical expenses means Australian can spend on other things. So products were priced for not what they are worth but the maximum the market can sustain with the required turnover. It's greed 101 folks wakeup to yourselves. A products value has nothing to do with the price in the current psychopathic corporate market, it is all about the maximum that can be charged and still sustain the required turnover to achieve the desired profit, insatiable psychopathic greed.

All DVD's were grossly over priced until sufficient of the Australian market simply imported directly from other markets so as to cripple turnover in the Australian market. So the price of DVD's was adjusted in the Australian market to the point where the majority stopped importing directly and started buying locally.

Not happy with the Australian price either don't buy the product or import it yourself or and this is the smartest move use FOSS. At least with FOSS you wont save the money once but you will end up saving it again and again and again for the rest of your life typically something like 20 to 50 times and that is a huge amount of money.

It's mind boggling to think FOSS can save the skilled user something like $100,000 over a life of broad software use and most of that money wasted on repeat purchases of identical products that end up wasting more time than the upgrades are worth.

Re:Why so high? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42872239)

Why? because fuck you that's why.

So... (3, Insightful)

lesincompetent (2836253) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870697)

This is clearly an admission of guilt. I rest my case.

Re:So... (1)

balsy2001 (941953) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871601)

This "guilty" concept keeps being raised in regards to this issue. What are they guilty of? Maybe they are "guilty" of being dicks but that is hardly criminal. Is there some law in Australia that requires companies to sell products for the same price there as in the country of origin?

Re:So... (1)

lesincompetent (2836253) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871995)

Yes, i should have said *morally* guilty.

Thanks Adobe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42870773)

I'm still going to download your software for free, though. No hard feelings. There will still be plenty of others dropping hundreds of dollars on your overpriced software.

Re:Thanks Adobe! (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871073)

There will still be plenty of others dropping hundreds of dollars on your overpriced software.

Then it's not overpriced as far as Adobe are concerned, really.

Re:Thanks Adobe! (1)

andersonbn (2003420) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871745)

The situation here in Brazil is worse. I bet 95% of running Adobe Software is obtained and installed through illegal or questionable means. The prices here for car, electronics and software goods are light years ahead the ones practiced over many other countries, including Australia. A Galaxy S3 phone, for example, is sold here for approximately $1000,00, even though it`s components are made in China and its final assembling is done here. What the government does? Absolutely nothing! It`s not free market, it really is a secret and mutually collaborative game played only by industries and governments. People are marginalized on this process and have no voice at all to change this situation. Glad to see the australian government taking the opportunity to speak in favour of its citizens. Hope the same some day will happen here, in Brazil.

good strategy (5, Insightful)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870775)

That definitely makes them look not guilty.

Re:good strategy (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871467)

I was just thinking that this won't end well. They have just blatantly stated that there was nothing preventing them from doing this before now. I wonder whether owners of the software are eligible for some sort of refund.

Re:good strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42872643)

You mean just like PS3 owners were able to get a massive refund after Sony spontaneously dropped the price of the console shortly after it came out?

Now what about region locked products ? (1)

MadX (99132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870861)

It surprises me that there is no inquest into DVD charges as well .. They have more control over these than with software, and they strongarm their way into the supply chain, pretending that there is a compelling reason to have to charge more :(

Re:Now what about region locked products ? (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871441)

It surprises me that there is no inquest into DVD charges as well

At least a few cents of the price difference is compulsory classification. The United States has no compulsory classification scheme; it's legal to put a "not rated" movie in stores as long as the retailer trusts the movie's publisher to self-assess the video's target audience. Australia, on the other hand, grants a monopoly to the Australian Classification Board and bans the distribution of any film or video game that it hasn't rated. And in general, these classification boards of smaller countries don't give a discount for serving a smaller market.

Re:Now what about region locked products ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42871849)

And in general, these classification boards of smaller countries don't give a discount for serving a smaller market.

Good thing Australia is not a small country.

Long-term exclusive distribution contracts (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871473)

they strongarm their way into the supply chain

Part of the problem is that motion picture producers tend to be committed to exclusive distribution contracts with distributors who understand the cultural, legal, and logistic peculiarities in a particular market. These long-term contracts tend to have begun before 1997 when DVD came out. And because they're exclusive, it would be a breach of contract for a film's copyright owner to allow anybody but that distributor to distribute copies of the film in that market.

Re:Long-term exclusive distribution contracts (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871717)

"And because they're exclusive, it would be a breach of contract for a film's copyright owner to allow anybody but that distributor to distribute copies of the film in that market."

If the price difference is large enough, the film's copyright owner doesn't have to 'allow' anything, they just have to not have any recourse when somebody in country A buys a containerload of cheap DVDs and ships them to country B. First sale, no unauthorized copies made, etc.

Re:Long-term exclusive distribution contracts (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42872429)

If the price difference is large enough, the film's copyright owner doesn't have to 'allow' anything, they just have to not have any recourse when somebody in country A buys a containerload of cheap DVDs and ships them to country B. First sale, no unauthorized copies made, etc.

Perhaps these long-term exclusive distribution contracts require the film's copyright owner to do its best to grant such a recourse to a regional distributor.

Problem for companies competing internationally (2)

PerMolestiasEruditio (1118269) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870975)

If your business has to pay more than offshore competitors for the tools it uses then you have a major problem.

Strong case could be made that any company that sells it's software at lower cost in other countries should be legislatively compelled to match that within your country, but would need someone powerful (like EU or WTO) to make it happen.

Re:Problem for companies competing internationally (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871093)

Software should be sold as a commodity not licensed.

If country A and country B both had furniture business, and exporter Z arbitrarily sold wood at twice the price to country A, in the medium term the price of wood in country A would approach the cost of country B's cheap wood plus trucking wood from B to A, no huge deal.

But if you licensed fine grain furniture grade oak by the individual plank and certain planks could only be used in certain countries... this is the software license problem...

Re:Problem for companies competing internationally (1)

balsy2001 (941953) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871649)

Or, those companies just don't do business in your country after you pass this law.

What kind of economy is Australia based on? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42871129)

The pricing is purely based on supply & demand, if you don't need the software and/or can't afford it, then don't buy it.if enough people do that the price will drop.

First brick is laid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42871151)

Now, we just need more countries to jump on the bandwagon and force corporations to lower their extravagant prices.

Re:First brick is laid... (1)

balsy2001 (941953) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871703)

There is more than one possible outcome from your suggested course of action. One of which might be not selling it to you period. However, I think you could get the desired results without begging your governments to take care of the bully for you. Stop buying the products. If everyone in Australia stopped buying Adobe software for 6 months or a year, I bet they would lower the price.

Re:First brick is laid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42872255)

But that would require people to, you know, actually do something - or not do something. It would mean they would have to take part. And that's why governments exist; so that the people don't have to worry their pretty little heads over these types of things.

Australia and software are not unique (5, Interesting)

AlexOsadzinski (221254) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871269)

While digitally-delivered software is an egregious example of price gouging, it's hardly unique. Sure, Australia is a long way away from most places and it's a very small market (about 22M people). So it's understandable that some goods will cost more, especially if they need local parts and supports: think cars, or even computers (but not bits). But, despite the pervasiveness of the internet, price differentials still exist FAR in excess of those caused by local taxation and tariffs and market sizes.

The US has it very, very good indeed. Why does, say, an Audi cost 30-40% less in California than in Germany, after you remove taxes? Same car (modulo some safety marks molded into some of the parts and other minor differences), same warranty, same service. The only difference is that it spends a few weeks on a boat instead of a few hours on a truck getting to the dealer. Why do the same Chinese-manufactured clothes cost, in some cases, 3-5x more in Switzerland than at Macy's anywhere in the US? How come that Japanese cameras are 30% cheaper in the US than in, say, the UK, or even in Japan?

I think that part of the answer is cultural. As an emigree to the US (22 years ago), one of the things that I first noticed was the national obsession with getting the best price on everything, almost regardless of personal wealth. Americans simply won't put up with price gouging. The clerk at Macy's will take some time to stack coupons and discounts for you to give you the lowest price. People actually negotiate the prices of many things with the seller, e.g. cars. In the UK, a favorite phrase was "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it", which was a not-so-subtle tactic to make you feel somehow inferior for wanting a discount. And I will always remember the look on an American friend's face when, at a UK breakfast place, she asked for a refill of her (tiny) coffee cup and was told that it would be an extra 2 pounds. Try that at any restaurant in the US and witness the riot.

The internet simply causes resentment and envy when people in less fortunate places browse US sites. A lot of people simply order from the US and deal with the customs and shipping hassles (and, sometimes, the lack of local warranty). My Swiss friends bring empty suitcases on trips to the US and fill them up at Best Buy and Macy's; the Swiss tax on bringing stuff in for personal use is very low. I saw one billionaire (literally) friend from Switzerland buy a box of batteries at Best Buy because they're so expensive in his home country.

Mod this guy up! (1)

sgtrock (191182) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871459)

This is the most insightful, objective item that I've read on this topic in a very long time.

Re:Australia and software are not unique (1)

balsy2001 (941953) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871877)

Yes, we won't buy your product if we don't think we are getting a good deal. That is how markets are supposed to work. However, there are some advantages that the US has. Primarily a large population with disposable incomes. This allows the group, using market forces, to put severe pricing pressure on many items. There are 4 states in the US that are each about the size of AU or bigger (CA, TX, NY, FL) population wise (and pretty close GDP wise too).

Re:Australia and software are not unique (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42872045)

So the US "has it good" because we are willing to push back against price gouging? Essentially other countries/peoples are treated unfairly because they put up with it.

Odd that its the other way around with politics. Perhaps if Americans were less concern about consuming we'd be willing to push back more on our politicians.

Re:Australia and software are not unique (4, Insightful)

Eil (82413) | about a year and a half ago | (#42872147)

As an American, I'm proud of the fact that most prices here are negotiable. Sure, it means a little more work to buy the thing you want at a reasonable price. And honestly, it intimidates a lot of people who were raised to be non-confrontational. Whatever, they can pay the full asking price if that's what they want.

You're right, it is cultural. There's a downside to having a low cost of living, however. You still hear just about everyone in the U.S. complain about the price of just about everything. Even while the poorest of our poor still have a higher quality of life than most of the rest of the world. Even if you're homeless and don't have a dime to your name, most cities have shelters where you can sleep and eat for free. (And even these cost too much to run because we effectively have _no_ public mental health treatment system, which is a damn shame. But that's a topic for another day.)

Because luxury goods are so cheap (big houses, big cars, big computers, loads of cheap entertainment), most of the middle class spends money like they're millionaires. As a result they live paycheck to paycheck and don't save enough for retirement. And then they get outraged that social security is paying out less and less because hey, how are they going to afford to retire now that companies don't do pensions anymore? I'm looking out over the parking lot of the corporate building next door and about 10% of the cars are gas-guzzling sports cars while 40% of the cars are SUVs and pickup trucks. I'm betting almost none carpool. These people are burning up huge chunks of their paycheck before they even get it.

Over the past few years, I've been listening to political news on the radio and it floors me how many otherwise normal, sane people seem to think that it's the government's job to provide them with stable employment and retirement. I'm all for social welfare progams that help the poor, but for christ sake, the middle class needs to wake the fuck up and start spending less while saving more. Instead of asking the government to knock on their door and give them even more money to waste.

Re:Australia and software are not unique (5, Insightful)

AlexOsadzinski (221254) | about a year and a half ago | (#42872339)

Yeah, that's another thing that I noticed when I came to the US: people have an enormous amount of stuff in their enormous (by UK standards) houses. Even after 22 years in the US, I still can't get over how much stuff is available, and how little it costs. Don't get me wrong: I like stuff. But it's overwhelming how much stuff there is.

You highlight a real US problem, though: people not understanding the time value of money. It's not taught in the schools, AFAIK. This leads to living on credit (which is astonishingly expensive, if, like most people, you use credit cards) and living for "now" versus "the rest of your life". Try explaining to the average person that waiting a few months to save for something saves you 10-80% of the long-term cost (depending on how indebted you are). The classic symptom of this: a car dealer asking you what monthly payment you're looking for when you walk onto the lot. And there are insidious money-sucking prices in the US, too: what the average home spends on healthcare, mobile voice/data and cable/satellite is just incredible. And every marketing genius has figured out the recurring revenue model and many households fall for it, e.g. Sirius/XM for your car(s).

Re:Australia and software are not unique (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873011)

> many otherwise normal, sane people seem to think that it's the government's job to provide them with stable employment and retirement.

If the government takes money out of me and the government controls the economy, how much my money is worth, how credit flows through and a zillion of other laws involving taxes and business regulations, and population control then yes, it is their job to provide me with a climate that makes stable employment a reality.

Re:Australia and software are not unique (0)

ahabswhale (1189519) | about a year and a half ago | (#42872355)

It's culture but it's also the fact that it simply costs more to do business in places like the EU. Not to mention the fact that they have a habit of suing companies left and right and instituting huge fines. These things have a cost and you WILL pay for them at the register. You will never have prices that match the ones in the US for this reason.

Re:Australia and software are not unique (1)

AlexOsadzinski (221254) | about a year and a half ago | (#42872549)

You're right, and a large part of the additional cost of doing business in the EU is because.......everything costs more; businesses buy stuff and services, too. Like Adobe software! How's that for getting back to the topic?

It's a vicious circle. There are large costs of doing business in parts of the US, too, such as in California. Regulations and taxes push up prices there, too, compared to much of the rest of the US. I just got my water bill here in NC: $28 for the month. Same usage in CA used to cost $100. Trash is $15 versus $50. Just because and because of regulation.

As for getting sued: the US government does it less than the EU, but the US plaintiff's bar exacts a toll on business. How many letters do you get telling you that you're a part of a class action suit and that you'll eventually receive a check for $2.89 and that, by the way, the reasonable attorneys' fees for the case will be $10M?

Re:Australia and software are not unique (1)

ahabswhale (1189519) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873083)

California does have more regs than NC but that's not the real reason you pay so much more for water. Water is abundant and readily available in NC and the land to process it is much cheaper. California (southern anyway) gets most of its water from Colorado and land and (pretty much everything else) is more expensive by far.

They should have shown up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42871503)

They should have shown up and said:

They're our products, and we get to name the price for them. If you don't like it, we don't have to continue to sell it here.

The then referred to that statement for all other questions.

Flash and Reader (1)

Maltheus (248271) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871605)

Does that mean they have to start paying customers to use their free products?

Can they get away with it so easily? (1)

scsirob (246572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871697)

So enlighten me. You make a wrong, and you get caught in the act. Just before the case is due you stop doing that, and you are off the hook? Sounds odd.

I can see it now; "Yes officer, I was doing 80 in a 50 zone, but I'm not doing that anymore, so we are good, right??"

Re:Can they get away with it so easily? (1)

LiquidLink57 (1864484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42871875)

Charging a high price is certainly not equivalent to breaking a law. If you think the price is too high, you don't have to buy it. They got bad publicity about it and reduced their prices, and that's all fine and good, but the government has no business telling a private company what they can and can't charge for their products.

If I went out in my backyard and sold pine cones for $6,000 each, we could all agree that's a bit of a high price. The fact that no one would buy them at that price, or at least very few people, would be the signal telling me that I should probably cut that down a little. And still no authority has any right to come in and force me to lower the price.

Re:Can they get away with it so easily? (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42872237)

If you think the price is too high, you don't have to buy it.

So Australians could just turn around and buy a US copy of the product. What? You say they can't? Some sort of market monopoly where Adobe restricts their right to do business which whomever they want?

Re:Can they get away with it so easily? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42872515)

If you think the price is too high, you don't have to buy it.

So Australians could just turn around and buy a US copy of the product. What? You say they can't? Some sort of market monopoly where Adobe restricts their right to do business which whomever they want?

Please explain at what point that relates to what the GP was asking, or the intentionally misleading analogy used therein. You're not mentioning anything illegal yet.

Re:Can they get away with it so easily? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42872325)

So enlighten me. You make a wrong, and you get caught in the act. Just before the case is due you stop doing that, and you are off the hook? Sounds odd.

I can see it now; "Yes officer, I was doing 80 in a 50 zone, but I'm not doing that anymore, so we are good, right??"

Wrong. This wasn't defined as wrong in a legal sense. Adobe's free to charge whatever they want to whomever they want. Hell, this hasn't even been brought up in court yet, so this isn't even a situation where ex post facto settles the matter, because it's not even a crime NOW.

Now, was it a dick move on Adobe's part? But of course. Nobody's saying it wasn't. But your car analogy is stupid and dumb. A better one would be if Chevy made an 8 MPG consumer SUV which only got that horrible of gas mileage because their engineers were lazy and people bought it anyway. But then the government started mumbling about asking WHY gas mileage was so bad in a time when gas prices were skyrocketing and considered regulations, so Chevy suddenly announced that all of the next year's models would get at least 23 MPG.

Hold the hearings anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42871937)

Why *were* you historically charging such inflated prices? Justify why you've soaked Australian consumers for years and cost people a lot of extra money.

In other words, don't let them get out of explaining what they used to do before ending the difference.

No explanations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42872941)

They'd get less profit rather than offer explanations about price gouging. That says it all.

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