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February 11, 2013

Apple, Microsoft, Adobe to Appear Before Australian Parliamentary Committee to Address ‘Unfair’ Pricing

Apple, Microsoft and Adobe are being accused of price gouging Down Under.

The Australian Parliament’s House Committee on Infrastructure and Communications has summoned the three companies to appear before the committee in Canberra March 22 as part of an ongoing probe.

“The Committee is looking at the impacts of prices charged to Australian consumers for IT products – Australian consumers often pay much higher prices for hardware and software than people in other countries,” the committee said in a statement. “The committee has been examining claims made by organizations such as CHOICE, and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.”

Australian Parliament announced last April its investigation into why Australian citizens pay up to 50 percent more to download software and other content than consumers in other countries.

It is thought Adobe’s pricing of its Creative Suite 6 — the firm charges up to $1,400 more in Australia than it does in the U.S. — was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

And, when the three companies refused to co-operate in the probe, the committee launched an official inquiry in July 2012.

Ed Husic, the Member of Parliament who has been spearheading the campaign, commended the committee’s announcement today (Feb. 11).

“These firms should have co-operated and been prepared to be more open and transparent about their pricing approaches,” Husic said in a statement. “In what’s probably the first time anywhere in the world, these IT firms are now being called by the Australian Parliament to explain why they price their products so much higher in Australia compared to the U.S.”

So far, none of the three companies have commented on the summons or if they will attend. The firms could face charges if they choose to ignore the Australian government’s demands.