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Will The Real ‘Price Gougers’ Please Stand Up?

Apple and Microsoft are to appear before the parlimentary inquiry into IT price gouging, forced to defend the alleged price ‘gouging’ of Aussie consumers.

Adobe has also been summoned to appear at the Inquiry into IT Pricing, as well as Apple and Microsoft for a public hearing in Canberra on March 22, the House Committee on Infrastructure and Communications today confirmed

The Committee, running since July last, is looking at the impacts of excessive prices charged to Australian consumers for IT products, like iPads, Microsoft Windows software and digital music downloads like iTunes compared to the US, examining claims made by consumer watchdog Choice that we pay around 50% more for “identical” tech products.

Choice welcomed the move and says it hopes the inquiry can create real pressure for lower prices here.

“We welcome the move by the Committee to force these companies to front the Australian public and explain why they think it is okay to charge Australians more,” says Choice CEO Alan Kirkland.

“We found that with one Microsoft software development product, you could fly to Los Angeles return to buy the software and still save thousands of dollars.”

CHOICE also warned Apple and Co to come to the hearings prepared with answers and not just excuses, and says the inquiry has been hampered by ‘stonewalling’ from Apple, Adobe and Microsoft, who refused to publically front the inquiry and explain why they charge extortionate prices.

The IT pricing inquiry is seeking to determine why those extreme price differences exist and the actions that should be taken to address any differences.

Labor MP Ed Husic, a MP for Chifley has also been a major advocate of the inquiry, which may force big companies to lower their prices down under.

“With price differences this stark, the same old excuses just won’t cut it anymore”, Choice warned in a statement today. 

“Australians are waking up to the fact that we are being ripped off. We believe it’s time that these companies realise this and start pricing fairly in the Australian market,” says Kirkland.