updated 03:00 pm EDT, Mon April 30, 2012
Australian government on digital pricing inquiry
Technology companies, including Microsoft and Apple, are being asked by the Australian government to explain why prices of downloadable content in that country are higher than in the US. The parliamentary inquiry is hoped by some parties to lower the prices of digital goods in the region, as regulators have deemed the existing explanations to be insufficient.
One example of the cost difference is for Richard Claptop Greatest Hits on iTunes. US customers will pay $10, while Australian users will have to pay $24 AUS ($25) for the same content. Consumer advocacy group Choice has welcomed the inquiry, advising that technology companies had been making excuses for the high prices, including market size, localized support, and local taxation.
Stephen Conroy, Minister for Communications, has signed off on the inquiry, writing "There is evidence to suggest that the innovative use of technology is not always matched with the innovative new business models in the case of products and services distributed online. I agree that Australian businesses and households should have access to IT software and hardware that is fairly priced relative to other juristictions."
The inquiry can potentially ask about e-book pricing, something which the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission is already considering. [via SMH]