“Apple Inc blamed “old-fashioned” record companies, film studios and TV networks for the inflated prices Australians pay compared with U.S. consumers for digital downloads, as it defended its pricing strategy on Friday,” Jane Wardell reports for Reuters. “Executives from Apple, Adobe Systems Inc and Microsoft Inc were grilled by a special Australian parliamentary committee tasked with investigating allegations of price gouging raised by consumer watchdogs.”

“Software and hardware products in Australia sell for an average of 50 percent more than their U.S. equivalents, according to a 2012 survey of 186 songs, games, programmes and computers by Choice, a not-for-profit consumer advocacy group,” Wardell reports. “As soaring cost-of-living bills for basic services hurt the popularity of the minority Labor government ahead of a Sept. 14 election it is widely tipped to lose, lawmakers are considering restricting the ability of companies to set prices in Australia.”

Wardell reports, “Apple, Adobe and Microsoft executives told lawmakers the higher prices reflected factors including Australia’s 10 percent goods and services tax, higher labour costs, copyright issues and geographical product differentiation.”

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“Apple also appeared at the pricing committee today, and its answers were expected but, to its credit, much clearer [than Adobe’s],” Jen Dudley-Nicholson reports for News Limited Network.

“It charges more for music, movies and TV shows in Australia because the record labels, movie and TV houses charge greater wholesale prices here,” Dudley-Nicholson reports. “It’s not fair, of course, for Australians to pay 70 per cent more for AC/DC’s Back in Black than Americans pay, but Apple is not behind the extra fee.”

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