Apple asked to explain to Parliament why Australians pay higher prices for music and app downloads

“Apple and Microsoft will be among technology companies asked to explain to Parliament why Australians pay much more for music and game downloads from iTunes, for example, than overseas customers,” Stephanie Peatling and Jim O’Rourke report for The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Federal Labor politicians are hoping the publicity generated by calling the companies to account for their pricing policies will result in prices dropping,” Peatling and O’Rourke report. “The Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, has signed off on the parliamentary inquiry, which will also consider pricing of software and other IT-related material and could have big implications for businesses. ‘There is evidence to suggest that the innovative use of technology is not always matched with innovative new business models in the case of products and services distributed online,’ Mr Conroy said in a letter to Sydney MP Ed Husic.”

Peatling and O’Rourke report, “Consumer advocate Choice, which had been lobbying for an investigation of the price differential, welcomed the inquiry. The excuses overseas technology companies used to justify the higher prices, such as the small size of the market, the cost of setting up support centres and the imposition of local taxes and duties, were not acceptable, Choice spokeswoman Ingrid Just said. Invitations to appear will be sent to all the big computer and software companies including Apple and Microsoft.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is not a new issue. See here, here, here, and here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. It’s all because the Lib-tards in Australia want equal tech for equal dollars despite how far these goods have to travel to get there. They should ask themselves, “Why does a Ford Mustang cost triple what Chinese or Canadians are paying?”

    1. Jesse, learn to read. And while you’re at it, learn to think. Hint: downloads are not the same as physical goods. (Shakes head in disbelief….)

        1. I encourage every US company to do that. Then you’ll be left off with pirate havens, and you cannot win a court case.

          If you don’t offer it here, how does that affect profit? Sure you may be charged, but to be charged with the loss generated by the company being $0 because you don’t offer it in Australia… it’s free for all.

          And no, we’re not Commies. Just Julia Gillard.

      1. Koch bros????? You LibTard lemmings are so disgustingly pathetic it’s laughable. Koch bros are great patriots but they have absolutely nothing to do with the conservative up-rising going on throughout the country.

        News Flash: The vast majority of Americans hate you commies.

          1. Wrong again Sucker. No one I know has anything to do with the Koch brothers in any way, shape, or form, other than being a fellow conservative. We all hate you and your comrades.

            We don’t need to be paid off by some behind the scenes figure to live what we preach. You commie-tards are a brain-dead-group of followers getting your daily marching orders from the commie propaganda machines. Your Nano-Brains can’t think for themselves.

            We will vote you fools out this November. You can count on it!

      2. MDN has been taken over by unregistered right wing wackos whose sole purpose is to call everyone they don’t agree with (select as many as apply)
        and on and on and on and on.

        It’s probably the same person whose existence is so pathetic they have nothing better to do.

    2. USA prices don’t include tax
      Australian prices do

      Simple really

      Oh wait you will say that taxes doesn’t account for all of the difference
      Import duties and GST = 20-30%

      1. Math isn’t your strong point is it? Add 10% GST and 5% currency differential and you add 15% to an item when comparing US$ to AU$. And that’s for downloads. Maybe 20% if round numbers are required or your company is setting up a data infrastructure in Australia. Australia is much closer to China so physical goods like computers should actually be cheaper to ship there. Whereas items made in America, or worse Europe should have a huge shipping differential built in.

        None of that would explain a 50% or more price differential for Australia.

  2. The price in Aus is probably higher because of imposed ‘import duties’ that are being passed on to customers.

    Aus Parliament are probably deflecting the issue to ‘greedy corporations’ rather than taking responsibility for their own stupid-a**ed legislation.

    Being responsible would mean they would have to answer to their constituants which, as we all know, most politicians don’t like to do.

  3. All my iTunes and App. store purchases take as long to download here in Australia as they do in the US, but I pay substantially more with a higher AU$ than do my US counterparts. Here downunder in OZ we call it a ‘Rip Off’. The issue of over pricing needs to be addressed ASAP, but we still love our Apple products.

      1. A normal song is AU$1.69, while an iTunes Plus song is AU$2.19 AFAIK.

        Still, it’s not as bad as music hardware used to be; synths, etc. in Oz always cost 2 to 2.5 times as much as they did in the U.S. And retailers here wonder why people buy directly from the U.S. Go figure…

      2. My converter says an Australian dollar is equal to $1.043 U.S., so not much difference in currency value.
        That does seem like a big difference percentage wise.

      1. No, “pluming.” That’s when a nuclear core blows out and radioactive particles wind up in the air, forming a plume that’s carried on the wind, typically across the horse latitudes, then countervailing winds at the equator, and eventually in the southern hemisphere’s jet stream, which crosses over Oz.

  4. Australia is not the only place on the planet with this problem, they have been ripped off fo years with things like cars and other non Apple goods.
    Yes local taxes dont help either !
    i think the Uk have it pretty bad with price parity too.
    There used to be a world wide standard of sussing price with the big mac and then it became the ‘ipod standard’ ie what an ipod cost in Rio or London!
    point I guess is if and when it changes the loosers will be the local stores due to the world market place !!

  5. I tried to get a download of Roxio Titanium – US price was $89 (plus a $20 rebate which is immaterial). Oz price $A179. And the taxes here aren’t high. I thought it was just 10% GST, comparable to the US. Download differences can’t be justified, and why so many Australians are registering US addresses and buying US iTunes cards and the like.

  6. The Australian pricing was set back when the Aussie dollar was only worth US60c. Now it’s worth more than the greenback but the price has not been adjusted accordingly. Apple is not the only company guilty of this.

    Oddly they do adjust their hardware prices from time to time according to currency fluctuations.

  7. Exchange rate volatility.

    Apple doesn’t change prices for years, so they have to choose/set a price they think will work for years. The Aussie dollar used to be worth a lot, lot less, so it’s not at all surprising that Apple would choose a price that seems high now, but was based upon historical volatility.

  8. Just remember that taxes are included in the price that products are advertised for in Australia, whereas in the US they are added on at the point of sale. It won’t explain the whole price difference, but the prices are often not as far apart as everyone thinks they are.

  9. 1) MDNs take is a non-issue. Comparing apples to pineapples.

    2) Apple-Asia (based in Singapore) sets all of the prices for ALL Apple products sold in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. And they are a bunch of greedy bastards. Apple cannot demand a set price of goods sold.

    I have beotched and complained over and over again about the prices of Apple products here in Oz – to no avail. I have bought Apple products in the US and brought them home. If the box is opened and the goods look used, then no GST is charged. Saves 10%.

    I have a US iTunes account (legitimately) and I purchase iTunes gift cards to fill my US account BUT there are items in iTunes that are only available here in Oz, so I buy them from iTunes Australia.

    What pi$$e$ me off about all of this is that I cannot use iCloud for my “collection” because it is two separate accounts. And they can’t be merged. (a bit off topic0

    The prices for most products are VERY high here – it isn’t just Apple or Microsoft. Look up the price for a Harley here and you will see what I mean.


  10. Back in 1996, when I went to Australia, I went to several shops in Brisbane and Sydney. The prices were WAY higher than the USA on CDs. Something like $24 to $29 AU for CDs.

    I think Australia is just putting on a show. Their tariffs on imports is really really high.

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