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back to article Australia to look at IT price gouging, but what can it do?

After a year of lobbying by MP Ed Husic, the Australia government decided over the weekend that it will hold a parliamentary inquiry into retail pricing in the IT sector. The art of plucking the Australian goose has been laid bare ever since the Australian dollar overtook the greenback – and suddenly, faced by products that were …

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Mushroom

Ceterum censeo...

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (I've brought this up in other threads dealing with this topic): the worst scam is and remains the parallel import ban for automobiles.

So, yeah, I'm currently shopping for an import and the prices compared to other countries (e.g. UK to allow for a RHD comparison) makes me want to punch a brick wall with rusty nails sticking out. :(

Here even the various road agencies are in on it... "securing road-worthiness of vehicles on Australian roads", my a**e! As if most Japanese or German vehicles weren't 2 or 3 generations ahead of anything built here in those terms.

PS: to any Holden or Ford fans, I'm currently driving an Aus made car and I will never buy one again until they can produce one that can compete on the international market.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ceterum censeo...

You'll find that Holden do produce a vehicle that competes in an international market. They are also the main RWD large car design center for GM. I have driven a Commodore in the USA, I have seen Commodores in Europe. Holden are a major international exporter.

The thing is, I couldn't give a rats about the whole international automotive design thing. I prefer a car designed and made in Australia, the local manufacturing industry is failing due to this international stuff, keeping the US factories in business while ours get wound back and shut down.

I want a car designed in Australia for Australian conditions, and ours are pretty unique. The heat, the expanse, the poor road conditions, the dirt and dust. Some other companies bring their prototypes here as an extreme conditions test, our vehicles have to live it every day.

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Silver badge
Mushroom

It isn't that hard...

For physical items, any official channel caught not matching US/European averages gets a 100% import duty slapped on them for 3 months.

For software, we have the NBN. How hard would it be for them to offer free VPN endpoints/proxies? Many software providers also have a physical presence. A fine on the local corporation as well as an import duty is probably possible.

The gouging is so bad, I fully expect that I could fly to Europe, buy everything I want to fit out my new house, ship it back and still save a whole stack of cash. I looked at plugs the other day in Bunnings (B&Q type shop) - $4.95 each. Last time I looked in the UK, they were 99p for a far more robust and complex affair, including a fuse.

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Bronze badge

Said it before...

...if companies are allowed to shop around the world for cheaper manufacturing and outsourcing, why aren't we allowed to do the same for goods and services?

Goose, meet Gander.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

WTO WTF now

so the WTO which is so ready to trash local industries to support multinationals does not have this as mandatory behaviour for the US and european companies ? Oh wait, who owns the pollies ? Companies and NGOs who want unlimited funding for their profit and fear funding.

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Alert

what can it do ? Plenty

The govt. can do plenty. It's a sovereign for gods sake. As an example, it can impose FRAND conditions on anyone selling (legally) into the country. Whether it will do so knowing that such a stance is likely to piss off the US and cause the ambassador to have to make another 'regime change' (what's Mark Abib up to these days, I wonder ?), is another matter altogether.

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Anonymous Coward

Forget Adobe... Autodesk *double* pricing for their products...

If you reckon Adobe's pricing for non-US products is steep, take a look at Autodesk.

Australian pricing for any of their products is generally about 180% of the US version. (close to double)

Since most of their products are in the US$3-5k range, this royally screws over every Aussie who needs to use their products.

Friggin Arseholes. :(

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Re: Forget Adobe... Autodesk *double* pricing for their products...

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=1045559

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Anonymous Coward

Information wants to be free,

Commercial services want to be paid for.

It is a question promoting competition, and restricting/regulating the development of monopolies.

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Copyright, distributors

The digital amendments to the Copyright Act made international price discrimination more certain, as it made circumventing geolocking software possibily criminal (It's complex if it is or not, as it depends very much if a court believes that the technical protection measure exists *only* for price discrimination. If the court rules that there's an anti-piracy element to the digital protection measure then circumventing the TPM is criminal.)

The other reason for high costs in Australia is price gouging by distributors. These companies often have exclusive agreements with producers, and then use that exclusitivity to charge monopoly prices. That's the essential reason why software in vertical markets costs so much more in Australia (and also the reason for the high price of car and bicycle parts).

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Silver badge

Only double?

I recall some disties charging 6 times the us price... then getting upset when we went direct.

Back in the 90s you could fly business class from Auckland or Sydney to SF or LA, spend a week in a top hotel, buy top end Mac kit, fly home, pay all duty, tax etc and still save a wodge of cash over local pricing.

Unsurprisingly, many did.

Thankfully the NZ govt saw sense and stomped on companies (chrysler) trying to use copyright or other inanity to stomp on grey market importing of cars. It's proved somewhat harder to deal with the Book cartels (tech books sold in NZ/AUS often retailed for 12 times US bookstore prices, even fiction was 3-4 times the USA pricing - and who wants to buy a US/UK magazine that's 8 months out of date for 4 times the US/UK cover price?)

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