Apple and other technology companies will soon have to answer the Australian Parliament as to why content from iTunes costs more for Australian consumers than United States consumers. The Sydney Morning Herald reported the Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy has now signed off on a parliamentary inquiry that will carry out sometime this year by the standing committee on infrastructure and communications from the House of Representatives.
The report noted the inquiry could extend to eBooks if evidence of price increases for Australian consumers comes to light. In July 2011, Apple cut the price of iOS apps in Australia by up to 25 percent in response to criticism from many, such as federal Labor MP Ed Husic, who raised the issue in Parliament. However, the inquiry will be the first time Apple is asked by Parliament to explain its pricing strategies for the Australian market. The issue surfaced once again last week with the release of Adobe’s latest software suite, which costs up to $1,400 more for Australians.
Husic also raised similar pricing complaints over Apple’s hardware products, which is something that the Brazilian market is experiencing today with the release of the new Apple TV:
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“In very broad terms, for example, and taking into account taxes and currency variations, it turned out that the 13-inch (33cm) MacBook Pro costs $1399 here and $1218 in the US, the 17-inch MacBook Pro costs $2899 here and $2700 in the US, and the 8-gigabyte iPod Touch costs $289 here and $247 in the US,” Mr Husic said.
Today, the new 1080p Apple TV, which launched alongside the new iPad in March, officially became available for purchase in Brazil. Unfortunately, consumers are finding out they will have to pay approximately $211 for the device that retails for $99 in the U.S. and elsewhere, as noted by TNW. We know from past iPhone launches and other products that Apple typically charges much more for the same device in Brazil compared to the U.S. and many other markets.
Australia’s Federal Labor politicians hope the inquiry will eventually lead to companies agreeing to drop the prices of apps in the country and match those offered to U.S. consumers. There is no word whether the price of hardware will be brought up when Apple addresses Parliament. Apple has not responded to the parliamentary inquiry.