Government Plans To Subpoena Major Tech Companies Over Australian Pricing

In Parliament today, the IT Pricing Inquiry reported back on the state of pricing in Australia, and discussed its disappointment with major tech distributors in this country. According to Paul Neville, the Deputy Chair of the committee, there has been a general “reluctance” amongst tech companies to engage and discuss issues surrounding price, to the extent that the committee is now planning to Subpoena major tech companies in Australia.

“They have been difficult,” said Neville. “There seems to be reluctance to get involved in the enquiry even after direct request.

“We’re not going to accept that and we expect a better level of commitment from the industry.”

Neville stated he was reluctant to use the committee’s power of subpoena, but there was a catch-22 situation. The committee has been asked to report back on the issue of price, but very few companies are willing to discuss it openly.

According to the committee, many of the excuses being used by major tech companies — such as the geographical position of Australia relative to the rest of the Western world — are no longer acceptable, particularly when it comes to digitally distributed products. At this point, claimed Neville, we should be “taking a firm stand on it”.

Neville also took aim at the act of geo-blocking, a practice he called “unacceptable”.

Hopefully this will — at the very least — force local tech distributors to open up, with regards to their local pricing policies.

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