In the midst of the IT pricing inquiry major offenders Apple, Microsoft and Adobe have been reluctant to speak to the Committee handling the inquiry to explain themselves. As a result of this all three companies have now been summonsed to speak at a public hearing on March 22 in Canberra to answer questions regarding the increased pricing of its technology in Australia.
In short: this means that if all three companies do not send representatives to the hearing there will be direct legal consequences.
Ed Husic, IT pricing's Harvey Dent, welcomed the move but claimed its one they government shouldn't have been forced to make.
"These firms should have cooperated and been prepared to be more open and transparent about their pricing approaches," he said.
"In what’s probably the first time anywhere in the world, these IT firms are now being summonsed by the Australian Parliament to explain why they price their products so much higher in Australia compared to the US.
"Adobe, Apple and Microsoft are just a few firms that have continually defied the public’s call for answers and refused to appear before the IT Pricing Inquiry.
"While television and computer prices fell 14 per cent according the to the latest Consumer Price Index Figures, there’s still a long way to go – with some estimates suggesting that Australian prices are up to 60 per cent higher than the US.
"Given the widespread use of IT across businesses and the community, the prices paid for hardware and software can have a major commercial and economic impact.
"Getting downward movement on IT prices and easing the bite of price discrimination should be an important micro-economic priority – so I’m looking forward to hearing from these firms about their pricing approaches."
It'll be interesting to hear specifically how all three companies defend their practices — particularly with regards to the pricing of digital products. Considering the amount of publishers that artificially raise prices on services like Steam for Australian consumers, hopefully these summons represent a very real attempt by the Australian government to take IT companies to task on unfair pricing policies.