Apple, Microsoft, Adobe summonsed to appear before IT pricing inquiry

The companies have been summonsed to appear in Canberra 22 March for a public hearing.

Apple, Microsoft and Adobe have all been summonsed to appear before a parliamentary inquiry into IT pricing, following months of wrangling to get the companies to appear before the committee.

The IT pricing inquiry is currently looking into whether Australians pay for software and hardware.

All three companies have been lambasted by the committee for not fronting up to public hearings, with MP Ed Husic stating the committee would be looking to take a firmer line with the companies following their refusal to appear at a hearing in July last year.

“This is an important move – but one we shouldn’t have to take,” Husic said in a statement about today's summons.

“These firms should have co-operated and been prepared to be more open and transparent about their pricing approaches.”

Nick Champion, committee chair, told parliament in October that while Apple made a confidential submission to the committee, it has refused to appear before it.

Champion said Adobe has offered to appear before the committee, but only on the proviso that other companies also do the same.

Today Adobe said it “will co-operate with the committee as we have done since the inquiry began,” an Adobe spokesperson told Computerworld Australia.

Microsoft has also made a submission, but Champion said it was unwilling to front the committee “and [has] proposed alternative contributions instead”.

Matthew Rimmer, associate professor at Australian National University, said the 'fair IT' movement was becoming a significant political issue which could no longer be ignored.

“Adobe, Apple and Microsoft can no long hide under a 'cloak of invisibility' on this issue and shun the Australian parliament,” he said.

In October last year, Adobe told Computerworld Australia it was considering appearing before the parliamentary hearing following claims by Husic that the committee would consider issuing a subpoena to force the company to appear.

Suzanne Campbell, CEO of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), has told the inquiry that vendors do not set retail prices. Instead, channel partners and content and rights owners are responsible for setting prices, she said.

However, Matt Levey, head of campaigns at Choice, has said there are statements by industry which don’t “stack up”.

The companies have been summonsed to appear in Canberra 22 March for a public hearing.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Tags Nick ChampionAppleMicrosoftadobeEd HusicAustralian Information Industry Association (AIIA)

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Industry Observer


Wouldn't it be nice if , one day, Australian owned firms had a level playing field on which to compete for Government and Industry ICT business ?
Perhaps everyone could pay their proper tax, and charge fair prices, - that might change the revenue and profit mix.

IT Observer


Let's see if this is a good approach or just a political circus to grab the attention of the public.
All software sold here is overpriced, the excuses of the main players is almost same, productions costs (!?)
Most of the disc manufacturing facilities are located somewhere in singapore, Malaysia and other asian countries; the cost is dirty cheap, because is the disc only that matters, all the documentation is included on the media as PDF file(s), a fancy big box is all what it takes to make believe the production costs are expensive so is easy to justify the big price.
If there could be good intentions to regulate the prices on the software being sold here this is wellcome decision.
The other aspects that should be taken into account is the "piracy" scenario, many people download or buy pirated software that is essential for everyday use, they don't care about the risks.
It's imperative to incentivate these people to get the genuine software to a price they can afford, as the access to software is fundamental for everyday tasks.
With a better price is possible to tackle those bad elements that take opportunity on needy and vulnerable people; to reach this goal there must be a consensus by all sotware makers to set aside high profits and focus on a sector that is being forgotten and never being given a better choice.

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