Australian Government Digs Into Tech Pricing

  • Paul Neville, Deputy Chair of the committee in charge
  • Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA)
  • Companies like Adobe, Microsoft and Apple

The Australian Government is looking into using its powers to subpoena in order to force tech companies to explain the reason for drastically different prices fo

  • Paul Neville, Deputy Chair of the committee in charge
  • Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA)
  • Companies like Adobe, Microsoft and Apple

The Australian Government is looking into using its powers to subpoena in order to force tech companies to explain the reason for drastically different prices for products in Australia – especially digital products.

Paul Neville, the Deputy Chair of the committee in charge of the inquiry, told Parliament that while undesired, using the powers of subpoena might be the only way to force tech companies to play ball and counter the obvious obstruction and evasion from these technology companies.

"Now I'm always reluctant to do that sort of thing," says Neville, "but I think the time comes when the sanctity of the parliament and what it's here to do, and when the minister asks us to look into something, and report back to this parliament, and we are deliberately frustrated, then I think we need to send out a signal that we're not going to accept that, and we expect a better level of conduct from the industry."

Earlier this year, the government launched the inquiry on pricing. However, many of the companies in question, like Adobe, Microsoft and Apple, refused to engage with the government and instead hid behind the industry body, the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA).

The AIIA refused to comment on individual companies' situations when questioned by the government about specific examples of price discrepancies for Australians. But when the companies were asked they referred back to the AIIA submission.

A subpoena could give these tech companies a nudge in the right direction, although, it is unlikely that they could be forced to shift pricing strategies without introducing new legislation.

Leave a Reply