On Thursday, we covered a story that was centered around price differences between the American market and Australian market, where three companies – Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) — were asked to answer questions on how they set their prices in the region, which for many products can run a 50 percent (or more) premium over the same product in U.S.
A special committee was formed in the Australian parliament to investigate the matter, and after accusing the three companies noted above of stonewalling the investigation, the companies are beginning to come forward. Initially, Microsoft and Adobe sent written statements in request for questioning, and Apple failed to communicate with the panel at all.
Now, Apple has stepped forward, and placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of “old-fashioned” record labels, film studios, and TV networks for the artificially high prices that Australian consumers must contend with. “Unapologetic,” an album by American artist Rhianna, sells for $23.98 in U.S. dollars in Australia on iTunes, compared with the $15.99 asking price on this side of the Pacific. At a premium of 49 percent, that’s a large hike — but far less than the 70 percent hike that AC/DC’s “Back in Black” is running for, CNBC reported.
“The content industry still runs with perhaps old-fashioned notions of country borders or territories or markets,” said Tony King, vice president for Apple Australia, New Zealand and South Asia, adding that Apple had pushed content owners for lower Australian pricing.