Apple, Microsoft and Adobe accused of 'stonewalling' Australian IT pricing inquiry

By Danny Palmer
29 Oct 2012 View Comments

Apple, Microsoft and Adobe have been criticised by the Australian parliament for obstructing a committee investigation into the costs of IT products.

The IT pricing inquiry is examining why Australians pay up to 56 per cent more for technology than in the US. Despite previous representation at a hearing by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), the three firms have declined the request to appear before the committee itself.

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"The committee does detect a deep reluctance and resistance on the part of these companies to discuss these issues publicly, or to publicly defend their business models and pricing structures," said IT pricing committee Chairman Nick Champion.

"The tactic employed by the industry seems to be to give either little or limited co-operation to the committee."

The Australian Labour member for Wakefield, New South Wales, accused the industry of evading the inquiry.

"It is not good enough for the industry to simply stonewall the inquiry, or, for that matter, ignore interested consumers who have a legitimate public interest in IT pricing," he said, adding that Adobe was the only one of the three to offer co-operation, but only if Apple and Microsoft did the same.

Deputy chair of the committee Paul Neville accused the tech giants of "obstruction, avoidance and evasion", suggesting all three need to be ordered to appear before the inquiry in order to give evidence.

"We need to send out a signal that we are not going to accept [it], and we expect a better standard of conduct for the industry," said the Liberal National Party member for Hinkler, Queensland.

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