Microsoft's Aussie charade day

Down in Australia, software companies acted out a little play with politicians

In Australia’s capital, the local leaders of software giants like Microsoft, Adobe and Apple got together with politicians to act out a little play. It was all under the guise of a ‘parliamentary enquiry‘ but it was a scripted and predicable as anything you’ll see on the legitimate stage.

As we suggested a few weeks ago, the representatives of software companies trotted out the usual excuses for higher prices compared to the USA. Apple said “”differences between countries in product costs, freight charges, local sales taxes, levies, import duties, channel economics, competition and local laws regarding advertised prices”. They didn’t include on the list things like the relative position of the sun and moon or Jennifer Aniston’s latest hairstyle – but might as well have done.

Aussie politicians, in an election year, pretended outrage and prepared sound bites for the media.

The reason for the price difference, in Australia or any other country, is simple: companies charge the highest price they think the market will bear.

The companies know this, only the most dim politician doesn’t know it. So they act out this little public performance from time to time.

For Office 2013, even a generous calculation shows price hikes of up to 30% in Australia.

In most countries, Microsoft Office gets more expensive (compared to the US price) as the product gets more specialized and expensive. There are many reasons for this, but mainly it’s reasoned that specialized and complex software is more likely to be a corporate purchase so there’s less resistance to paying the sticker price.

Prices will only become comparable around the globe when people stop buying overpriced product.

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