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Season Finale: AusGamers Weekly Wrap-Up
AusGamers presents a hands-on report of the third major game in the 'World of' series from Wargaming, World of Tanks.
World of Warships Hands-On Preview
We take a look at the latest mobile gaming setup from GAEMS to see just how useful it is.
Tech Tuesday - GAEMS Vanguard Black Edition Review
We chat with 343 Industries about Halo 5: Guardians and the upcoming multiplayer beta!
343 Industries Talks Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta
Federal Government forces Apple, Microsoft and Adobe to testify in p...
Damo
Brisbane, Queensland
6401 posts
APPLE, Adobe and Microsoft have been summonsed to appear before the Government's inquiry into the price of consumer electronics.

Until now the tech giants have refused to publicly front the IT pricing inquiry but today the federal government subpoenaed the companies, forcing them to explain why Australians have to pay so much more for goods than their US and UK customers.

The companies will appear before the House Committee on March 22 at 9.30am to explain themselves and answer questions raised by consumer watchdog Choice and ACMA.


http://www.news.com.au/technology/biztech/apple-microsoft-and-adobe-forced-to-testify-before-parliaments-it-pricing-inquiry/story-fn5lic6c-1226575424795
02:35pm 11/02/13 Permalink
system
Internet
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02:35pm 11/02/13 Permalink
Tollaz0r!
Brisbane, Queensland
13331 posts
Sweet, I wonder how those 3 will spin their stories on this one?
02:41pm 11/02/13 Permalink
Raven
Melbourne, Victoria
7658 posts
"Additional costs of operating in Australia", I bet. And the luddites will just gobble it up, give them a pat on the back and send them on their way.
02:45pm 11/02/13 Permalink
fpot
Gold Coast, Queensland
22226 posts
It's the carbon tax.
02:47pm 11/02/13 Permalink
thermite
Brisbane, Queensland
10758 posts
Does it really matter what they say?

Seriously if they go "how come your s*** is so $$$ in australia?"

Adobe: "because"


what are they gonna do....
02:48pm 11/02/13 Permalink
Dazhel
Gold Coast, Queensland
5681 posts
Adobe: "because"
what are they gonna do....


Contempt of parliament? (Off with their heads!)
02:56pm 11/02/13 Permalink
Raven
Melbourne, Victoria
7659 posts
Slap them with a new law that puts massive fines on price gouging.
02:56pm 11/02/13 Permalink
qmass
Queensland
10513 posts
what are they gonna do....
hopefully they throw your ass in jail and lose the key so we don't have to hear from you any more.
02:57pm 11/02/13 Permalink
Pinky
Melbourne, Victoria
13901 posts
Is there a law which states you cannot sell product X in one country for $1 and in another country for $2?

If so, I'm not familiar with it.
05:03pm 11/02/13 Permalink
simul
Brisbane, Queensland
1509 posts
Is there a law which states you cannot sell product X in one country for $1 and in another country for $2?


Nope, otherwise everyone would be out of business. This is never seen as a problem for physical items (shipping+local tax is justifiable), downloads is the issue (especially in situations where you can save money just from supplying a different address/VPN).
05:45pm 11/02/13 Permalink
simul
Brisbane, Queensland
1510 posts
CBF editing the above post. I'm quite shocked Adobe is on the list. Unless they are going after the tiny market of Creative Suite users (at which point why not go after Autodesk, Sony, Valve, Amazon).
05:49pm 11/02/13 Permalink
deadlyf
Queensland
2953 posts
Is there a law which states you cannot sell product X in one country for $1 and in another country for $2?

If so, I'm not familiar with it.
Pretty sure the point of the inquiry is to work out if the price disparity exists, if it's justifiable and if not is there anything the Government can or should do about it.

While it might not be illegal now, the Government certainly can take measures to make it illegal or promote legal options for circumvention of regional pricing.
05:53pm 11/02/13 Permalink
Nukleuz
Perth, Western Australia
268 posts
They might have them over a barrel with the FTA that was signed between the US and AUS. I might have a sketchy memory but I believe one of the perks for us was unrestricted access to (digital) US store fronts.

Adobe's argument for us not accessing the US digital store was that it would create a rift between them and their AUS supplier because they would not be able to sell it for the same price (utter bulls*** of course).
07:46pm 11/02/13 Permalink
HerbalLizard
Brisbane, Queensland
5713 posts
Personally I think this has next to nothing to do with consumer pricing and all to do with taxing the f*** out of them.

"While they generated $6 billion in revenue, they apparently racked up ... $5.5 billion in costs. How?" Mr Husic told parliament.

"They do not manufacture here. They have no factories here.

"They have got a growing number of retail outlets ... but surely those outlets do not cost $5.5 billion to maintain".


http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/husic-takes-aim-at-apples-tax-bill/story-fn3dxiwe-1226572043318
08:16pm 11/02/13 Permalink
copuis
Brisbane, Queensland
3741 posts
as far as I can tell, it is only the software arms that have been screwing us over of late

their hardware deptment has pulled it's head in, and it they line up alot better than they used to, which I think has more to do with internet shopping and the fact that a quick trip to asia netted cheap products
03:08am 12/02/13 Permalink
parabol
Brisbane, Queensland
7464 posts
I actually want to buy Photoshop. I'm just raging so hard at the regional pricing that I can't get myself to throw money away like that.

Price difference of a digital copy of CS6 from the Adobe online store when purchasing from:

Australia = 1062.00AUD (1091.00USD)
U.S. = 699.00USD

A 56% mark-up. What the f***!
03:24am 12/02/13 Permalink
sLaps_Forehead
Brisbane, Queensland
6271 posts
hmmm does adobe actually consider that if they priced their products in Oz parity to the US with say +10% that they might actually make more money with a higher sales volume.

08:42am 12/02/13 Permalink
Crusher
Sydney, New South Wales
1242 posts
Sounds like they need to implement a silicon tax
08:53am 12/02/13 Permalink
ara
Sydney, New South Wales
3583 posts
$5.5 billion in costs. How?" Mr Husic told parliament.


this is easy, they pay their company that is based in some tax free country licensing fees for use of their logos and other trademarks. those licensing fees can be set as whatever since it is just internal money where by reducing their local profit and therefore tax they have to pay locally as it is a cost of doing business.
09:51am 12/02/13 Permalink
dais
Brisbane, Queensland
10817 posts
I actually want to buy Photoshop. I'm just raging so hard at the regional pricing that I can't get myself to throw money away like that.


I bought the download recently. If this changes things I better get a partial refund!
01:46pm 12/02/13 Permalink
Damo
Brisbane, Queensland
6403 posts
Dont forget with photoshop general public pays $900-$1000 while students only have to pay $2-300 which alone is outrageous. Exact same piece of software anywhere around the world yet we pay more than anyone else.
04:33pm 12/02/13 Permalink
Whoop
Brisbane, Queensland
21358 posts
^^ That's what I don't get. I'd understand if the student version was time limited to say 4 years, so once you'd finished your course you had to then pay for the full version.
I actually want to buy Photoshop. I'm just raging so hard at the regional pricing that I can't get myself to throw money away like that.Price difference of a digital copy of CS6 from the Adobe online store when purchasing from:Australia = 1062.00AUD (1091.00USD)U.S. = 699.00USDA 56% mark-up. What the f***!

Same here. Two things are holding me back from getting the latest version so I can actually edit photos from my camera properly. 1) the price 2) them treating me like a criminal with their online activation s***. So for the foreseeable future I'll be sticking with lightroom.
06:52pm 12/02/13 Permalink
parabol
Brisbane, Queensland
7466 posts
I'd understand if the student version was time limited to say 4 years,

The idea is that students generally would buy the software at the start or middle of their degrees. After graduation they can continue to use it for non-commercial use. After 4 years though, the software will be fairly out of date and may not support the latest plugins / RAW files, etc...

Also if they want to start using it at work, they'll have to ditch it and buy a proper commercial license anyway. Which is my situation.
them treating me like a criminal with their online activation s***

I don't like it, but it's still easily circumventable by redirecting their activation servers to localhost via the hosts file. My legit .edu copy is set up like that as I don't want it phoning adobe for no reason.
07:16pm 12/02/13 Permalink
hardware
Brisbane, Queensland
10467 posts
US software giant Adobe has bowed to public pressure and slashed the price of some of its products for Australian customers a day after being ordered to front a parliamentary committee hearing in Canberra.


http://www.afr.com/p/technology/adobe_cuts_australian_prices_after_BgBXyFaCrXRGNIrS1M2fNN

Typical greedy corporation sucking consumers of every last cent they can for as long as they can.
07:16pm 12/02/13 Permalink
Thundercracker
Brisbane, Queensland
3286 posts
Typical greedy corporation sucking consumers of every last cent they can for as long as they can.


Pretty much. Unless there is a compelling reason for them to reduce prices, why would they?
07:24pm 12/02/13 Permalink
kos
Germany
2489 posts
God, by the way they're acting anyone would think these companies exist for no other reason than to make money...
07:39pm 12/02/13 Permalink
parabol
Brisbane, Queensland
7467 posts
God, by the way they're acting anyone would think these companies exist for no other reason than to make money..

You make it sound like running a business is a license to shaft as many people as possible, and that it's impossible to survive any other way.
07:58pm 12/02/13 Permalink
dais
Brisbane, Queensland
10819 posts
Son of a b**** I should have read about the inquiry and waited. I've hardly used it since I bought it.
11:31pm 12/02/13 Permalink
BOOST
Brisbane, Queensland
554 posts
God, by the way they're acting anyone would think these companies exist for no other reason than to make money...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_ethics

Does this mean we will stop getting shafted on car prices as well?
10:28am 13/02/13 Permalink
foolix
Brisbane, Queensland
151 posts
Does this mean we will stop getting shafted on car prices as well?
Can only dream of getting a new 3 series at USA prices, i.e. cheaper than a commodore.
11:33am 13/02/13 Permalink
eski
Perth, Western Australia
1389 posts
If these companies are overcharging, then why hasn't some enterprising businessperson set up a store that charges less?
12:01pm 13/02/13 Permalink
greazy
Brisbane, Queensland
5756 posts
If these companies are overcharging, then why hasn't some enterprising businessperson set up a store that charges less?

All 3 companies have specific contracts that state where you can resell their product. If they find out you're being a middle man, for example Selling cheap Adobe products to Australians, they will stop providing you with any product.

This is a really good step forward. The science community is getting shafted when it comes to reagents and consumables. We up double or triple for plastic products compared to the US.
01:00pm 13/02/13 Permalink
kos
Germany
2490 posts
You make it sound like running a business is a license to shaft as many people as possible, and that it's impossible to survive any other way.

No, I make it sound exactly how it is. These companies exist for no other reason than to make money. If there are less than ethical things they can do to make more money that are still within the bounds of the law, then it doesn't surprise me one bit that some/most are doing those things.

In England recently they were questioning/shaming a few multinationals over tax avoidance, but anything that tries to shame companies into being nice and paying tax that they can technically/legally avoid is a band-aid solution if ever I've heard one.

Seems like they need to fix their laws (or international laws? I'm no economist) so tax payment obligations don't include a "please be nice... please?" component.
12:27am 14/02/13 Permalink
simul
Brisbane, Queensland
1514 posts
The other thing to remember is that US prices don't include tax because they are state-based - generally add 10% to any written price.

This is what Australians always whine about with regards to buying Apple hardware, till they get to the US and then get lumped with an extra few $100 on top of their purchase.

These companies exist for no other reason than to make money.


Companies exist for no other reason than to make money.


Fixed
08:59am 14/02/13 Permalink
skythra
Brisbane, Queensland
6374 posts
I like Simu's tax calculations, the 10% tax on a 600 dollar item is a 'extra few' $100. I don't even, what?

How's up to 60% more expensive in Australia compare up to the 12% depending on state? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sales_taxes_in_the_United_States#Summary_table
09:51am 14/02/13 Permalink
FaceMan
Brisbane, Queensland
9901 posts
Now its Drugs:

http://resources1.news.com.au/images/2013/02/14/1226578/165845-pharmacy.jpg

AUSTRALIANS are paying ten times more than the British for the top eight prescription medicines and taxpayers could save $1.2 billion a year if we matched their prices.

New analysis by Melbourne University Economist Philip Clarke has found taxpayers are big losers because our government is paying $1.37 per tablet for the nation's No.1 selling medicine atorvastatin while in the UK it costs just 12c per tablet.


Read more: http://www.news.com.au/news/pbs-pays-12b-over-odds/story-fnehlez2-1226578152637#ixzz2KsyDNNIx

Fair shake of the sauce bottle !

02:00am 15/02/13 Permalink
redhat
Sydney, New South Wales
898 posts
Now its Drugs


We get screwed on clothes too. It's cheaper to import jocks and socks yourself. Not to mention jeans, shoes.
08:44am 15/02/13 Permalink
BOOST
Brisbane, Queensland
555 posts
Can only dream of getting a new 3 series at USA prices, i.e. cheaper than a commodore.


This issue is gaining momentum so we can only hope
08:54am 15/02/13 Permalink
crazymorton
Brisbane, Queensland
3903 posts
Now its Drugs


If you want cheap drugs, head over to your local footy club for some "going out of business" sales.
09:00am 15/02/13 Permalink
Trauma
Melbourne, Victoria
3098 posts
This is pretty funny, squirm more plz.

02:30pm 15/02/13 Permalink
Nitro
Gold Coast, Queensland
2248 posts
Businesses should sell their products at whatever price they like. If they are selling over priced products then logic would suggest that competitors would pop up, creating their own software products that provided more value to customers.

Putting companies before a panel to make them lower their prices is not going to do Australia any favors.

Each company will simply describe the price elasticity of the products; that is, how the % change in price affects the % change in the quantity that is sold.
03:11pm 15/02/13 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
36727 posts
Businesses should sell their products at whatever price they like.
Consumers should be able to buy products in one region if they are being sold there cheaper than in another region. Right?
03:21pm 15/02/13 Permalink
ara
Sydney, New South Wales
3586 posts
Consumers should be able to buy products in one region if they are being sold there cheaper than in another region. Right?


This.

I think it is fair for companies to charge what they want, but not fair to region lock their products and/or websites where you can buy said products or go after companies/people that remove or tell you how to remove said restrictions.

Also, time for gov.au to start looking at the PBS scheme and pushing big pharma around for their crazy regional prices. Start looking at expiring their patents or approving imports of brand name versions.
03:28pm 15/02/13 Permalink
deadlyf
Queensland
2955 posts
Australia is too small a market for competitors to simply popup for. If Adobe are competitive in all the markets that matter but not in a few small areas, what business is going to spend billions on R&D with the plan to be competitive in the minority of the marketplace?

Not only that but creative arts is an international market, many ad campaigns in Australia for example are completed by foreign companies who have the edge over local competitors with access to cheaper software and technology. It's not only making it difficult for local companies to compete with foreign for local jobs but makes it difficult for local companies to compete on the international market.

This doesn't just go for Adobe and the creative industries either, there are any number of areas where Australian business is suffering due to this. If we don't want to be a country reliant on our resources to stay afloat then we need to be competitive on a world stage in other areas.

Hell the drugs alone are apparently worth more than a billion dollars to the Australian tax payer, that could be money wasted elsewhere!
03:31pm 15/02/13 Permalink
Dan
Special Text
Brisbane, Queensland
14106 posts
Exactly, the problem isn't that they're charging what they think consumers will pay, but that when they price products differently on their online stores they are blatantly discriminating against people based on the country they are connecting from --a cost which is irrelevant to them.

From the perspective of the au gov, this is a problem because it means the cost is higher to outfit a business in Australia with the same software as one in other territories, which limits the ability for Australian businesses to compete in the global marketplace, where things like Photoshop and Office are essentially monopolistic.

As these are all overseas companies operating offshore storefronts, there's realistically very little our gov can do directly outside of naming and shaming.

One thing they could try however, is legitimise all manner of region locking circumvention, and force local branches to honour international warrantees etc if they want to continue to have a local presence.
03:34pm 15/02/13 Permalink
Raven
Melbourne, Victoria
7671 posts
AUSTRALIANS are paying ten times more than the British for the top eight prescription medicines and taxpayers could save $1.2 billion a year if we matched their prices.


For pharmaceuticals it's easily solved: Products must fall within a certain price range, or your patents on it are invalid. Go nuts, generic/knock-off manufacturers.
03:47pm 15/02/13 Permalink
Nitro
Gold Coast, Queensland
2249 posts
Consumers should be able to buy products in one region if they are being sold there cheaper than in another region. Right?


For digital goods yes, I agree with that.

By my understandings (correct me if I'm wrong), if I buy a copy of Windows 8 in the US I won't have any issues using it Australia.
05:55pm 15/02/13 Permalink
Spook
Brisbane, Queensland
35164 posts
Now its Drugs:


and even propper durgs, like coke and pingers.

is there nothing that we cant be gouged on!

and its totally disgraceful that if you try and order durgs form overseas, customs will stop them coming into the country (somtimes)

what are we suppsoed to do? pay full price for australian durgs!?

OUTRAGEOUS!
06:02pm 15/02/13 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
36730 posts
By my understandings (correct me if I'm wrong), if I buy a copy of Windows 8 in the US I won't have any issues using it Australia.
That is, by reports that I've read, wrong if you're talking about Adobe software. Part of this whole shebang has been stories from people who bought Adobe software from the US to use in .au and got pwned when Adobe found out about it (I don't know if those stories have been confirmed but there are enough of them that are consistent that it rings true to me)
06:07pm 15/02/13 Permalink
FaceMan
Brisbane, Queensland
9906 posts
You cant have Free Trade destroying local businesses then allow these grubby parasites to operate a closed shop.
If i can by cheap clothes from China why cant i buy cheap software from America ?

08:59pm 15/02/13 Permalink
Whoop
Brisbane, Queensland
21379 posts
Part of this whole shebang has been stories from people who bought Adobe software from the US to use in .au and got pwned when Adobe found out about it (I don't know if those stories have been confirmed but there are enough of them that are consistent that it rings true to me)
and they wonder why their products are one of the most pirated ever. Just give everyone the same damn access. If they can afford to give it away to students for a couple of hundred bucks, they can damn well afford it for everyone.
09:37pm 15/02/13 Permalink
WirlWind
Central Coast, New South Wales
542 posts
and they wonder why their products are one of the most pirated ever. Just give everyone the same damn access. If they can afford to give it away to students for a couple of hundred bucks, they can damn well afford it for everyone.


But then their CEO will have to survive with only 2 yachts...

ONLY 2! Won't someone PLEASE think of the poor executives! He's probably only had 2 holidays this year as well!
10:46pm 15/02/13 Permalink
HurricaneJim
Brisbane, Queensland
1331 posts
But then their CEO will have to survive with only 2 yachts...ONLY 2! Won't someone PLEASE think of the poor executives! He's probably only had 2 holidays this year as well!


Yeah he might also take a cut in pay from $10k per hour to $9.5k per hour! What an injustice....
11:43pm 15/02/13 Permalink
infi
Brisbane, Queensland
19510 posts
they charge double because they can. mind = blown
11:58pm 15/02/13 Permalink
euphoria
Gold Coast, Queensland
2081 posts
Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate: $19,274 AUD source and $13,299 USD source
01:52pm 16/02/13 Permalink
parabol
Brisbane, Queensland
7472 posts
Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate: $19,274 AUD source and $13,299 USD source

Converting to USD and dividing, that's exactly 50% extra.

They can go on about operating costs, but if the costs don't change with the exchange rate then their argument is easily broken.

Regarding Adobe, their retail (non-Cloud) copies haven't changed in price. If they ever do, it will have to be from the next version onwards - as too many official .au resellers already have the expensive copies purchased and on the shelves and can't be shafted ...
02:23pm 16/02/13 Permalink
Obes
Brisbane, Queensland
9938 posts
As long as Australia media outlets continue to review regionally priced products and give them good ratings and make nothing of the regional pricing we are going to continue to be bent over.

Anytime we are getting regionally price f***ed, any local review should encourage grey market or creative ways to get the real market price. Even better give detailed instructions on how to beat the system.

And local retailers should be strongly encouraged to parallel import.
03:47pm 16/02/13 Permalink
parabol
Brisbane, Queensland
7473 posts
As long as Australia media outlets continue to review regionally priced products

Vendor lock-in makes a vendor mostly immune to reviews. Well the most it can do is make a business, entity or person stick to their old version for a while longer until whatever issue they object to is [hopefully] resolved. But eventually they'll have to upgrade regardless of whether this occurs or not.

(And yes, vendor lock-in is real. Try using LibreOffice instead of MS office for any serious company work and you'll have lots of angry clients / coworkers complaining about incompatibility with your formatting/files)
And local retailers should be strongly encouraged to parallel import.

Have a read of this slashdot post:
Adobe closed off their international sales for several weeks while they reviewed their international pricing, right as we needed to bring on more people for a new project. After a few weeks of being told we'd be able to buy more licenses any day now, we sent someone to the US to buy a couple of retail copies so we could at least have new people doing more than just surfing the net. Within 24 hours of installing the US boxed copies we had Adobe on the phone demanding to know why our company was running pirated copies of their software, and threatening to revoke *all* of our licenses if we didn't remove them immediately. Turns out they consider running a US boxed copy in a foreign country as a breach of contract and will cut you off. Eventually they had to admit that we had been trying, continuously, to buy a copy from them, and agreed to let us continue until their online store reopened so we could replace the copies we were running.

Then you read Photoshop's license agreement:
Adobe grants Customer a non-exclusive and limited license to install and use the Software (a)in the territory or region where Customer obtains the Software from Adobe or Adobe’s authorized reseller or as otherwise stated in the Documentation (“Territory”),

So in summary. for home use no one will care, and as far as you're concerned you've paid "fairly" and can sleep well at night. But start using a few parallel imported copies behind a static business IP from your company office and there's a good chance you'll get audited and will be in the wrong legally for not following the license agreement.
04:14pm 16/02/13 Permalink
Obes
Brisbane, Queensland
9939 posts
and will be in the wrong legally for not following the license agreement.

Bring it on... FTA

Here is a super simple solution pass a law a that makes any regionally priced software product ok to "pirate" in Australia...

Watch how fast Adobe and MS work out the USD to AUD $ conversion.
11:37pm 16/02/13 Permalink
Whoop
Brisbane, Queensland
21393 posts
So in summary. for home use no one will care, and as far as you're concerned you've paid "fairly" and can sleep well at night. But start using a few parallel imported copies behind a static business IP from your company office and there's a good chance you'll get audited and will be in the wrong legally for not following the license agreement.

What happens if your ISP uses a transparent proxy and Adobe only see that IP when their licencing checker checks your license?

That's one of my main concerns, what if I pay $2000 for photoshop (or whatever it is) and all is fine and dandy, but one day for some reason, all of a sudden adobe goes nup, must be pirated, no license for you. What the hell then? On the phone for 4 hours to their tech support staff?

I had that happen to my laptop with windows. One day it just goes nup, this version of windows is pirated, f*** off and buy a copy. Then a little while later it goes oh sorry, it's genuine after all.

F*** all this constant online checking bulls***. Why do paying customers always get treated like criminals, while actual criminals don't feel one damn bit of any of it because all that crap gets ripped out of pirated versions?
04:38am 17/02/13 Permalink
WirlWind
Central Coast, New South Wales
546 posts
Why do paying customers always get treated like criminals, while actual criminals don't feel one damn bit of any of it because all that crap gets ripped out of pirated versions?


Because the people who make that decision are stupid old marketing types who are getting yelled at by the share holders and so they do this in hopes of appeasing them. They don't really care that it doesn't work and costs a decent chunk of money to implement because it keeps the stock holders in check.

Until enough consumers say "F*** you and your DRM bulls***" and stop buying the products, they'll just keep doing it because it's something that's just expected to happen now. If the big devs pulled DRM out, the stock holders would flip s*** before anyone could actually explain that it's more harmful than good.

Sadly, I doubt either of those things will ever happen to the majority. It'll just keep getting harder to use legit software and meanwhile we'll have to download pirated versions of our games so we can play them without interruption. (I've had a few where they wouldn't work installed legit, so had to pirate.)
12:32pm 17/02/13 Permalink
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