Microsoft Australia managing director Pip Marlow and Adobe Australia managing director Paul Robson struggled to convince MPs that doing business in Australia justified charging up to 70% more. When they pointed to the more appropriately price subscription versions of their software, Labor MP Stephen Jones suggested that moving to subscriptions was like placing "digital handcuffs" on users.
Apple Australia boss Tony King displaced the blame for higher prices on the "old-fashioned notions" of record labels, movie studios and TV networks.
"The pricing of this digital content is based on the wholesale prices which are set through negotiated contracts with the record labels, movie studios and TV networks," said Mr King. "In Australia, they have often set a higher wholesale price than the price of similar content in the United States."
According to King, "the content industry still runs with perhaps old-fashioned notions of country borders or territories or markets" which "creates confusion for customers". However, he also said that the price of digital content sold on iTunes in Australia was "comparable to other Australian physical and online stores".
Consumer group Choice examined more than 200 products and found Australians pay on average 50% more than American customers. For example, an AC/DC album costs 70% on iTunes Australia and Adobe CS6 Design and Web Premium costs $3175 in Australia compared to $A1899 ($A1820) in the U.S.