Apple Australia Chief to Meet With MP Over Pricing Disparities

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple Australia managing director Tony King has agreed to speak with Australian Member of Parliament (MP) Ed Husic about technology prices that are significantly higher in Australia than the rest of the world.

    Technology prices in general are much higher in Australia, even when accounting for exchange rates. The Australian Dollar is much stronger than it was two years ago, and now is trading higher than parity with the US Dollar. The new MacBook Air is 15% more expensive in Australia, and some software, like Adobe's CS5.5 Design Premium, is nearly 75% more expensive when accounting for currency exchange.


    According to Australian newspaper The Age, King agreed in March to speak with Parliament by July 16. That date came and went without a meeting between the MP and Apple. Angered by this snub, Husic spoke strongly against Apple on the floor of Parliament:
    He continued, saying that price discrimination occurs even when products are downloaded electronically -- such as from the Mac or iOS App Stores. Apple reduced app store pricing last month for a number of international countries to account for changes in exchange rates

    Apple has gotten in touch with MP Husic and are reportedly trying to set up a meeting between him and Tony King. Husic said that if companies refuse to be transparent with their pricing, he would ask Australia's pricing watchdog, the ACCC, to "take up the case for long-suffering consumers and carry out a formal inquiry into why these prices differ so wildly."

    However, Apple's Australian prices include a 10% Goods and Services tax. In the US, sales tax varies state-to-state and is calculated later in the process than Australia. As a result, the prices aren't as far apart, at least on hardware, as MP Husic claims. Additionally, exchange rates are constantly fluctuating and rapidly changing retail prices as currency rates change simply isn't feasible.

    The problem is real, but it seems Husic may be singling out Apple because they are a big, successful company.

    Article Link: Apple Australia Chief to Meet With MP Over Pricing Disparities
  2. iSamurai macrumors 65816


    Nov 9, 2007
    ɹǝpun uʍop 'ǝuɐqsı&#
    Can't seem to find this claim in the article.
    This is true, but the high Aussie dollar is here to stay for the long haul on current political and economic climates.
    This doesn't seem to be a reasonable assumption when he is talking about the industry as a whole and in the picture supplied he is using a MBP.

    One thing to note is that the meeting was originally scheduled in March and Apple has dropped their prices just recently. In his speech there were no price disparities given for Apple in particular.
  3. Žalgiris macrumors 6502a


    Aug 3, 2010
  4. Love macrumors 68000


    Jan 20, 2007
    Just southeast of Northwestshire
    Wirelessly posted (The Evil Device: Mozilla/5.0 (webOS/1.4.5; U; en-US) AppleWebKit/532.2 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/1.0 Safari/532.2 Pre/1.1)

    That snarky little remark at the end told me immediately that this was a Golson article.
  5. 126351 Guest

    Sep 17, 2007
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    ^ This.
  6. FlameofAnor macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2011
    It's not just Apple products...... electronics in general are REALLY expensive in Australia. I had a friend not long ago buy a Samsung 24" HDTV and it was over $800 AUS. You could've gotten the same TV in the US for half that price. IF you're not a wealthy person, I don't see how you can afford those prices.
  7. wovel macrumors 68000

    Mar 15, 2010
    Is Parliament investigating why everything costs significantly more in Australia? It is not just imported goods. Food items made in Australia cost more to buy in Australia than food items made in the US cost in the US.

    Real estate is absurdly expensive in most of Australia. The cost of living in Australia is higher then the cost of living in the US. They should also keep in mind that even digital goods cost more to bring to Australia. There is the tax, the cost of managing the tax funds and paying the tax, higher CDN rates, etc. VAT taxes add more then their 10% to the cost of product. Apple pays a minimum of 10% more to third party in their supply chain to bring items to the store. Every service they use have layers of Vat.

    Apple's business model does not offer different pricing in retail and online, therefore, buying a MBP online is impacted by the massive cost living difference between the US and Australia.
  8. the8thark macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011
    1. This politician has the balls to talk about the subject. Where so so many others just hush hush it up.

    2. Apple Australia's prices I think are quite fair. I know for the iPad1 Australia was the 2nd cheapest country to get it in after the US. Yes the fluctuating exchange rate plays a part here too.

    3. This politician singled out Apple without discussing the IT industry as a whole and it's prices

    So he had the balls to speak up. But he spoke up on a non-issue really.
  9. nutjob macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2010
    Wow, amazing that you can tell the future, but lets go by the current facts: the AUD usually trades in the 75-85 cent range, and like most financial assets tends to revert to the mean. If you think that resources will stay high (which is what is driving the AUD at the moment, along with higher interest rates), then I have a bridge to sell you.

    This is just more typical winging Australians. If you don't like the prices then don't buy the product. Apple has every right to charge whatever the market will bear. The problem isn't Apple but Australians willing to pay higher prices.

    Australia is a small market with higher costs than the much larger and more efficient US market, and Apple has to offer a fixed price against a fluctuating exchange rate so not surprising things cost more in Aus. The alternatives: import from the US, buy something cheaper, or emigrate. You can't legislate lower prices.
  10. Steve's Barber macrumors 6502a

    Jul 5, 2011
    Then *who* the hell is buying this stuff? Evidently the "common" Aussies.

    Goods are priced at what people are willing to pay. It's as simple as that. Don't get me wrong... if this were food, housing or something essential that would be different. But to protect the supposedly downtrodden from high ipod prices is ridiculous. Not to mention yet another government VAT does no good for the "common" folks it was supposedly designed to help.
  11. Žalgiris macrumors 6502a


    Aug 3, 2010
    I haven't read bigger BS than this in quite some time.
  12. Jeremy08 macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2008
    Let me're a republican, right? ;)
  13. lewi macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2011
    As whingeing pom (we're, after all, the ones with the reputation for whingeing, I think), I have to disagree with you. Unless China decides to stop expanding, the Aussie dollar is not likely to do anything other than appreciate against the USD. Frankly, with something 'real' driving it's economy, Australia is probably in a better situation than most western markets to weather the current financial turmoil.

    I imagine that you're right in saying that legislation will not protect the consumer, and that Apple can probably dictate whatever price it chooses for a market such as Australia. You miss though the point of the politician's exercise, which is that this is an exercise in politics, not legislation. By making so public a point, Mr. Husic raises the issue of 'unfair' pricing, choosing a popular (and therefore high-profile) target to make his point. Does this single out Apple? Of course. Does it therefore generate more attention? Naturally.
  14. nutjob macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2010
    I think you're the one writing BS. You haven't got a thing to say except "BS", how convincing.


    Whinging poms are endemic in Aus, but ironically, ever since the economy picked up, Australian seem to whinge far more these days.

    There's no guarantee that China will keep on expanding. they have an inflation problem and a property bubble. Add to that the fact that other countries are winding up resource production which will lower the cost of resources in the coming years. finally, China is not yet a self-sustaining economy and requires healthy export markets. If Europe and the US turn into recession, which is more than 50% likely at this point, China will suffer too.

    It was not that long ago that the AUD was 65 cents and given that a recession now may well be worse than the last one given that countries' fiscal position is weak and stimulus will not be forthcoming, I don't think it looks that great for the AUD. I sold a large AUD position not that long ago. OF course I could be wrong, but at least I've put my money where my mouth is.

    Yeah, this is a political exercise. But the question is one of prices, and complaining about prices is pointless. Either buy or don't buy. Whinging is pointless and quite frankly embarrassing.


    Nup, a liberal. You must be a Communist if you think governments can set prices in a functioning market.
  15. bennyboy34 macrumors member

    Aug 19, 2011
    We are not whinging people, but when some things are 75% more here, then you have a problem.
  16. codencis macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2011
    Oh hell NO.

    Hi, I'm an Australian.
    Yes, I do keep a koala bear as a pet and ride kangaroo to work -_-

    Hardware prices in Australia are fair.
    Software prices are not. For a digital download of, say, Final Cut Pro X:

    US$ 300 AU$ 320

    True currency conversion (US to AUD): $ 288 AUD

    Well, that's interesting, isn't it? And it isn't the only one, look for yourself.

    Australians are not whiny people, and that MP is perfectly in his rights to be p*issed of, I would be.

    That comment at the end of the article was plain b*itchy. Who do you think you are?
  17. wizard macrumors 68040

    May 29, 2003
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_5 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8L1 Safari/6533.18.5)

    What does economics have to do with being a republican? Seriously, Australia has an issue with the cost of imported goods much like Brazil and other countries I know about. Often this is the result of political desires to protect local markets and to provide political fodder to use against big corporations. While this is politics, trade issues are created and supported on both sides of the political fence.
  18. nutjob macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2010
    You say Australians are not whiney, then you whine twice. $320/1.04 * 1.1 = $317 including GST. Seems like a fair price to me.
  19. hyungsup macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2009
    So what are the europeans doing?

    Macbook Pro price in US = $1199
    Macbook Pro price in EU = €1199 = $1,726.14 (According to just now)

    pretax price for macbook pro in EU = $1,426.56

    More than $200 difference....
    I don't see why apple need to charge extra 200$ across the atlantic.
    If I had extra $10000 lying about I would buy a ticket to new york.
    Buy few macbook airs tax free.
    and sell it at a modest price of $1500.
    For few hours of work I can actually go to US for free :p
    Governments should now accept major currencies for charging VAT.
  20. teepzo macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2011
    It is easy to look at international pricing in a simplified current exchange rate situation.

    Currency moves quite quickly especially the Australian dollar, which is reported to be, one of the most traded currencies in the world.
    As such trying to set a price on any one point in time is rather difficult.
    Companies who import products into Australia will often use currency hedging. Now this adds cost. But Apple in the US would also probably use hedging for their products so its a wash.

    This means that they can set a price at a specific time and hold that price for a number of months.
    Not only do they get the benefit of a set price, the consumer also benefits by knowing that this is the price they will pay for the foreseeable future.

    Those in Australia and other parts of the world appreciate the issues we have with petrol/gas pricing where the price varies daily.

    Specifically Apple Australia tends to set its price when a new model is introduced. They prefer to keep this price the same over the time period until the next model is introduced. Now you may not agree with this strategy but it is a valid strategy, and who wants to buy when next week the price may go up or down. Also every other manufacturer does the same so to single out one in the middle of a product cycle is a little unfair.

    Headline prices are not always the price that you pay. In Australia there are often 10% discounts offered on Mac products. Stores like Myer, Dick Smith and others do this often.

    As well if you buy iTunes cards from local retailers, like target and Woolworths you will sometimes get discounts up to 33%.

    Likewise in the US where we are comparing the prices to hardware can be discounted at greater than 10%. This tends to reflect the higher level of competition amongst retailers in the US.

    We all know in Australia that retail competition is not as severe as in the US. But the purpose of this discussion we need to keep things simple by comparing local recommended prices rather than street prices.

    Why? As we are comparing the strategies of the manufacturer versus strategies of the retailer. Retail strategies are affected by local cost structures as indicated above by other posters.

    In Australia the rents and costs of retail are much higher than in the US, so to blame the manufacturer for this part of the costs is not real. So let us compare the costs of buying some Apple products in Australia from the Apple Store compared to the costs of buying the same product from the US Apple Store. Other manufacturers products like Samsung HP Cisco and more can be sourced cheaper in the US.

    We also need to factor into the equation the local taxes being charged.
    At the end I would also like to compare the costs of buying products via iTunes/App Store in the 2 countries.

    As others have already indicated the Australian dollar has been fluctuating quite rapidly. A few weeks ago it dropped to less than parity from being 10% better value than the US dollar.

    For the purpose of this argument I have taken the dollar at this point in time is being $1.04 to the US $1.

    Mac mini US start price $599 plus tax (local and state)
    Mac mini US start price $699 inc tax

    In the US the tax rate varies according to where you buy. And yes this creates a little issue when comparing. Buy in Oregon, and there is no sales tax, buy in California and its around 9% plus.

    You could say most Ozzies will visit California - as its the airline gateway, and the tourist preference for many.

    But lets use the average for most of the US as being around 7%

    This gives the price as being
    599x7% = 641.
    641/1.04 = 616
    699-616 = 83
    or 12% cheaper
    And if we are being truly fair to Apple the Australian 10% tax vs 7% tax means they are "overcharging" by around 10%

    I chose the Macmini base model as it's differential rate in % terms is greater, and also its a newer product and its under the $1000 limit for importing GST free.

    Arguments like freight costs are hard to factor in. The products originate in China. But then I am sure Apple US gets a cheaper freight rate than Apple Oz, but have no idea what this impact is.

    Now this also does not include the costs of currency acquisition. If using PayPal it's generally going to cost around 3 to 4% for currency conversion. Using my 28° MasterCard it's much less.

    So the point being is 12% a rip-off of consumers. I guess that a personal view only an individual can consider.

    In practical terms is this 12% saving obtainable should you wish to buy this overseas and shipped to Australia. Maybe if you are travelling to the US already it might be worth buying and saving 12%.

    Personally I will be travelling to the US in the next few weeks and I have already rejected this idea on purely personal grounds. Why because I can purchase the Mac mini here GST free.

    On the matter of iTunes purchases I have looked at buying iTunes cards in the US. The best discount I can find is around 10 to 15%. My latest purchase of iTunes cards here in Australia was $150 worth for $100 which is a significantly better discount. To me purchases from the iTunes Store are cheaper in Australia.

    However buying books etc are far cheaper in the US. To blame Apple for this is incorrect. Local book publishers permit Apple to sell products based on a return that they dictate. The issue here was already decided by our federal government of which the MP discussed in the original post is part of, and local stores like Borders and Angus and Robertson been already affected.

    I will still buy US iTunes cards purely to purchase books from the US store at a much cheaper rate, as well as Levi Jeans (50% plus saving)
  21. andreiru macrumors 6502


    Apr 18, 2008
    Kurgan, RF
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_5 like Mac OS X; ru-ru) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8L1 Safari/6533.18.5)

    There's a significant variation in pricing between countries.
  22. nylonsteel macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2010
    re aussie #1

    worked down under twice and met some cool people - nice young girls too

    "meet you at the grog shop mates..." to my good mates john and phillip

    "have a drink on me..." - ac/dc
  23. Adam's Apple macrumors newbie

    May 30, 2011
    Actually Australia is a huge market for Apple and technology in general as we have the most stable economy in the world. So when the US goes under again (which it will) we may end up being one of the highest buyers in the world.

    Also the exchange rate should reflect the price. I can buy from a UK store and they reflect real time currency changes. Apples a bigger company just being slack.

    And i wouldn't import from the US as the US imports from the same place we all do - CHINA!

    Its actually cheaper to import the goods here then the US and less distance - so why does it cost more if we are all ordering and getting a delivery from the same place?

    I'm sorry but cost of living in australia in general has become a joke and the technology industry need to lead a change in a stable economy instead of a dead one.
  24. swe, Aug 19, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011

    swe macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2011
    Australian's are being particularly cheated when it comes to song pricing:

    The costs----------------------Album Pricing------------------Single Song Pricing
    Australian iTunes Store:------US $23.92----------------------US $2.27 per song
    USA iTunes Store:------------US $15.99----------------------US $1.29 per song
    Amazon Music Store:---------US $12.99----------------------US $0.69 per song

    For the same album in Australia you pay a mark up of almost 50%, for a single Australian's will pay an approximate 75% mark up. These figures are a lot greater than the 10% GST...
  25. teepzo macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2011
    ??? So where does the UK gets its products?? Might want to look past rhetoric and look at facts.

    And SWE the prices are set by the record/book companies, the same ones that lobbied the govt to stop parallel importing of music/books. Not Apple. hence we pay more in the itunes store and at retail.

    Point being the MP has to look at the Parliament to reduce the prices with itunes

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