Tech giants summonsed to price inquiry

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Tech giants summonsed to price inquiry

Three of the world’s biggest technology giants have today been summonsed to appear before the Australian parliamentary inquiry investigating technology price gouging.

The move follows repeated unsuccessful calls by the committee - formed in May last year - for the vendors to attend public hearings.

The three companies are required to attend a public hearing in Canberra on the 22nd of next month.

Committee member and Federal Labor MP Ed Husic said in a statement this was an important step the committee should not have had to take. 

“These firms should have cooperated and been prepared to be more open and transparent about their pricing approaches," he said.

“In what’s probably the first time anywhere in the world, these IT firms are now being summonsed by the Australian Parliament to explain why they price their products so much higher in Australia compared to the US."

Husic first raised the possibility of subpoeaning the vendors in mid-September. All three were subsqeuently issued a final ultimatum to attend a public hearing but again declined.

Microsoft and Adobe have both provided submissions to the inquiry but declined to front a public hearing. Apple requested a private, closed-door hearing with the committee and has not provided a public submission. 

Husic was instrumental in pursuading the Australian Government to look into the issue of price gouging in Australia, after claiming local buyers were being forced to spend up to 80 percent more for products than their counterparts in the US and elsewhere.

The submission has to date attracted 100 submissions and 7 supplementaries. 

Adobe said it would cooperate with the Committee "as we have done since the inquiry began".

Apple declined to comment.

Microsoft did not respond to request for comment.

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