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Adobe To Australians: Fly To US For Cheaper Software 255

Posted by Soulskill
from the sometimes-the-simplest-solution-eludes-us dept.
angry tapir writes "It's been a long-running joke that it's cheaper for Australians to get a plane ticket to the U.S. if they want to buy Adobe's Creative Suite instead of paying local prices. But appearing before a parliamentary inquiry into the disparity between IT prices in Australia and elsewhere, Adobe's local chief appeared to suggest just that." Other companies gave their responses to the inquiry as well. Microsoft said they'll simply charge what the market will bear. Apple tossed out a host of reasons for the price difference; its retail partners, digital content owners, exchange rates, taxes, import duties, and an apparent inability to alter the price set by its U.S. parent company.
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Adobe To Australians: Fly To US For Cheaper Software

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  • by Looker_Device (2857489) * on Friday March 22, 2013 @07:53AM (#43245335)

    I don't know if this applies to software, but I know that music and movies have been seriously hindered by archaic regional licensing agreements going back to the days when physical media was the only means of distribution. It's why a certain DVD may be available in a certain region at price x, while completely unavailable or at a different price in region y (with a different distributor or even with a completely different edition of the movie/song). This old system has become a HUGE annoyance in the modern streaming era, particularly if you're trying to watch Netflix outside the U.S. (since those movie licensing agreements are still such a goddamned mess, even in an era when streaming crosses every old national and regional border). It's also why I have to import my blu-ray of "More American Graffiti" from the UK instead of being able to buy it here in the U.S.

    This may also explain why these weird prices apply specifically to the standard physical boxed sets of Adobe products, and not the newer cloud versions or student editions (as per the article). It may also explain why Adobe is so reticent to talk about it. If they have some long-standing regional licensing/distribution agreement in Australia, they may be reluctant to bad-mouth their local licensees/distributors (who have jacked up the retail prices for whatever reasons).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, 2013 @08:02AM (#43245431)

    And you think the company wouldn't pass that cost along to the customers?

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday March 22, 2013 @08:05AM (#43245453)
    All versions of products from all regions, often stripped of any artificial lock-down, are available on a host of file sharing networks.

    Saying that, I'm pretty certain that stating "Buy from the US" can be viewed as a blessing on the Grey Import business. Thanks, Adobe!
  • Mail it'? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zAPPzAPP (1207370) on Friday March 22, 2013 @08:05AM (#43245465)

    If this was so easy, couldn't you call a 'friend' in the U.S. and make them mail you a copy?
    There has got to be more to this than that.

  • Re:Mail it'? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Friday March 22, 2013 @08:13AM (#43245531) Journal

    These companies have agreements with online merchants like Amazon to block sales of US-priced products to Australia. Trying will get you a "This product is not available in your region" message.

    A few people sending packages to friends doesn't make a dent in the gouging.

  • by houbou (1097327) on Friday March 22, 2013 @08:23AM (#43245605) Journal
    Adobe is just being greedy.. that's all.
  • by rakaz (79963) on Friday March 22, 2013 @08:31AM (#43245695) Homepage

    In case of Adobe and Microsoft it certainly does not. And they both admitted as much.

    With regards of Apple it isn't as simple. Their hardware isn't much more expensive as in the US and the difference can be explain fairly easy by taxes and increased costs of doing business.

    The iTunes store is a while different matter. Apple has to license the content from local copyright holders and prices are set by those local companies.

    For example take a song created by an American artists. The American record company holds all rights to the song, but exclusively sub-licenses it to a local Australian company for distribution in their local market. If Apple wants to sell that song, it has to deal with the American record company for distribution in the U.S. and deal with the Australian company if they want to sell it in Australia. And the Australian company wants more money from Apple which leads to higher prices.

    Most likely the Australian company is owned by the American record company, so guess where all the profits go to...

  • by kimvette (919543) on Friday March 22, 2013 @08:36AM (#43245723) Homepage Journal

    FTFA: "Adobe’s US software can be used in Australia but not covered by warranty, he said."

    Really? Since when do they have a real warranty on software anyhow?

  • by ledow (319597) on Friday March 22, 2013 @09:17AM (#43246183) Homepage

    Except the UK has VAT too, so there's your argument blown out of the water.

    What is it that the US has against VAT? You have sales taxes etc. instead that perform the same purpose. Do you even understand how VAT works (i.e. it only really affects the end-consumer and not the manufacturer or any of the businesses involved in supplying the product)?

    I think it's a blanket hatred of something that you don't understand and that you think you have no equivalent of. Clue: Almost all developed countries in the world have the same amount of taxation on the average person. The exceptions are those with blanket-taxation rates and simplified taxation systems that actually tend to lower overall taxation.

    You can whine about the TV Licence "tax", road "tax", VAT, and everything else that you like, the fact is that pretty much everyone pays the same amount of tax in all countries.

    And hence, the question of why the UK software prices differ from Europe's (literally 30 miles south of us) so vastly is just as important as why Australian prices differ from the US (in fact, more so). And none of it can be attributed to any one tax that's not present in the other country. In fact, almost all of it can be attributed to just one thing - the people buying it don't complain enough.

  • by green1 (322787) on Friday March 22, 2013 @10:08AM (#43246799)

    I have no problem with you charging $50 for that loaf of bread. I do however have a problem if you get laws passed that stop me from going to your store in the next town to buy the same loaf of bread for $1.
    And that's what this boils down to. Large multi-national companies get the best of both worlds. they shop around for the cheapest source of parts, labour, and raw materials from any country in the world. meanwhile they lobby for laws and restrictions that prevent their customers from doing the same. (DVD Region coding combined with DMCA style laws, import tariffs, bogus safety laws that are really industry protectionism in disguise, etc)

    If you want to make your device in China instead of locally to save on money, don't get upset with me when I buy it from the USA instead of locally for the same reason.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday March 22, 2013 @10:57AM (#43247309)

    Any possibility the customer is opening up the machine and fooling around inside somehow, either out of stupidity or mal-intent? Would there be a good reason for him to sabotage the equipment (like to get newer replacements for free, or some weird pleasure out of wasting your time and money)?

    Are there any parts of his system which haven't gone bad? This includes parts you've replaced out of suspicion, but found they hadn't failed and work fine elsewhere. It'd probably be good to rule some parts of the system out. Basically, which parts of his system (PS, CPU, RAM, MB, etc.) have definitely failed, and which parts haven't? There has to be a pattern. Any parts which have never been replaced?

    There can only be four sources for this problem: 1) the customer himself (sabotage, monkeying around, static zaps, etc.), 2) an internal problem (bad component damaging the other components), 3) an external electrical problem (bad mains power), and 4) an external non-electrical problem (a big microwave transmitter aimed at the computer?).

    What kind of UPS did you try anyway? There's different kinds of UPSes out there; the crappy kind don't actually filter the power in any way, they just use relays to connect a battery-powered inverter to the load when the mains power quits. If you really want to rule out the power (or determine it is the power), you have to use the kind that's fully isolated, called a "double conversion" UPS:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uninterruptible_power_supply#Online_.2F_double-conversion [wikipedia.org]
    Of course, these UPSes are the most expensive type.

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