A parliamentary inquiry is set to investigate the price Australians pay for IT hardware and software products, with companies such as Adobe, Microsoft and Apple falling under the watchdog's microscope.
The announcement was made by the Australian Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy, in parliament over the weekend.
For years, Australian customers have often been forced to pay a higher premium for products from international vendors, with the retail price occasionally nearly doubling. For instance, the recently released Adobe Production Premium CS6 costs $2886 in Australia and $1899 in the USA - a difference of more than $900.
Computer and video games have also traditionally cost more over here - a recent example was Batman Arkham City on PC. Warner Bros upped the local Steam pricing by 100%, with the game jumping from $49.95 to $99.95 overnight. Consoles have also suffered from the same practice: witness the launch price of the PlayStation 3 in Australia ($999) compared to North America ($599).
The parliamentary inquiry is set to investigate these price mark-ups which we would argue have never been satisfactorily explained, particularly when it comes to the digital distribution of software. Over the coming months, the inquiry will seek public submissions from both consumers and companies relating to the higher prices.
The outcome of all remains to be seen, but new pricing regulations would help to ensure Australian customers are given a fair deal.
The parliamentary inquiry is set to take place later this year.