Apple's VP for Australia, New Zealand and Asia, Tony King, got grilled in Canberra at the IT pricing enquiry today, but refused to admit Apple rips off consumers.
The IT pricing enquiry is investigating why Aussies are being slugged on prices of tech goods like TVs, tablets and software, by tech companies including Apple, Adobe and Microsoft, all summoned to answer before the enquiry, after refusing to give adequate responses initially.
King told MPs prices of popular iPads, iPhones, iPods and Macs were, on average, just 5% higher than the US, based on calculations conducted by Apple using last week's currency rates, reports Fairfax.
In fact, he claims Apple "would love to see cheaper, lower prices in the Australian market."
Mr King blamed currency rates, tax differences as well as "differences between countries in product costs, freight charges, local sales taxes, levies, import duties, channel economics, competition and local laws regarding advertised prices" for any price differences that may rise.
He also said it would be "confusing" to continually alter prices based on changing currency rates.
But lets looks the prices.
The RRP of 16GB iPhone 5 in Apple's US Store is US$649.
But in Australia, the same iPhone 5 is A$799 - $150 more in the Apple Store. (The Aussie and US dollar are almost on par, so $150 is not 5%, Mr King).
On the subject of iTunes, Apple often sells music and movies at 60% higher prices than elsewhere, despite being a digital product.
Its local Vice President refused to take any blame for charging higher prices, however, instead blaming the record labels for extortionate RRPs.
The Stokes new album 'Comedown Machine' costs A$16.99 on iTunes Australia Store ($2.19 per song), while in the US iTunes sells it for just $9.99 (songs $1.29).
He also said the reason why we Aussies pay more for iTunes was due to the higher wholesale price for content here than in the US, set by "record labels, movie studios and TV networks,"
"A song is an asset, a piece of intellectual property," King said.
"The rights associated with that song may change from territory to territory.
"In this digital age the content industry still runs with old fashioned notions of country borders, or territories, or markets."
King said the inquiry should ask rights holders directly and said Apple has attempted to lower pricing here in previous negotiations.
But its not just Apple that are accused of price gouging; Adobe and Microsoft too will face MPs today at the IT pricing enquiry held in Canberra, conducted by House of Representatives Infrastructure and Communications Committee to explain why we pay often up to double compared to US and other
countries for items like Adobe Creative suite, Microsoft Office.