Feeds

Australian government gouged on PC software prices

Corrected: software expensive, PCs competitive

Top three mobile application threats

Consumers aren’t the only buyers that suffer the infamous “Aussie tax” on IT: AGIMO has revealed that its desktop OS software purchases cost about double similar purchases by the US and Singaporean governments, although its hardware arrangements yield competitive prices.

Chiming into the price gouging debate, AGIMO has stated in its submission to the parliamentary inquiry that for Microsoft software “Gartner advice indicates that the difference in the base government price means that the US Government is paying some 50% less than the base government price in Australia. The Singapore Government prices also appear to be some 50% below those charged to the Australian Government”.

That price gap might be easy to justify given the size of the US government. However, Singapore’s roughly $240 billion GDP is well below Australia’s (around $1.4 trillion, according to the World Bank), suggesting that scale isn’t the only factor in play.

While Australian hardware prices are well above those two international benchmarks, AGIMO states that the whole-of-government purchasing arrangements it administers have yielded considerable savings compared to street prices for IT. It claims an estimated saving of $20 million in desktop hardware procurement since 2010, and savings of more than $80 million in Microsoft licenses since 2009.

Citing Gartner as its source for average hardware prices, AGIMO states that “the Australian Government is now paying more than 50 percent less than the Australian market average for standard desktops and more than 25 percent for standard laptops.”

There are clear economy-of-scale advantages to AGIMO’s whole-of-government purchasing arrangements. Moreover, as AGIMO notes, vendors must sell to the government under these arrangements: “the vendors know there is no alternative and are thus motivated to participate effectively”, the submission notes.

Vendors will be able to point out that per-unit cost-of-sales is lower under whole-of-government arrangements than through a retail channel: the government buys around 7,000 desktops per quarter under its contract arrangements.

However, if even the government can’t completely beat international price discrimination, it’s hard to credit statements that shipping, retail costs and tax make up the whole of the differential. ®

Bootnote: The earlier version of this story incorrectly applied a software price benchmark to hardware. The author regrets the error. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.