Feeds

Apple exec says music labels, Hollywood, 'old fashioned' on copyright

Head of Apple Australia says music, movies, price gouging is Big Content's fault

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The head of Apple's Australian operations, Tony King, has told an Australian Parliamentary inquiry into information technology pricing that rights holders of music and filmed entertainment have an “old fashioned” attitude to retailing.

Australia is running the inquiry to figure out why locals often pay more for software, digital content and hardware. Apple products often cost more in Australian dollars than in US dollars, despite Australia's currency being worth $US1.04 at the time of writing. Songs on iTunes Australia often cost $AUD1.69. The same track is usually $US0.99.

“A song is an asset, a piece of intellectual property,” King said when asked to explain why Australians pay more for music and movies. “The rights associated with that song may change from territory to territory” and in Australia the rights holders charge more. King said he believes, based on retail prices, that rights holders charge digital and physical retailers about the same fees to resell music and filmed content. He also insisted Apple does not have more negotiating muscle with local rights holders and that its market share does not give it leverage to drive local prices down to a level comparable with lower prices offered elsewhere on the planet.

King then offered the interesting observation that “In this digital age the content industry still runs with old fashioned notions of country borders, or territories, or markets.” Rights holders' insistence on pricing differently in each market, he said, is the reason digital content costs more in Australia than elsewhere.

“The consequence is we need to set up iTunes stores around the world,” King said. “That'ss the nature of the industry in which iTunes exists.

Apple Australia's Tony King appears before the House Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications Inquiry into IT Pricing

Apple Australia's Tony King appears before Inquiry into IT Pricing

Pressed on why those costs are higher in Australia, King said the inquiry should ask rights holders directly, and not just their industry associations.

King's also said that Apple wants lower content prices and tries to achieve global parity pricing for its own software. In Australia last week, he said, software prices were one per cent lower than US software prices.

On hardware, he said prices are set based on exchange rates at the time of launch. Price adjustment for week-in, week-out, exchange rates is not feasible and would confuse consumers, he said. It's also important to note, he told the committee, that $US prices don't include local sales taxes, while prices in Australia must include the 10 per cent goods and services tax.

King did, however, say “We hold the price until we transition or update the product”. That means a product released before a favourable exchange rate fluctuation will remain at a price far higher than should be the case.

Even with those factors in place, he said, Apple's analysis of its prices shows that last week Australian prices are only up to five per cent higher in Australia than the USA.

Asked why Apple has not yet appeared before the inquiry, King said “It is rare Apple makes a public appearance to discuss public policy matters.”

Adobe and Microsoft will appear before the inquiry later today. ®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.