Start playing fair

One of those occasional rants by me which hopefully might go unnoticed

By on March 5, 2013 11:27:41 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums External Link

Skarny

Join Date 10/2002
+41

See link - Big IT names should be in Australia having a "chat" about why they enjoy taking Australian money so much. Apparently we can't work it out for ourselves. I'm pretty sure the answer is "Just because. Because we *can* and we *want to*"

Free enterprise or capitalism (or whatever it is) shouldn't give 'them' the right to arbitrarily rip entire nations off. It's probably the opposite of the actual definitions.

At the moment I've only heard "it's mine, I made it, I can charge you whatever I want up to whatever you will pay" as the reasoning...when they start being honest about it.

A good and usual suggestion might be "well you don't have to buy it, and maybe that would make them lower the prices".

But we don't really have that option - there are *not* enough alternatives that are international standards/established.
Even freeware often has commercial/government restrictions on its use.

People do resort to pirating - isn't that a key indicator that maybe they are asking too much?
I've bought software I've needed and wanted since early high-school - I've tried exercising the 'don't buy if it's too much' - lots of us would by default, because:

1. we actually can't afford it in Australia and 
2. we don't want to do the wrong thing by pirating.

But I've never seen any change in attitude of pricing.

And as for hardware - "holy religious icon!", I think loudly daily. How do these people and toddlers around me all have iPhones! Multiple iPhones!
I don't have a mobile phone of any sort as I've never been able to warrant the expense of it plus the monthly rates they charge over here.

One argument used to be that it was all due to physical media/transport/taxes etc. But these costs have been maximally minimised in today's IT world.

Even when we've had dollar value well in excess of the U.S. still the prices can be 2-3 times the equivalent price in the US.

 

Not everyone takes advantage. And sometimes I feel even the increased price is still worth the software product.
Maybe I am just conditioned so much that when I see a 'reasonable' price I get heart palpitations.

Now, I am not sure whether there is going to be a response like "do you know how much we pay for UGG boots over here?".
I'm not even sure of Australia's exports. Maybe booze, minerals, and gits with big knives are all there is.

Actually, the Uggies were nicked - they are as Australian as Vegemite now. In a fit of extreme emotional exaggeration  I'd say almost every intellectual property/product ever developed in Australia (shrug - not really what I was looking for) has been bought or nicked or died of stingray.

Our major food/product outlets screw our farmers while outsourcing and price warring destroys any attempt to start a boutique or competitive business - but then I reckon citizens of the US would be familiar enough with this kind of thing already in their own backyards.

It all just adds to our consumerism misery. We truly are seen as just "those suckers" to be exploited.

Australians tend to bag the US for its self-aware precocious progeny and an outward reputation of worldwide over-bearance - but it's just cultural sh*t stirring - the sometimes uglier part of our multi-cultural larrikinism.

But in the world of Ozzie IT technology lovers, this whole price thing, actually *does* incur real resentment and disdain.

 

P.S. Is all the linking silly?

 

 

 

 

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March 5, 2013 6:46:55 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Not noticing this rant......

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March 5, 2013 6:58:23 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

ACCC is taking MS and Apple, etc to court to 'please explain'.

Meanwhile IKEA is attempting to weather the backlash from their price-gouging policies getting exposed.

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March 5, 2013 7:12:37 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Even when we've had dollar value well in excess of the U.S. still the prices can be 2-3 times the equivalent price in the US.

Government taxes/excises? Stop buying the products... the companies importing the goods will change the gov't. policy for you... or, pay the taxes and suffer. If it's not the excises/taxes, then go to work on the companies.

You'd think Aussies would extract the digeradoo and demand a change to that. Guess they like that arrangement.

Ever hear of organized consumer boycotts?

No. You don't have to buy it. You organize against one company at a time. You get as many people as you can motivated not to buy. The more people, the shorter the boycott. After 2 or 3 of the rapacious companies change their pricing, the rest will probably just need a threat or a very short boycott just to show you all mean it. Choose the biggest first. Much louder when a tall tree falls.

 

 

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March 5, 2013 10:14:49 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Maybe Dr JBHL. But why should we have to? Boycotting harms the consumer before it harms the company (if they would even care at all) and majority of people are dependent on the stuff the major culprits produce.

Rather than ways to fix it from our side, I'd prefer they just not be unfair greedy buggers to begin with. It seems to me that once caught out/exposed there should be some onus on the companies to try and make right. "Make us" would not be an international relationship endearing response.

I thought of more reasoning why it might be this way last night - regional pricing seems reasonable. If they tried to sell at US price Windows or Adobe or whatever in China then of course no-one would buy it, and by lowering it and not putting region checks in the software, everyone would buy in China.

But couldn't the US price be the cap price then, or maybe just index it fairly to actual international exchange - most people would understand and accept that. Instead Australians are exploited daily in a majority of their purchases, yet our dollar value and wealth is not equivalently higher. Keep in mind for many many years we were at half the US dollar value - but prices were still 1.5 - 3 times higher. Doesn't seem like regional pricing as a reasoning really works anymore.

Not sure what you were saying about the Digeradoo :-/

 

 

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March 5, 2013 10:52:06 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

It has always been that way with software and hardware... Aussies paying more than anyone else.  Hardware pricing is better now than it used to be, but more could be done on both fronts.

However, the government needs to widen its scope on gouging... US drug companies have been doing it for decades.

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March 5, 2013 11:18:58 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Skarny,
But why should we have to?

WTF? Are you kidding? You have to because you're getting screwed. You want to sit around and whine or accomplish something?

Remember: "It's more blessed to give than receive. Get it?

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March 6, 2013 12:02:17 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,
Remember: "It's more blessed to give than receive. Get it?

Not sure I do on that one. What should I be giving and not receiving?

 

I do want to agree - wish I was enraging/inspiring enough to lead an army of Aussies to refuse to buy expensive software - but the consumers are just cream on the ice coffee. If all the public consumers and small businesses tried to boycott we'd bust before there was any actual affect on these companies. Big business and government customers wouldn't be able to join in - these products are systemic and essential to ongoing function.

Boycotting works on things like 'Gloria Jeans supports anti-gay religious groups BOO HISS' and stuff like that because we can buy our coffee elsewhere due to mass competition availability. Social issue which are internationally frowned upon.  It is not the same for these companies - they just shrug and wait for us to break because we simply don't have the choice and no-one else outside the country really cares. They would keep buying their cheaper products and shrug their shoulders saying 'they should just boycott'.

The only kind of pressure or change which would *maybe* work here is government/consumer agency protections.

So why isn't appealing to fairness enough? People get upset in the US when their companies exploit sweatshops. This is not the same kind of humanitarian crime, but it's from the same attitude of entitled exploitation. The companies produce lower prices for their primary market and this keeps them mostly quiet and blaming the victims.

I suspect it would take for Australia to tell these companies that we will no longer honour any agreements to not import Chinese equivalents (which I've no doubt infringe on their patents and copyrights - but why should I care when the companies don't care about ripping me off?)

China will probably head that way too - thanks for all the schematics, we can build it ourselves now and we don't acknowledge your courts and legal proceedings, and plenty of the world wants to buy. Sometimes I hope not, other times I think this could be the best thing for the world.

There *should* be something about fair trade practices which can protect international consumers by default. If you have a fair system, a lot of this crap and dissatisfaction would fall out of the mix.

Piracy is the most damaging boycott we could possibly have and it's not effective in all these years - then they 'factor it in'. They already aren't buying because it's too much, so increase the prices more, yep, that will work.

If we boycotted and made a big scene, would US citizens stop buying Apple and Microsoft to support us in our fight against this disparity?

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March 6, 2013 2:38:08 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Doc....the onus should NOT be on the consumer to claim a fair go....the Manufacturer[s] should NOT be discriminating against people...and charging differently for different people.

It is NOT an equity/balance thing re income and/or taxes...it's plain vile racial discrimination.

The ACCC [the people who told those 'owners' of the Ugg boot name to fuck off, and determined/decreed that region-free DVD recorders ARE legal] are going to hold MS et al accountable.  If/when taken to court it'll be another thrashing like Apple gave Samsung.

The issue is...there's 'only' 26 million of us...so people like MS don't give a shit.

They will...when they are fucked over just as they [and others] have fucked us over.

Just had a thought...maybe IKEA had to charge us more because they weren't putting horse meat in their meatballs here....

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March 6, 2013 3:06:26 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Jafo,
ACCC is taking MS and Apple, etc to court to 'please explain'.

Good, about bloody time.

Doc ... Australia has strong consumer (common) law and US IT companies have been breaking them for some time. The ACCC can be slow in enforcing common law, but when they get going, look out ...

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March 6, 2013 3:54:44 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I can recall when all these companies sold their products very competitively.

 

That was when there were a lot more competitors with similar products but now through sheer market size, indirect government subsidy and questionable tax arrangements they have turned their market segments into a wasteland. One where there is no longer any requirement to have competitive pricing.

 

There is a lot of hot air expended on the subject of the purpose of Government, in my view their fundamental requirement is to maintain an equitable and balanced economic climate where the rule of law is rigorously applied across the business spectrum in order that commerce may remain healthy and the consumer well served.

 

For some reason it seems that all across the developed world today successive Governments have failed in this fundamental mission. 

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March 6, 2013 4:06:15 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Jafo,
If/when taken to court it'll be another thrashing like Apple gave Samsung.

Hmmm, I'd love to see Apple cop a hiding to nothing in this expose... and the ACCC effectively castrates it financially.

Even without Steve Jobs, Apple is a smug bastard that needs chopping off at the knees for its poor treatment of its Chinese workers.

Just because the Chinese government isn't big on human rights, doesn't Mean Apple can forego them for the sake of greater profit.

Okay, it can... er, does... but it effing well shouldn't... be allowed to.

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March 6, 2013 6:58:52 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Price discrimination is simply a part of economics, and Australia is no exception...prices for many objects vary within the US (though software generally is not one of them)....as a very lame example, the taco bell near (not in, just near) six flags charges as much as 50% more for some items than the taco bells nearby...

Now you may wonder why I use this example...the importance here is that there really is no reason to think that the taco bell near six flags has any higher expenses than the other taco bells in the area (I'd be shocked if it actually did)....but, the demand is very different near six flags than it is 20 miles away, and thus the prices vary considerably...bottom line is that price discrimination (and prices in general) are not necessary a consequence of differences in costs for the company...

It may not cost MS that much more (if any more) to get software into Australia...but for whatever reason, MS believes it can make more money at its current prices in Australia than it would otherwise....note I said more money, not more sales...lower prices of course would increase sales but MS obviously thinks those greater sales in Australia would not make up for the "per item" loss of revenue...whether MS is right or not I don't know, but what matters is that they think they are right and of course you will base policy off of what you think is best....

I'm not claiming MS is a great, nice, morally good company....but price discrimination in and of itself is not any more evil than any other aspect of capitalism....now, what is legal and what is not legal has nothing to do with what is moral and what is not moral, so if MS is breaking an Aussie law then so be that, what they are doing is illegal....

But as irritating as it may be for MS to have such high prices, that simply is how economics work...if the prices are that high simply because of the demand for games in Australia (or at least MS's perception of that demand), then that is capitalism doing what it's supposed to do...

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March 6, 2013 7:08:39 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Seleuceia,
but for whatever reason, MS believes it can make more money at its current prices in Australia than it would otherwise....note I said more money, not more sales...

And that is what is meant by 'price gouging'.

So the MS capitalist commercial policy in Oz is "fuck the convicts...let them pay what we say...it's far enough away from the 'real world' they won't even notice they are overcharged".

If you want the real bullshit.,... those fancy hot Chevs are made about 10 miles from me - in Melbourne....and they are cheaper to buy in the US and bring them back here than to just trundle into a shitty car yard here and buy the junk direct.

Why?  Because GM US pulls the strings.

Can't build a decent car to save themselves....but it's good someone can.

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March 6, 2013 8:06:47 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Seleuceia,
, then that is capitalism doing what it's supposed to do...

Maybe the great utopia of the US, but we have a small idea called fairness. Capitalism for the sake of it, is not a good place to be ...

Price gouging is illegal in OZ, it's up to them to justify the extra cost of a product. They have been given every opportunity to come forward and explain themselves ... court is usually the last measure.

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March 6, 2013 8:09:36 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Jafo,
Doc....the onus should NOT be on the consumer to claim a fair go....the Manufacturer[s] should NOT be discriminating against people...and charging differently for different people.

I absolutely agree.

However, when they don't there are remedies. Those are what I suggested.

That kind of unfairness really steams me. Injustice is perhaps the most hurtful form of violence.

It hurts even more when my friends are on the receiving end of it.

 

Quoting tazgecko,
Doc ... Australia has strong consumer (common) law and US IT companies have been breaking them for some time. The ACCC can be slow in enforcing common law, but when they get going, look out ...

Glad to hear it! Hope they tear the creeps a new one.

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March 6, 2013 9:55:02 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,
It hurts even more when my friends are on the receiving end of it.

don't worry too much. they still have one of the highest standards of living worldwide. there are probably only Norway and Switzerland ahead of them.

when they run out of minerals to sell the Chinese: start worrying.

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March 6, 2013 10:10:02 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting moshi,
when they run out of minerals to sell the Chinese: start worrying.

We're right for a while yet....eventually the Chinese will be fracking us for 20 trillion in gas....

Oh...then they'll just move in....

...while the Japanese are too busy eating whales....

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March 6, 2013 6:59:57 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting tazgecko,
Maybe the great utopia of the US, but we have a small idea called fairness. Capitalism for the sake of it, is not a good place to be ...

I'm not advocating capitalism for the sake of capitalism...I'm advocating the free market because it works...of course I'm not looking for a true laissez faire market, but in general when you look at the long run, more economic regulations do not generally benefit society...

Quoting tazgecko,
Price gouging is illegal in OZ, it's up to them to justify the extra cost of a product. They have been given every opportunity to come forward and explain themselves ... court is usually the last measure.

Like I said earlier, if it is illegal then it's illegal and MS will have to deal with that in court...but I have a problem with "anti-price gouging laws" and if that is Australia's policy then I find that to be very unfortunate....

Contrary to what seems to be many people's beliefs, the price of an item really is not determined by its cost, but I'm not real inclined to belabor on economic theory....the bottom line is that while price gouging may seem like an awful deal for Australia at the moment, in the grand scheme of things the better solution is to introduce more innovation or competition to lower prices, not to simply take a company to court and say "we don't like you, your shit is too expensive, please make it cheaper"...

If the world started pissing on Australia because we felt it's metals and the like were too expensive and mandated it lower its prices, I doubt Aussies would be too happy about that...

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March 6, 2013 7:22:41 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Jafo,


Quoting moshi, reply 16when they run out of minerals to sell the Chinese: start worrying.

We're right for a while yet....eventually the Chinese will be fracking us for 20 trillion in gas....

Oh...then they'll just move in....

...while the Japanese are too busy eating whales....

 

the Chinese will do that? that would be a shame as you have your own companies like Rio Tinto or BHP that have decades of experience in ruining the environment worldwide. (and likely worse labour standards than Foxconn).

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March 6, 2013 8:03:04 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Seleuceia,
...but I have a problem with "anti-price gouging laws" and if that is Australia's policy then I find that to be very unfortunate....

The thing is it's not an Australian policy, it's a common law which states you can't discriminate financially against an individual. Common law can't be changed (but they can be challenged ), they are the foundation of all Australian (English) Law.

The problem the companies find themselves in is that they offer a product elsewhere at a lesser price and ask us to pay a largely inflated price, thus they are discriminating against Australians. If it wasn't for the internet and digital downloads, they could probability debate it's the cost of doing business, but because there is little extra cost in providing an online distribution, people are asking the question.

 It's not an Anti-American view, all companies in OZ have to abide by our laws, it's just some international companies think they are above them...

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