APPLE and Microsoft will be among technology companies asked to explain to Parliament why Australians pay much more for music and game downloads from iTunes, for example, than overseas customers.
Federal Labor politicians are hoping the publicity generated by calling the companies to account for their pricing policies will result in prices dropping.
The Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, has signed off on the parliamentary inquiry, which will also consider pricing of software and other IT-related material and could have big implications for businesses.
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''There is evidence to suggest that the innovative use of technology is not always matched with innovative new business models in the case of products and services distributed online,'' Mr Conroy said in a letter to Sydney MP Ed Husic.
''I agree that Australian businesses and households should have access to IT software and hardware that is fairly priced relative to other jurisdictions … the global digital economy is likely to make it increasingly difficult to sustain business models that are based on a geographic carve-up of markets.''
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