Australian Government Questions Apple’s Digital Content “Overpricing”

Source: Apple iTunes/ Apple

The Australian government has signed off a parliamentary inquiry about Apple’s alleged price gouging on its digital content. This is due to the fact that content sold on iTunes, such as music and games are more expensive in the Land Down Under compared to other countries.

Other than the Cupertino-based company, the government will also invite Microsoft and “all the big computer and software companies” to explain why digital content costs more in their country. The government inquiry will start later this year and will be conducted by the House of Representatives’ standing committee on infrastructure and communications.

Apple’s eBook Antitrust Lawsuit

This is not the first time that Apple has been questioned with regards to its digital content. Last month, the company’s eBook pricing gets an antitrust lawsuit that was filed by the US Department of Justice. The litigation is due to the company’s alleged role in convincing eBook publishers to implement “agency model” instead of the “wholesale model” that is currently used by Amazon on its Kindle Store.

The DOJ suspected Apple’s move to execute their sales model as a violation of the federal antitrust law. It is believed that the company conspires with book publishers to increase their prices. Furthermore, some publishers were also investigated over agreements to delay eBook releases and allow their paperback editions some exclusivity window.

Apple’s new iPad and its “Misleading” 4G LTE campaign

Other than the digital content over pricing, the Australian government also took action against Apple’ misleading 4G LTE marketing campaign for its new iPad. Although the device boasts Wi-Fi + 4G connection, it cannot access the country’s existing Long Term Evolution network. Thus, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission decided to bring the company to court.

“The ACCC alleges that Apple’s recent promotion of the ‘new iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G’ is misleading because it represents to Australian customers that the product ‘iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G’ can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case.”

Apparently, the new iPad’s 4G access is only exclusive to North American networks. In response to the commission’s appeal, Apple’s legal representative Paul Anastassiou revealed that the company is proposing to offer refunds to Australian consumers who think they were misled into thinking that the tablet works on the country’s high-speed network.

In addition, the company immediately updated its online store with more prominent text informing consumers that the 4G version of the new iPad does not work with LTE networks in Australia. Following ACCC’s move, UK also followed suit in investigating Apple’s 4G LTE campaign for its new iPad.

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