Apple, Adobe and Microsoft have appeared before the House Infrastructure and Communications committee at a public hearing into IT pricing in Canberra.

The Committee is investigating claims that Australians pay more for IT products than consumers overseas.

“The committee has been told that big IT companies and copyright holders charge Australians, on average, an extra 50 per cent, a practice consumers call the ‘Australia Tax’,” said Committee chair, Nick Champion, said.

“Many consumers have drawn the committee’s attention to Apple, Adobe and Microsoft products, so the committee welcomes the opportunity to hear directly from these companies. We look forward to hearing their views.”

The House of Representatives received a total of 115 submissions and 7 supplementary submissions relating to the inquiry.

In Apple’s submission, the company wrote: “Apple strives to set equivalent pricing for our products around the world at the time of product introduction. When setting pricing on the Apple Online Store and at Apple Retail Stores, Apple considers differences among regions in product cost, freight, local sales taxes, levies, import duties, competitive price points, and local laws regarding advertised prices. It is at the discretion of our reseller community to set their pricing.”

Meanwhile, Microsoft said in its submission there is no needed to compare ‘like for like’.

“Microsoft provides guidance on recommended retail pricing. The recommended retail price is not the same from market to market. It is impacted by market forces including but not limited to the size of the market, which affects supply and demand,” the company wrote in July 2012.

“Microsoft does not however, set the final ‘to-the-customer’ price. The channel and value-added partners who deliver the products to customers ultimately determine retail pricing.”