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Not my headline [sadly] but Jessica Irvine, national Economic Editor of New Limited tells it as it is.

I am new to Sydney and getting used to something to replace the venerable Courier Mail I grew up with – that is Daily Telegraph and I rather enjoy Jessica Irvine’s incisive, well written and entertaining opinion pieces so forgive me for wholesale quoting supplemented by some of my opinions.  

First a version of her article is here - please read it so I don’t have to repeat too much. Interestingly it has appeared Australia wide with various headlines like “Why my pricey smartphone is not the apple of my i”, “Aussies get a rotten deal from Apple” and “i-Con: I’m sick of overpaying Apple” – and other headlines of the same ilk.

The gist is that prices for Apple (and to be fair a lot of other brands) are lower elsewhere even after we take into account GST (10% but then lots of countries have VAT) and transport (but what about music, movie and software downloads that don’t have transport) and even that support and warranty may have to be provided locally (even if it is outsourced to a velly, velly good exotic marigold call centre). Simply put we have heard it all before and no matter what the excuse Jessica is spot on - price discrimination is wrong whether it is based on locale or demographic or what PC or Mac you use.   iTWire reported that Apple, MS and Adobe had been summonsed to appear at a parliamentary enquiry on March 22. (article here).

Summary:

If you have five more minutes I urge you to read some more recent iTWire articles that really help explain a few more issues on predatory pricing – and that is all it is. Australians are considered easy marks, have deep pockets and our strong dollar means we can “afford” it.

NARTA trying to set minimum advertising prices. The gist is that hundreds of Aussie and NZ CE bricks and mortar and on-line stores have tried to set minimum advertising prices to maximise their profit rather than allowing market forces to prevail.  It is a shocker (the concept, not the article) that deserves more public condemnation and air time.

Predatory “personalised” pricing  shows the power of tailoring advertising based on personal information. On-line advertising will become even more aggressively personalised as data is the new “black gold”. Advertisers will use browser tracking, social media trawling and geo-location to identify individual users, build a profile and serve them customised advertisements – all without the need for their consent.  

“Where did I really come from”  shows that competition is limited when most major brands use a handful of Asian contract manufacturers to turn out “coffee coloured products”

After all this the message is clear – research price both here and overseas, find what it should be worth and then negotiate with your local store - even if they have mouths to feed some profit is better than none.

Where are Choice Magazine and consumers friend Senator Kate Lundy when you need them?

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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