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Australian government questions Apple over digital content ‘price gouging’


By Slash Lane

Published: 12:56 PM EST (09:56 AM PST)

The government of Australia has signed off on a parliamentary inquiry into alleged price gouging by Apple and other technology companies that sell digital content.

The government has taken issue with the fact that content sold through iTunes, including music and games, can be more expensive in Australia than in other overseas countries, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. The hope is that the inquiry will prompt the price of content in Australia to drop accordingly

In addition to Apple, the government will also invite Microsoft and “all the big computer and software companies,” the report said, to explain why digital content costs more Down Under.

Also mentioned in the story is Adobe, which announced its new Creative Suite 6 last week. The Standard Design version of the package costs $1,299, but customers in Australia will pay up to $1,400 more for the same software, the report said.

“People here scratch their heads trying to work out why they get fleeced on software downloads,” said Ed Husic, a member of the Australian House of Representatives. The government inquiry will begin later this year and will be conducted by the House of Representatives standing committee on infrastructure and communications.


In addition, the inquiry will also look into e-book prices a topic where Apple is already the subject of an antitrust lawsuit from the U.S. government. It has accused Apple of illegally working with a number of book publishers to raise the prices of digital books, though Apple contends that no collusion took place in switching to a so-called “agency model” for sales, allowing publishers to set their own prices for e-books.

In March, the Australian Competition Consumer Commission accused Apple of “misleading” customers into thinking its newest iPad runs at fast 4G LTE speeds in Australia, while LTE connectivity for the device is actually restricted to North America. Apple quickly complied by updating 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, and also sent out an e-mail to Australian customers offering them a full refund if they are unhappy with their new iPad.

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Apple hires former Yahoo executive to join iAd team


By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 02:07 PM EST (11:07 AM PST)

Apple has reportedly bolstered its iAd mobile advertising team with the hiring of Jessica Jensen, a former Yahoo executive.

Jensen’s departure from Yahoo was confirmed by the company to Kara Swisher of All Things D. Citing anonymous sources, she added that Jensen is taking a Job at Apple.

In the iAd division, Jensen will work for Todd Teresi, a former Yahoo and Adobe advertising executive. Teresi was hired by Apple early this year, replacing the position vacated by Andy Miller, who left the company in August of 2011.

During her time at Yahoo, Jensen was in charge of Yahoo’s women-oriented site, Shine. She also oversaw the company’s lifestyles and health content businesses.

“At Yahoo, Jensen was the point person on its critical women’s initiatives, including Shine, which is among the top such sites in the U.S.,” Swisher wrote, “so her departure is a blow to new CEO Scott Thompson’s efforts to push forward its media businesses.”


The addition of Jensen comes as Apple is believed to be revamping its iAd service to increase interest in the mobile advertising network. Recent changes made include a reduction of the minimum campaign amount, an increase in developer revenue share to 70 percent, and adjustments of the service’s fees.

Currently, advertisers can spend as little as $100,000 to initiate mobile campaigns, down from a $300,000 threshold the service had last July. The current minimum is a fraction of the $1 million minimum Apple implemented when iAd launched in 2010, as well as the $500,000 price seen last February.

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iTunes Match expands to Italy, Greece, Portugal, Austria, more


By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 04:12 PM EST (01:12 PM PST)

Apple’s iTunes Match subscription service expanded to a number of new countries on Monday, including Italy, Greece, Portugal, Austria and Slovenia.

The rollout of iTunes Match to a handful of new locales was first noticed by MacStories. In addition to iTunes Match being available for 24.99, customers in Italy can also view previously purchased content, and automatic downloads are available for applications and books.

The previous expansion of iTunes Match took place in January, when availability arrived in 19 more countries across Latin America and Europe. They included the Netherlands, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Latvia, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and others.

Another expansion occurred in December, when iTunes Match launched in 17 new countries. Prior to Monday’s expansion to Italy and elsewhere, iTunes Match was available in 37 total countries. Apple’s official site does not yet reflect the new countries.

Apple first launched iTunes Match last November. It allows users to access music they own in the cloud, even if it was not purchased through iTunes.

For an annual fee of $24.99 in the U.S., Apple will scan and match customers’ music libraries with its own catalogue on iTunes and add matched songs to their iCloud accounts. Music that is not offered on iTunes will then be automatically uploaded to iCloud.

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Apple urges developers to get Developer IDs ahead of Gatekeeper launch


By Mikey Campbell

Published: 04:53 PM EST (01:53 PM PST)

With the expected summer release of OS X Mountain Lion just a few months away, Apple on Monday sent out a mass email to Mac developers urging them to apply for a Developer ID in preparation for the new operating system’s Gatekeeper security system.

The email says that while the Mac App Store is the safest place for users to download software for their computers, the company is concerned about protection from possibly malicious applications obtained through unmonitored channels. To block these unwanted programs from making their way onto users’ Macs, Apple has created the Gatekeeper security system which will be running behind the scenes in the next-generation OS X Mountain Lion.

With Gatekeeper, software can only be installed if it is digitally signed by a vetted developer who has been assigned a Developer ID. The system allows for verified applications, plug-ins and installer packages to be installed while blocking those that are unsigned, thus lowering the possibility of running malware.

Gatekeeper will allow users to select from three security levels. At its highest setting, the system will only allow the installation of applications from the Mac App Store, much like the current settings for iOS apps. The default setting will loosen restrictions and let users install software that has been digitally signed with a Developer ID regardless of its origin, while the lowest setting basically allows for the installation of any application.

Developer ID

While not a full-fledged anti-virus program, it is hoped that Gatekeeper will help thwart future malicious software like the recent Flashback trojan which harvested user IDs, passwords and other sensitive information from over 600,000 Macs worldwide.

Apple is pushing Mac Developer Program members to apply for their free-of-charge Developer IDs so that their respective software offerings will be ready when Gatekeeper launches with Mountain Lion this summer. Monday’s email is the second such invitation to developers, the first being issued in February.

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