Tuesday 05 November 2002

IBM does the right thing for blind Australians

Newspaper headline: IBM backflip over blind software

My first foray into consumer advocacy has been spectacularly successful. Three weeks ago—in a post titled IBM socks it to blind Australians. Again.— I pointed out that IBM Australia were charging AU$341 for Home Page Reader (Digital Delivery) whereas blind or vision-impaired US residents could buy the same product for AU$214.40 (US$117). I emailed the weblog link to Bernard Lane, an IT journalist at The Australian, who had interviewed me earlier in the year for an article on Googlewhacking.

Bernard, who has a weblog called Milon’s memory, a living obituary, promised to contact IBM, ask for an explanation of the price difference, and perhaps write a story. This morning he advised me by email that the story was in today’s paper (and in the online edition).

And guess what? IBM Australia have cut the price!

Contacted by The Australian IT more than a week ago, IBM Australia did not offer any explanation of the price difference beyond saying its prices generally were influenced by “currency exchange, local taxes, customisation and support, as well as the cost of doing business”.

Asked whether GST applied to a product expressly for the blind or whether the local download had been customised or came with support, IBM said it was “examining what factors influence the pricing of Home Page Reader and whether current pricing is appropriate”.

Yesterday a check of the IBM Australia website revealed the price had been cut, without announcement or explanation, from $341 to $233, a figure comparable to the US download cost.

I called Bernard Lane, logged on to the IBM Australia Web site and purchased my $233 copy of Home Page Reader, then walked up to the newsagent to buy a copy of The Australian while the 40MB installer downloaded.

So… thanks to Bernard Lane and The Australian for following up my post. And thanks to IBM Australia for doing the right thing by matching the US price for Home Page Reader. Weblogs rock! Or, as Dorothea might say, “Woot!”

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Congratulations, Jonathan.

This is the kind of success story that should inspire other bloggers to keep up the pressure on businesses and the government to "do the right thing."

Now we just need to promote your success on our web sites.

Posted by Loren on 5 November 2002 (Comment Permalink)

Rock on!

Posted by gary turner on 5 November 2002 (Comment Permalink)

Nicely done! I am impressed.

Now, if IBM had explained how this came about and sacked the jerk responsible, I would be *really* impressed.

Posted by Dorothea Salo on 6 November 2002 (Comment Permalink)

You should be proud of your efforts, Jonathon. You made a difference.

Posted by Burningbird on 6 November 2002 (Comment Permalink)


Posted by Ryan on 6 November 2002 (Comment Permalink)


Posted by Wind extractor on 6 November 2002 (Comment Permalink)

This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed.

© Copyright 2007 Jonathon Delacour