Australia: A Dump for Old Technology

A while back I commented about VCRs being sold into Australia like there was no tomorrow, all while PVRs were rapidly becoming the norm in the US/UK/EU/Asia. Then we were sold SD-only products even while HD was being rolled out and available.

Currently being in the market for a new lightweight notebook/laptop type product it has come to attention that the Black Friday sales in the US offer Americans quite steep discounts on the latest kit while our versions of the same companies are still mostly holding RRP or close on the last generation - indeed the new generation remains difficult to find from most suppliers.

Amazon (AU) had an advertisement from a US supplier at an excellent price on the latest kit with caveats about ‘offshore supplier’, ‘no local warranty’, ‘different standards’, and so on, but amazingly cheap compared to our local offers. What cost is replacing a US plug for an Australian one, both versions having universal power supplies? It could be interesting pushing the ACL in this context if necessary, and the supplier looked like an advertiser on Amazon, not an Amazon fulfilled product where one could argue the point more directly.

Our norm? Old tech at top prices unless we go offshore? As Gerry Harvey admonished, it must be all about the GST, not the old product being dumped on us when it comes to tech. My example would be about half our local price, after adding the GST!


It could more that the distributors (who I understand from speaking to someone in the electronics retail industry hold the most stock and are responsible for unsold retail inventory) wait until most existing stock/inventory is sold/moved before introducing the next model…otherwise there may be a situation which faces the car industry where they have previous year plated vehicles that drop substantially in value when New Year’s ticks over and they need to try and shift it by more creative means.

The distributors can instruct retailer to discount to move the residual stock available for sale. Any stock not sold may then be moved to online group buying platforms for ‘bargain’ hunters (that is if the old stock are in fact bargains).

As Australia’s market is smaller, it possibly takes longer to shift existing inventory, especially if it has been over-ordered compared to actual demand.

Where products have a low value, when compared to say cars, older versions/models in stock will be harder to shift if the consumer has an option to buy the new model for around the same price (or slightly more if the old version was discounted). Most consumers would possibly tend towards the newer one which may have a longer service life (esp. when support for firmware tends to disappear before the product itself dies).

Yes, it would be interesting to see if Amazon (AU) is the retailer or treated as a selling/advertising platform (like eBay).

I wonder if they make ‘special’ models for Black Friday Sales or other big sale events.

If they do, it wouldn’t be unique as Australian retailers are known to do the same for Boxing Day sales for some items.


No difference in a practical sense. I doubt it is so innocent as their seeming inability to manage stock against demand. It is not like they have not had many years to practice and get it close.

More to the point, HP Australia as example is still selling their old kit at RRP and the newer kit is not on the web site I can find today. JB has a model with the new kit, at RRP.

Not in my experience. They seem to stop that with the unique models for the different retailers.


My experience, of being able to comparison shop OS every other year reflects closer to

A step further is the model variations imported to Australia are also often down graded versions.
EG laptops with integrated memory, being offered with only 4GB or 8GB when the base model OS is 8GB and the top end 16GB. Hervey Norman has made a fine art of it, with similar sounding but lesser spec CPU’s, lower speed SD drives etc.

Other than some very specific board member eye popping executive models; I’ve previously noted that you need to try extra hard to find both the latest and the very best for retail sale in Australia.


The best part is the Australia tax

HP model from JBHifi -> $AUD1999. Not shown on HP Australia site yet

HP model from US HP site. on sale for 48 hours at $AUD1407 incl GST (+ shipping). Regular price $AUD1811 inclusive. (.6800 xrate)

HP AU site is featuring the old model for $AUD1999 w/$200 gift card.


Since not on the HP website, I wonder if this is a grey import…with a swapped transformer/power cable?

Alternatively HP Australia may be trying to shift old inventory ($200 gift card might be a clue) and won’t update website until most stock is gone…maybe JB-Hifi has sold all old inventory allowing new model to be sold early?

Does seem a bit odd.

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JB seems to have become the gorilla for a number of product categories. If they brought in grey market to compete with corporate they would destroy their business relationships. My best guess is that JB has a sweetheart deal with a few manufacturers so they get some product a few weeks prior to anyone else.

That is fairly obvious. Old technology in stock, sell it off. They also sell refurbs. Intuition suggests HP for one runs their on-line store defensively because their competitors do, not because they want to compete with their retailers.

Some of the product on the HP site are ‘limited stock, hurry’. Same models as the new ones excepting for the chip and some upgrades. The ‘new’ products have been out for weeks and months ‘not here.’ Getting people to buy the old is done as if the value of last years product is going to go up again.

edit: It could be like a certain kitchen sale where the stock is on sale and the [old] stock keeps getting replenished from hither and yon, not just from the local warehouse, until there is none remaining.

Not so much odd but maybe common practices.


Those foreign companies love the “Australia Tax”.


Two years later in the topic, government seems supportive of enabling ‘old technology’ to be dumped here through passive rather than active interest.

A question is whether vehicle manufacturers will eventually run out of ‘old technology’ and send ‘new technology’ here anyway.

As fuels slowly evolve from our dirty low quality fossil fuels to electric it might take care of itself over a decade+. Until then, business as usual?

To qualify, the term ‘dirty’ in Australian fuels is about one fuel constituent only, its sulphur concentration. Sulfur content of fuels directly correlates to SOx emissions from the fuel burning. SOx is a part of smog when pollution accumulates in the atmosphere (particularly over cities during times of no wind or inversion layer conditions) and can be a respiratory irritant under higher concentrations.

The WA RAC summaries theterm ‘dirty’ well:

To put it into context, in Europe, Japan and the United States, the maximum level of sulfur permitted in fuel is 10 parts per million (ppm). In Australia, its 55 ppm for premium unleaded petrol and 150 ppm for regular unleaded petrol - 15 times the international standard.

Simply protecting our local vehicle manufacturing industry?

The Government will probably mandate that EV’s can only be recharged with power from coal fired stations.

Worth adding that sulphur is one reason the most efficient Euro engines do not come our way. They do not run well with our dirty, eg high sulphur content, fuel.

Some history, 2 years dated… While Australian diesel was upgraded to 10ppm in 2009, our regular unleaded ranks 66th in the world for fuel quality, with an allowable sulphur content up to 15 times higher than the EU – and countries such as China.

An answer to our market? De-rating or building engines with old school bits that tolerate our fuels.

I hope there are no government MPs reading this!


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