The Italian Competition Authority Launches Probe Over Cloud Services

By Bill Toulas / September 7, 2020

The Italian Competition and Market Authority, locally known as ‘Autorità Garante Della Concorrenza e del Mercato’ (AGCM), has launched a proceeding to investigate the allegations of unfair commercial practices - and possibly also unfair clauses in the contractual conditions of popular cloud services.

The entities to be probed are Google (for Google Drive), Apple (for iCloud), and Dropbox. AGCM will review the practices of the above companies against Italy’s Consumer Rights Directive and decide whether there have been any violations in recent years.

The agency has gathered reports accusing Google, Apple, and Dropbox of the following potential violations:

In general, the points that AGCM is planning to look upon are all alarming in their own regard, but that doesn’t mean that anything has been confirmed yet. Google, Apple, and Dropbox have repeatedly given explanations about their specific wording, and what is included in the user service terms, so the companies do not see any gaps in the declared policies.

Our guess is that AGCM proceeded with what they had enough reports about, so maybe they would add more cloud services to the list in the future, considering there are several more that could undergo the same procedure, and in the same context.

As it’s always the case with these probes, it will take a while before the investigating committee gets to the bottom of it. The many investigation points cover a broad spectrum of potential penalization measures, as there are anti-competition allegations, GDPR-related violations, consumer fraud, and more.

Hopefully, none of this stands in reality, and the three tech giants will simply be pushed to improve their policy wording, make their terms of conditions more precise, and help the users understand what’s actually traded between them and the cloud service providers.

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